From packing our first rush of holiday shipments from our apartment in 2020, to navigating the ins and outs growing an all-organic bakery business, the past three years at Christine’s Cookie Co. have been nothing short of dull. We’ve hustled hard, learned so much, met many amazing bakers and customers along the way, and created something that we think is truly special. Working out of a shared commercial kitchen has had its ups and downs (which I’m sure any person who’s been in our shoes can relate to), but we managed to make it work and grow so much as a business thanks to the many craft fairs and fellow small businesses that hosted us in their spaces.
However, the time has come for us to open something of our own, a place where you can find freshly baked cookies that I'm so excited to share.
So how did all of this happen?
While I love baking cookies, I’ve been starting to get a bit of a baking itch - craving other pastries, wanting to play around with savory treats and highlight more ingredients that probably wouldn’t be best in a cookie (seasonal vegetables…could you imagine? Haha). And so, after being inspired by many peers in the food industry, I decided to go back to school.
Culinary school was never on my radar growing up, but I thought that in this stage of my life, going back to school would be a great way to grow as a baker and potentially help the business evolve as well. Earlier this year, I took two months to attend the San Francisco Baking Institute, led by Michel Suas, founder of Thoroughbread and Pastry and co-owner of B. Patisserie. It was at this school that I realized how much I loved baking, getting lost in the science of everything, but also, that there was still much more that I wanted to learn.
Two months went by quickly, and by the time I came back to help my bakers prep for the holiday season, I knew that it would be difficult to have enough time to be creative with my baking endeavors while still maintaining everything that was going on. It’s been difficult to develop new flavors with being in a shared kitchen space, managing supplier issues, running different events every single weekend, coordinating custom orders, etc. So much change can happen overnight within this small cookie business, and it leaves little room for me to think creatively.
The vision of the microbakery
From a business perspective, running a traveling pop up bakery is labor intensive and costly, and I knew it wouldn’t be financially sustainable in the long term. But I also knew of the high costs of building out a formal brick and mortar bakery - was this a risk I wanted to jump on so soon? The more I looked into brick and mortar spaces with 5-10 year leases, the more I felt like I was rushing into signing for something just because we knew we needed our own space.
I’ve been following quite a few bakers and pastry chefs, and have seen some of them convert their homes and garages into effective bakery spaces full of industrial equipment. Think proper work benches, a giant planetary mixer, commercial ovens…it’s feasible to run a bakery out of a home setup, but it just takes some creative planning to do so. And so, I got thinking - could I build out a microbakery, and live out of that same space? Where would that space be? Then we found it…in the Mission Portrero neighborhood.
2823 18th street (unit 107 specifically) is our new humble home. Not only will it be my literal home for the next two years, but also our bakery space. We’re downsizing our things, setting up industrial baking equipment next to our dining table and living area, and are going to our open our front doors so you can come in to see the baking action and potentially get that out-of-oven cookie experience that makes my eyes light up with so much joy. Though it’ll be small, I am so excited to have a place to create and bake on my own terms and be part of such a vibrant neighborhood of fellow creatives and small businesses!
It’ll take us some time to get permitting done, but we’re winding down our operations in the South Bay as we transition to our new home up north in the next few weeks. We hope this isn’t a goodbye forever to our South Bay friends, but a see you later, as we won’t be far from where we started.
We’ve been getting lots of questions about whether or not we’ll still have South Bay pre-order pickup every Saturday after we move to San Francisco. Unfortunately, we’ll be winding down that service as well, so there are 2 more Saturday’s left to pre-order. 12/23 is our last day of service in South Bay, and we’ll be having a pop up with our partner pickup location, Plants by POST! Shipments will also be on hold until further notice after this month, as we start to build out our microbakery. So get those orders in, as we likely will not have any cookies available for the month of January and are hoping to be open by February.
Please stay tuned via Instagram and our newsletter as we’ll share updates when we’re able to open. I’m back to being a solo baker again as unfortunately, my team is unable to relocate with me, so I’ll be starting small with limited opening hours, but I can’t wait to do so. I also plan on taking some time to sort out part-time work with another bakery to keep learning and growing, so hopefully, I can bring different goodies to you in the near future!
A thank you to…
My amazing bakers, family, fellow small business owners and cookie community - thank you for supporting me and my dream to create a more sustainable world through the joy of baking these past 3 years. I wouldn’t be able to do this without you, and I hope you stay along with me as I continue my journey to San Francisco next year.