“I got my baking start as a kid peeking over the counter as Mimi, my long-time babysitter, taught me the basics,” Sellers said. “I was baking a ton, making messes and mountains of dishes in my parent’s home kitchen. I decided to start selling my creations at the local farmer’s market.”
Sellers said this hobby quickly turned into a full-time baking business. Cookies and Dreams broke ground in January 2020, right as the COVID-19 pandemic was sweeping the country. But Sellers is no newbie to the restaurant business, with experience running BREW in the Village, a cafe and lounge in Davenport, Iowa. She knew generally what to expect, though bakeries are a whole new ball game.
“It was a little rough in the beginning,” Sellers said. “We first showcased my cookies in our bakery counter at one of our restaurants, and we had to overcome some struggles when we decided to open up a store, especially during COVID.”
Sellers’ shops go beyond the basic chocolate chip cookie. It has everything from a Poppin’ Champagne cookie to the Good Golly Miss Dolly banana-inspired cookie. Besides the fun names, Sellers calls the bakery itself the Cookie Lab. Her employees are the Dream Team. Within the Cookie Lab, the team dreams up every flavor imaginable to see what works. The Dream Team creates these fun flavors themselves and looks to social media for inspiration from the community. Every month, new flavors enter the lineup, keeping the options exciting and fresh. But with cookies at its core, the burning question remains — which of their cookies is the best?
“We have so many awesome ones, but I think my favorite cookie at the moment is our Puppy Chow cookie,” Sellers said.
Cookies have always been a popular dessert, but social media has recently made them all the rage. TikTok popularized outside-of-the-box cookies, and some people even run accounts dedicated to unique cookies and taste tests. Sellers found her own space in the online trend and has garnered nearly 25,000 followers on the Cookies and Dreams Instagram and over 27,000 on its Facebook.
Offline, Cookies and Dreams has been a big hit at all of its locations, quickly becoming a local favorite. With its current success in eastern Iowa, Sellers has big plans for the future of her business, including opening a location in the Chicago area.
“I see us opening more stores throughout the United States,” Sellers said. “We currently ship nationwide, and it would be fun to one day be able to ship worldwide.”
It’s one thing to open a small business, but it’s another to make it successful. When it comes down to it, Sellers owes the business’s success to the product itself. “For starters, I think having really, really, really good cookies helps us a lot,” Sellers said. “But also, our Dream Team of employees do a lot every day to help our business grow and be successful.”