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More than Just Cookies

Building Community as the Iona Cookie Momster

Published in the July 2022 Issue Published online: Aug 03, 2022 Articles, Best of IF, Business, Discover Idaho Falls, East Idaho Business, Lifestyle
Viewed 678 time(s)



BY EMMA JOHNSON

PHOTOS BY JOSHUA GULIZIA


IF YOU HAD TOLD TIMANEE OLSEN six years ago she would own a majorly successful cookie company, she wouldn’t have believed you. By combining her incredible artistic abilities with a cookie recipe passed down from her grandmother, Timanee has created a business that is just as delicious as it is inspiring. Because while her business may have started with cookies, it has become so much more than just that. Timanee remembers the beginning of the Iona Cookie Momster as completely random.

“I made some cookies for an ugly Christmas sweater party and people loved the look and the taste of them,” she said. “Little by little, people asked for cookies and I realized I had a knack for what I was doing.”

Soon Timanee’s business grew from Christmas party cookie orders to selling her cookies at shops around town. With all this growing success, Timanee was hitting the limits of what her home oven could handle. She began joking that it had taken over the job of her house’s heater. That’s when the community stepped in.

“The owner of Mrs. Powell’s reached out and offered to let me use her mixers, supplies, and facility,” Timanee said. “Now instead of baking out of my home oven, I was able to bake thirty dozen cookies at a time. It was the coolest thing ever.”

Mrs. Powell’s was not the only source of support for Timanee in the early days of her business. She turned to social media platforms like Facebook and Tiktok and found a community unlike anything she had ever experienced before. Before too long, she had a whole cheering section and new group of friends.

“These platforms have given me an outlet I didn’t know I needed but now I can’t live without,” she said.

Since her first order in 2017, Timanee’s business has grown significantly. She no longer bakes her cookies out of Mrs. Powell’s kitchen but has worked out a successful system at home with regular upgrades to keep the cookies coming hot. One appliance she relies on daily is a 20-quart mixer that was gifted to her by her loyal fans to help her business continue on during a hard time.

Starting with just her sugar cookie recipe, Timanee has increased her options to 13 delectable cookie flavors including s’mores, blueberry muffin, fruity pebbles, peanut butter, and red velvet. Her cookie community plays a big role in the creation of each flavor as customers help taste test to ensure that every new flavor is perfect. Timanee also continues to wow her followers with the artful designs she creates in her custom orders. Periodically, she sells her cookies from a mint green and coral polka dot shack to keep up with demand. It’s not hard to see that Timanee has fans. Her cookies have been featured in the East Idaho News, the Idaho State Journal, and most recently on the Drew Barrymore Show.

Timanee has loved the journey, but the success of the Iona Cookie Momster has not come without its challenges. At times she has had to learn the realities of running a business from home the hard way. Things like cottage food laws were foreign to her in the beginning, but now she moves ahead with experience and a certain business savvy that keeps her going through roadblocks that might topple someone with less experience.

Whatever the challenges have been, one thing is clear: the cookies are killing it. Timanee’s cookies have been selling out for 6 years. Initially, she took orders a few weeks in advance. Now she schedules all orders 2 months in advance through her Facebook page. The success of her business has done great things for her not only financially, but also as a vehicle for her true passion: uniting the community.

All throughout her life, Timanee has sought ways to help those in need, including founding To Heaven on a Heartstring to provide headstones to unidentified Does in the community who are in need. Her cookie tribe has served the community through acts of kindness and fundraisers that have helped raise thousands of dollars for community members suffering from illnesses and other crises.

Timanee has made it her mission to help the community that has done so much to help her. For Timanee, being the Iona Cookie Momster is about much more than cookies, and the impressive community she has built over the last 6 years is a testament to that.

“Right before this business started, I was in a really bad place with my mental health, and this business gave me purpose,” she said. “I have been greeted with so much support and kindness from this community. I love giving back to them.”

In big ways, Timanee helps raise awareness for needs in the community, and, in small ways, she helps validate the day-to-day struggles others face with things like mental health and self-care. She also brings countless smiles through her cookies, because who doesn’t like a beautiful cookie that tastes good?

The cookies and the community Timanee has created are a labor of love, and they’re here to stay. Everyone who interacts with the Iona Cookie Momster leaves feeling seen, valued, and wanting more of her delicious cookies.


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