Be Your Own Boss: Norwell mother-daughter cookie business strikes it big with family recipe

NORWELL, Mass. — Turning a family cookie recipe into sweet success. A mom and daughter duo out of Norwell turned their love of baking their family’s traditional shortbread cookies into a commercial operation.

Jody Walker has her family’s cookie recipe written on a decades-old notecard. But she doesn’t need it.

“It’s all up here,” said Jody Walker, pointing to her head.

Jody has been baking her grandmother’s spritz cookies since she was a little girl. That recipe of the traditional Swedish almond shortbread cookie has been passed down generations, with Jody now baking the sweet treats with her daughter, Taylor.

“I even baked them in college for my professors and stuff and/or my bosses,” said Taylor Walker.  “I’d bring them in kind of like as a little butter up gift.”

The cookies, so delicious, and so simple.

“It’s easy, because there’s just five, six ingredients,” said Jody. “People would ask me, like, can I get your recipe? And I said, no, because then I’d have to hunt you down.”

With the cookies in such high demand, especially around the holidays, Jody always knew she wanted to start her own business. In 2014, she got to work.

“I would get up like, you know, four o’clock in the morning and start making dough,” said Jody. “And, you know, I had bakery racks all around in here. And it was just a crazy process.”

Jody and Taylor started baking larger quantities at the Commonwealth Kitchen in Boston. But the new entrepreneurs realized they were losing valuable time with the commute. So Jody’s husband, who is a contractor, built a commercial kitchen in Rockland where Jody and Taylor still do testing at today.

“We were basically there 24/7 turning cookies out.”

The mom and daughter duo did a branding facelift and product overhaul in 2019. Then COVID-19 hit.

“We were just at the cusp of starting to get some traction, and we kind of had to put everything on hold,” said Taylor.  “My mom and I decided, you know, we still have to keep plugging through no matter how many times we were like, is this worth it?”

Their persistence paid off. Jody and Taylor made the right connections at the Fancy Food Show in New York City which led to a deal with Publix — sending almost one million cookies to the grocery store chain.

“We were there on the production floor, just like stacks on the rows of cookies all done up,” said Taylor. “And it’s like, that was the most surreal moment, I think, to see what we have done. We’ve gone from farmer’s markets to this point. We have a lot of pinch me moments where, you know, day-to-day or just in the trenches, head down. Okay, what’s next. But then when you get to actually physically see what’s going on and why you’re working so hard, it’s like something I couldn’t have dreamed of.”

Sure there have been some bumps along the way and a few mom-daughter disagreements.

“If people walked by our kitchen in Rockland, they probably heard a lot of yelling and screaming going on,” Jody joked.

But Jody and Taylor credit their success of going back to the way baking was — with just simple, clean ingredients.

“People are really looking for that, especially nowadays, the big health food trend is very much on the rise, people are really taking the time to stop and look at their ingredients,” said Taylor.

This certified, women-owned business produces and packages all of their products in the US, but has had sales as far as France and Switzerland. They just struck a deal with Stop and Shop and there is no sign of slowing this mom and daughter team down.

“It’s like you’ve got to keep that gas pedal going,” said Jody. “You’ve just always got to be out there pounding the pavement and because it’s there’s a lot of turnover.”

“We almost threw in the towel ourselves, but we’re like, no, we’re going stick to it,” said Taylor. “We’re going do it and sky’s the limit.

Jody and Taylor are offering a special 15% off discount for their Spritzal Cookies. Viewers can use the code FOX25 when they order from spritzal.com.

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