By Lucy Ruscitto | Staff Writer
San Antonio freshman Kaitlyn Cornes and The Woodlands freshman Kristina Ward have created their own business Oso Sweet, a cookie company run from their Brooks Flats dorm.
The freshman thought of the business idea after attending Oso Launch, a program for freshmen who want to set their first business venture in motion.
“We were just thinking about business ideas, and so I thought, ‘What if we did a treat delivery service?’” Cornes said.
In high school, Ward brought her famous cookies to her fellow classmates once a week. The positive feedback she received combined with Cornes’ mutual love for treats helped the pair find what their product should be: cookies, but with a twist.
“We were trying to make our idea something unique because there’s already kind of an influx [of desserts] in Waco,” Cornes said. “So we thought, ‘How can we make our cookie stand out, how can we make our product different from everyone else’s?’ And that’s where the popsicle shape idea came from.”
Ward and Cornes’ built their prototype by putting their product on a stick and cooking them in the shape of popsicles. The Baylor-themed delicacies are inspired by all things green and gold, which can be seen in the names of the business itself and its treats.
The girls have already piloted three flavors: “Bear Tracks,” a chocolate chip cookie with milk chocolate drizzle topped with chocolate chips, the “Green and Gold,” a funfetti sugar cookie with buttercream icing and a green and gold sprinkle finish, and the “Oso Espresso.” A double chocolate chip flavor with a caffeine kick and buttercream drizzle.
In an entrepreneurship course, Ward and Cornes requested to be in the same group for a business creation project, where they began creating what is now known as Oso Sweet.
Ward and Cornes said they brought their cookies to share with the class and were met with nothing but praise.
Dr. Boris Nikolaev, assistant professor of entrepreneurship, taught the course Ward and Cornes used to start their business. Nikolaev said he was happy to see students taking initiative outside the classroom.
“My initial reaction was very, very happy to see students that are so passionate and excited about a project that they want to do during the semester, which is something that you don’t often see with students,” Nikolaev said.
The bakers tested their business last fall semester with orders being sent through a Google form linked in the Oso Sweet instagram page. The form asked customers the flavor and quantity of cookies, and a delivery place and time.
Cornes is in charge of the social media and public relations, while Ward is the head baker and packager of the cookies.
Ward said that due to the “cottage food laws,” she is easily able to bake and run Oso Sweet out of their Brooks Flats kitchenette because legally all she needs is a food handlers license and cookie ingredients.
“The baking materials aren’t expensive,” Ward said. “If you buy them wholesale, they are especially inexpensive for the amount of product they make.”
Ward said Oso Sweet will charge about $14 for a dozen and $8 for half a dozen. Delivery will be free of charge to students living on campus as an incentive for them to buy again and localize the product.
Cornes and Ward said they plan to widen their market to Baylor parents.
“The Baylor parents Facebook page and the Baylor Parent Network is very involved and want to do things for kids,” Cornes said.
Cornes and Ward said their thoughts were for the cookies to serve as a gift from their parents for students’ academic achievements. The two also plan to take next steps in the business by moving Oso Sweet onto Baylor’s campus.
Ward and Cornes participated in the Baylor Venture program where the pair made it in the top 50 businesses. Oso Sweet was one of a few retail start-ups competing against multiple technology-based companies.
After working with Ward and Cornes in the classroom and during the Baylor Venture program, Nikolaev said he believes Ward and Cornes are more than capable of moving their business onto campus successfully.
“This is a period of time where they may not see the type of growth, revenue or profits that would make them excited to keep going, but this is the most critical time,” Nikolaev said. “They need to stay focused and keep going and persisting with their business, which they’re doing.”
The ultimate goal, Cornes and Ward said, is to start a storefront location and food truck, along with possible catering opportunities at Baylor and Waco-based events.
“Even though on paper it may look like this is just another bakery and kind of cookie business, I think in the long run, Oso Sweet will continue to have creative and fun products,” Nikolaev said. “The thing that I really admired about Oso Sweet was that it wasn’t about the class; it wasn’t about the grade. They were just intrinsically motivated to do this.”