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Client Success Stories – Wicked Good Cookies

Tell Us About Your Journey

My journey, let’s see, I grew up with two brothers and my father was in the high-tech business, had a successful company. I’ve always been around that. While I was in high school, I appreciated the value of working. I got my first job when I got my license. Worked at a local gym where I would go in at 5:00 in the morning before school to open it up in exchange for a whole $8 an hour and a free gym membership.
But I always knew that working and the work life was for me. Went to college, to Babson College for school, where I studied entrepreneurship and had a concentration with family business as well. Upon graduating from Babson College, I went and had an opportunity to work for my father in his business.

What Is the History of Wicked Good Cookies?

It started in my mom’s kitchen. My father was very successful in the high-tech industry, retired a little bit early. Upon that, he was also smart enough to realize that my mom made delicious cookies, so they were a staple at any office meeting Friday afternoon. Everybody loved them. Combined with her delicious recipes, he, my mother, and my younger brother, who is a tremendously hard worker, the three of them started a cute little cookie company out of my mom’s kitchen.

I was still in the high-tech industry. I saw what they were doing and that there was an opportunity there. I joined in and started knocking on doors and ultimately grew the business from delivering to retailers to then getting into special events where we would make cookies as gifts and for parties. Ultimately what we became is an expert in printing any type of image or graphic onto cookies.

What Motivates You?

Family, kids. Again, I’m sure a lot of that comes from the type of household that I grew up in. Both my parents worked their tails off to provide myself and my brothers everything that we ever wanted, needed, didn’t even know we wanted or needed and want to do the same for my two kids. They’re older now, one’s a freshman in college, one is a senior in high school. Both good kids, both hard workers.

A couple of things, for one, in the past, a lot of what would motivate me having the family business is the freedom and flexibility that it gave. My son was an accomplished gymnast, so I never missed a meet, from when he was five years old until he was 17 years old. My daughter, everything, field hockey, rock climbing, softball, where she’s going to be playing softball in college from the time she was nine years old to current, never missed a game.

The family business gave me the ability to see all of that, and, man, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate being able to do all of that.

What Challenges Have You Faced at Wicked Good Cookies?

Some of the challenges come along with just being a small business where we have fifteen employees and there is a lot of overlap, so most of the employees have to wear several different hats.

It’s not always easy when it comes to some of the shared responsibilities to make certain that everybody is clearly defined, that it becomes tricky where if a couple of people are working on the same thing and perhaps something goes wrong, which, of course, never does, we don’t want there to be, like, finger pointing. Well, so-and-so was supposed to do it. Well, no, I thought so-and-so was supposed to do it. Where the challenge is to keep everybody on the same page, same team. Nobody really cares who’s responsible for what, but let’s just see where the breakdown was and be able to adapt and be able to handle this stuff when and if it comes up in the future.

What Advice Can You Offer to Other Entrepreneurs?

Learn how to work hard. Learn how to work hard, be comfortable with working hard, because it’s not always about who’s the most talented, who’s the best athlete, who’s the smartest, so on and so forth. It’s usually about the person who’s able to work harder and is more passionate and wants it more. Figure that out. If you can figure out how to work hard, no matter what it is, you’ll do well.

Where Do You See Wicked Good Cookies in 3-5 Years?

First and foremost, want to continue to grow. We’ve been fortunate where our business has grown. Even through the pandemic, we’ve kept an upward path, so we want to continue that, and we see a tremendous amount of opportunity with what we currently do. A tremendous amount of growth opportunity for that, and also a tremendous amount of opportunity to where we can fine tune the process and how we do it that will open up, whether it’s more markets, additional products, so on and so forth.

The market’s huge. What we do right now is very unique. It’s always for great, happy occasions. We just want to keep going with that. We just want to keep growing it.

What Value Has Gesmer Updegrove Provided to Wicked Good Cookies?

It’s almost like a “where do I start?” When we started with Gesmer, we were this cute little cookie company that thought we were so much more, and we started working with Gesmer, and they helped us with the contractual stuff for an investor that we brought in. First time from the family business, we brought in an investor. So Gesmer advised us through that, they did the contract with that, you know, fortunately enough, a few years later, Gesmer worked on the contract to buy him back out and get our ownership back.

They did that for us just with taking a small mom and pop, really what we thought of ourselves, cookie company out of Central Mass and brought us to the real world. Through the business fundamental boot camps, through networking events has been beneficial in one way. I mean, it was almost like Steve knew what we wanted or needed before we knew what we wanted or needed, and then be like, here, now this is all you need to go and make it happen.

He was tremendous with that. He introduced us to a firm called RevUp. Their model is an investment that’s tied into revenue, and it’s non-dilutive for equity. It was perfect for us because they helped us establish standards and take the mom and pop of the business out of it and give us the structure that we needed to properly manage and grow the business. And Gesmer, I mean, was right in the middle of every aspect of it.

Why Go With Gesmer?

I don’t think there is any way that we would be where we are without Gesmer. All of the legal end of it that I still don’t know anything about, but I know that we’re covered. Trademark, we’re covered. Corporate documents, we’re covered. Employment agreements, we’re covered.

But what they have done to recognize that we are so far away from what their stereotypical high-tech client is, I mean, we’re a cookie company.

They saw value in us. They gave us everything that we needed. Along the way, convinced us that we’re a little bit more than just a cookie company. Yeah, I mean, we wouldn’t change it for anything. They’ve been instrumental in bringing us to where we are.

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