The coronavirus pandemic has caused some people to grow their creative side and for Yorktown resident Maureen Roth, that meant spending her days with icing and sugar.
Roth, 57, spent most of her life working as a technical editor in strategic communications but when she had to stop working a few years ago to care for her aging mother, she started thinking about how or if she would return to her career.
“In the back of my mind I thought, ‘what do I want to do with this phase of my life?’” she said. “So last December I said to the universe, ‘What do you want to do with me?’ and I opened myself up to the possibilities.”
It was around that time when Roth was scrolling through social media and started to see photos and videos about cookies. Very quickly she became immersed in the world of cookie decoration and found an online “cookier” community of thousands.
Roth already had a creative background through her life hobbies that included baking and painting so she thought she might try cookie decorating, too.
As the pandemic began to hit the area, she realized it was the perfect time not only to hone her craft but to turn it into a business.
From her kitchen Roth started baking hundreds of cookies and spent hours practicing the intricate decorations on them. She used a sheet protector to learn how to write with a steady hand in icing and when she ran out of cookies to make, she used a plastic cookie to practice the imaging and coloring.
Roth said she also connected even more with the cookier community who would send her tips, tricks and encouragement for her new business.
“The thing about this is that I’m never satisfied,” she said. “I always want it to be better, so everyday I try to learn something different than what I knew the day before.”
With each new batch of cookies, Roth used her family and friends’ feedback to continue to improve. Eventually her support group became her first customers and her biggest fans.
Roth also used that time to apply for a business license that would allow her to operate her new cookie business out of her home. She said a home business was ideal because she could have more flexible hours while caring for her mother and for the long hours needed to perfect her creations.
Each batch of cookies is a multiple-step process where Roth lays the first layer of icing, lets it dry, then lays another and another until the cookie is finished. The process can take hours and Roth found herself working late into the night trying to make her cookie designs impeccable.
“It’s the first thing I think of when I wake up and the last thing I think of when I go to bed,” she said. “And that’s exactly how I want it.”
Roth officially opened her business, The Bluebird Cookie Co., in mid-June and has been busy ever since. She said she’s already booked through Aug. 17 and has limited availability in the following weeks.
She doesn’t sell the cookies out of her home but instead delivers them to her customers. But Roth said that makes it special because she can interact with her customers and spread the Bluebird Cookie Co. name.
As a self-proclaimed “backyard bird nerd,” Roth was watching the birds around her feeder one day when she realized bluebirds were beautiful and flashy, almost like a showcase bird. As she tried to think of a name for her new business, she realized her cookies were like bluebirds because they were created to be beautiful.
“It kind of clicked in my head one day that everyone loves cookies, but these are showcase cookies,” she said. “Now, every time I say ‘bluebird,’ it makes me smile.”
This first year of the business will help her find a good rhythm and learn about what people enjoy, she said.
But most of all, she’s just happy to be a part of something that brings joy to others.
“I think the greatest thing is that people give cookies generally for happy occasions and celebrations,” she said. “So I think when the cookies not only taste good but look good, it makes those moments even more special.”
Visit The Bluebird Cookie Co. online to learn more.
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