The Feature is Female: Mindy St. John

“It’s fun being an entrepreneur, but it’s also tough. Believe in yourself, and keep moving forward.” – Mindy St. John

Do you smell that delicious scent wafting through the air? No it’s not the intoxicating scent of a long summer day. It’s the sweet smell of Mindy’s Cookie Creations.

In 2017, Mindy St. John started on what would become her sweetest journey yet. A vet tech by trade, Mindy never considered cookies as a career step, but as she moves into her 5th year of the business, she has found that it’s never too late to try something new.

 2006 marked the year that Mindy St. John graduated as a licensed veterinary technician. For the next 15 years, Mindy found herself taking care of animals of all kinds. As much love as she had for her job and the animals she was treating, there was one thing she couldn’t escape: the stress. “Being a vet tech is super rewarding, but it can also be really stressful some days. Often you come home and you think ‘I just need an outlet. I need some kind of project to get my mind off of the stress,’” states Mindy. 

St. John continued to search for an outlet that would fulfill her, and that road led her to cookies. “The journey to cookie making really started with my sister-in-law, Holly. We walked in to my in-laws one day, and they were baking cookies, and my sister-in-law just asked ‘Hey, do you want to help?’ and I thought why not?,”  recalls Mindy. “The cookies were already baked and the icing was already made, so we really just needed to decorate. By nature, I love doing crafts, so this was right up my alley. I loved the creative side of it, and I love sweets!” Mindy states with a laugh.

On the way home from that visit, Mindy decided to try one of the very cookies she helped create, and a passion was unlocked. “I was on the way home and I tried a cookie and thought these are really good. Holly then gave me the recipe, and we’ve kept it very tight lipped since then,” Mindy says with a grin. “I came home and just started having fun with it. One thing led to another, and here we are. It became a business.”

Mindy St. John has seen a rapid amount of success since the beginning of Mindy’s Cookie Creations, and for that, she’s thankful. “I think just watching how much the business has grown since I started is so rewarding. I also think seeing the way I’ve changed in my process is interesting. I used to be so nervous just to make a dozen cookies, or even two dozen cookies, and now there are moments like this morning, where I’m standing in my commercial kitchen, and I’ve just finished baking 20 dozen cookies,” states Mindy. “Even when I decorate now, I decorate 15 to 20 dozen cookies at a time. I used to be terrified to do 2, 4, 5 dozen cookies for a custom order, and now I put a cap on 15 to 17 dozen every week, along with the orders I have for local businesses, so I really appreciate not only seeing the business grow, but seeing myself grow and feeling more confident in what I’m doing. It’s made it a lot more fun,” proudly states Mindy.

When it comes to being a female entrepreneur, Mindy feels blessed with what she has been able to accomplish. What she also feels blessed by is the community of other female bakers who have rallied around each other and come together to really support one another. “A majority of bakers or sweet treat makers in this town are female, so it was a huge help to have support from other females. We lean on each other. In my business, it’s just me, so I can’t do all the orders that come my way. There’s just not enough time in the day, so I’ve found other female established cookie businesses or sweet treat makers, and I refer customers to them. It’s just a really nice feeling knowing that I have this group of hard working females that I’ve come to really rely on,” states St. John.

If you’re wondering what comes next for Mindy’s Cookies Creations, you’re not alone. Mindy herself would like to know. When asked about the future of the business Mindy gave the most authentic answer, “I honestly don’t know. I’m always looking for a sign. It was a sign when the career shift fell in my lap. I loved animals. I never thought I’d do anything else, but here we are. I think if something were to fall into my path again and it said ‘you need to switch things up,’ then maybe I would. But I don’t know what that would be, I don’t know if that’ll happen, so for now, I am sticking with not knowing, while also having fun decorating and creating cookies!” states St. John. 

Anyone looking to start down the path of entrepreneurship is always looking to get advice wherever they can. Thankfully, Mindy St. John was willing to share. “The best advice I can give is hang in there. This journey is really hard. I’ve cried frustration tears and have been completely overwhelmed. I’ve wanted to throw in the towel countless times since starting because it’s really, really hard. But in the end, I’m so glad I’m doing it,” states Mindy. “Sometimes it’s the little things that remind me how much I love it. I love being my own boss. I love seeing people’s reactions when they eat my cookies. I love the joy my cookies bring. It’s fun being an entrepreneur, but it’s also tough. Believe in yourself, and keep moving forward.”

All in all, the journey to creating Mindy’s Cookie Creations has been something that means much more to Mindy St. John then meets the eye. “The entire journey has been incredibly rewarding. I like knowing that I’ve made, if even a small one, an impact on Quincy. It’s something to be really proud of for myself and for my family. I’ve lived here my entire life. The Rupp’s have always had something going on here in Quincy, and I’m proud to come from such a successful family, so now, getting to have a little tiny piece of that that has my name attached to it, it’s very special,” proudly states St. John. 

Motivation for Mindy is derived from a special place, a familial place. “My whole family is made up of very hard workers. I think having that drive to work is special. What really motivates me is to watch the finished project. What am I going to create? What am I going to think up next? Watching things come from the notes I’ve jotted down to the actual finished project, it’s incredibly motivating,” states St. John. “I also want to continue to push myself to try new things. That’s how I’ll build my skills and get better, and that motivates me a lot!”

Sometimes in life we choose something for ourselves that feels right in the moment, but in time, it begins to feel less like the right fit. When those things happen, it causes us to reevaluate our choices and choose a better outcome for ourselves. Mindy St. John did just that when she chose to take the path toward becoming a specialty cookie baker. That path, however, has proven to be just what the baker ordered. In 5 short years, Mindy has been able to position herself as the leading cookie baker in the area. If that’s not a sweet story, I don’t know what is.

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