From Belarusian Marketing Manager to American Baker
You will ask me how two people from different continents ended up opening a dessert business together. I can`t promise, but I will try to make this long story short.
In 2015 I graduated from college in my home country – Belarus, and got a Marketing Manager job in a bank. I didn`t speak English back then, but I needed to learn it, so I could communicate with foreign clients our bank served. I enrolled in a program that provided an opportunity to come to the United States and work during the summer season. Without knowing the language my chances in the job market were very low. I started working as a busser in a restaurant, and, once my English got a little better, I became a server. It wasn`t easy after being a marketing manager, but that`s how I discovered my passion to restaurant business. And now I understand why it all happened to me.
On my first week in the States, I already fell in love with everything that surrounded me: smiles on people’s faces, sounds and colors of the nature, cultural diversity, and the most important – opportunities in the air. Yes…I could really feel them. I don`t want to sound “cheezy”. But it is the truth. The main reason, why I had decided to stay here, was realizing that the United States is a country where all your dreams can come true, if you work hard.
First time in my life I felt like it was “my cup of tea”. I was ready to start my journey and work towards my dreams.
Working in restaurants helped me to realize that food plays a huge role in American culture. Not only food is important, but also experience that has been creating along with the food. I found myself really enjoying the fact, that through the service I could make people smile. And that`s how my dream was born. I saw that there was much more behind the scene. I started dreaming about having my own restaurant where every day of my hard work would actually mean something. I wanted to get a chance to make this world a little better by making people happier.
I never thought I would become a baker. When I was a little girl I helped my mom in the kitchen, but I never took cooking or baking seriously. Since I was a kid my vision of future career changed several times. I never had a specific talent, but I always challenged myself to do the best job at everything.
I started baking in my apartment kitchen in 2017. I was going through a difficult time, and baking helped me to clear my mind and feel better.It became my hobby, and, of course, it wouldn`t be me If didn`t want to reach perfection in it. I started exploring my passion, trying different recipes and looking for my “big hit”
How “big hit” was born
Growing up around restaurant business Taylor always wanted to do something of his own. He dreamed of opening a food truck. A year before we met he was close to realize his dream, but things didn`t work out, and now we understand why.
The funniest thing is that he has never been a big fan of sweets and he still doesn’t understand how he got himself into dessert business. Every time I bake something I have to force him to try it. He never has more than one bite, and I know I made something really delicious only when I hear him complimenting it to other people.
When Taylor and I were in Nashville, we saw a food truck that was selling ice cream sandwiches. There was no way “dessert queen” could pass that place without checking it out. We both thought it was a cool idea for the business. Taylor liked the simplicity of it, but I was sold on luscious combination of a warm cookie and melting ice cream.
As soon as we got home I started baking cookies and taking them to our families, friends and people at work. Everybody absolutely loved them. I was trying to get as much feedback as I could possibly get. The goal was to improve my recipes and make the cookies taste even better. We were stacking the freezer with store-bought ice cream and assembling sandwiches almost every day. They were great, but not great enough for me.
I wanted to create a product, that could be 100% homemade and different from what everybody else offered. It wasn`t long before we bought our first ice cream machine, and I started learning how to make ice cream. I dedicated my mornings and days off to reading the books and inventing my own recipes.
Taylor didn`t like my idea at first, he tried to protect me from overwhelming and leave the process as simple as it was. But nothing could change my mind, especially after seeing other people really enjoying my ice cream.
I will never forget the night when I made “my” first sandwich. After the first bite Taylor said: “Yeah… you probably should make your own ice cream for the business. You know me. I don`t eat sweets at all, but I can eat this”. It wasn`t just the best compliment, it meant I won my first battle. That`s how our “big hit” was born.
This story won`t mean anything without me saying a few words about Silver. Everything on our truck is made from scratch, including truck itself (lol). You wouldn`t believe the truck that is serving “hit” ice cream sandwiches today, many years ago served as a police truck. When we got “Silver” (we called it this way for its original color), there was absolutely nothing inside besides holes and a bullet that Taylor found during the cleaning.
What you see today is a result of hard mental and physical work of one person. Working six days a week, Taylor sacrificed every Sunday and weeknights for building the truck. He had no clue what he was doing, but step by step he figured that out. From cutting the window to installing the plumbing, Taylor did everything himself. He made the magic happen, and built us the place where we feel like at home.
I always believed in the statement “We are what we eat”. In the very first conversation Taylor and I had I told him that one day I would love to open a spot where I could serve wholesome food. I grew up eating natural food and delicious dairy that Belarus is well-known for. And when I moved to the States, a lot of products, especially dairy, just didn`t taste right to me until I started buying organic options of them.
When I began my baking adventures I didn’t have doubts in my mind that I would definitely go with organic and high-quality ingredients for both purposes: health and taste.
Organic flour, cane sugar, rich Madagascar vanilla, cage-free eggs – all that is a secret key to ridiculously delicious, soft and chewy cookies. We get our dairy from Homestead Creamery`s family-run farms in Wirtz, VA. Grass-fed, with no added hormones and antibiotics, milk and cream offer rich and creamy taste, which translates wonderfully to our ice cream. We don’t use any artificial flavorings, dyes, preservatives or off-the-shelf ice cream mixes. To ensure that nothing artificial gets added into our cookies and ice cream we make everything by hand, including cinnamon chips, almond brittle, oreo wafers.
After a lot of experimenting in the kitchen I proved to myself (and to Taylor…haha) that better ingredients make better food. And that`s why “Cookies with an Accent” focuses on making the product as wholesome as possible.
Of course, all sweet treats should be enjoyed in moderation. But I think knowing that your ice cream sandwich is made from the finest ingredients makes the whole experience guilt-free and much sweeter.