“There is a man named Sandy who comes in every day to work on the NY Times crossword puzzle. On Thursdays, a big bearded hipster guy from Smith & Vine (a friend of mine) studies the crossword with Sandy to learn his tricks and get tutored. We call it ‘Thursdays with Sandy.' We know and love these people. Our life there, the connections never end. It’s great! We see everyone everywhere."
- Dawn and Dave , One Girl Cookies
One Girl Cookies original location is a charming, tiny, bakery and cafe in Cobble Hill. It's an institution in the neighborhood, with constant traffic and an almost cult like following of loyalists of all ages from the area coming daily. Their delicate miniature cookies, whoopie pies, and decadent cakes have become a fixture in the community, paving the way for many small businesses who followed suit soon after One Girl planted their roots in the family centric little nook of South Brooklyn. The amazing thing about the team, the adorable duo of Dave and Dawn, is that they embrace these other small businesses and have treated their neighbors as friends and collaborators, not competition - breeding a sense of “we’re all in this together” on the friendly streets surrounding the shop. As they put it, it's the idea of “borrowing a cup of sugar from a neighbor, but on a much larger scale” - each individual independent storefront is there to help one another succeed.
One Girl Cookies has been in business for 15 years, starting out in Dawn’s apartment where she was, you guessed it, "one girl" alone waking up, making cookie dough, baking, and putting them in boxes for customers. She came from a background in retail, but quit her job at Barney’s - knowing she could always return to retail - to bake full time. In 2000, selling bespoke baked goods on the internet was not as easy as it is today, so Dawn focused on selling her treats to clients she had met through her old day job. After her second holiday season, Dawn felt the business had legs and decided to make the risky decision of moving her operation into a commercial kitchen to grow the business. It wasn’t just a hobby anymore.
That’s when a few realizations happened; she “didn’t know much about baking," said Dawn over coffee at their new shop in Dumbo. “My Mom is a great cook and baker and I grew up in a big Italian family where food was a huge part of everything, but I had never been to pastry school, or culinary school, and I had a lot to learn about scaling recipes.”
Cut to Dave, her future husband and business partner, but at the time a Richmond bread baker with a dream to move to New York City. “I started off as a retail manager, but suddenly became the cookie guy, then the muffin guy, and then I was mixing bread. As a manager in Virginia, I made $6.75 an hour… but there was always bread to eat!” says Dave. The pair were introduced, and Dave decided to take his experience to work with Dawn to help grow One Girl Cookies by day while he attended culinary school in NYC at night.
Since then, their business has steadily grown from Dawn’s humble apartment to two beautifully designed storefronts in Brooklyn, a recipe book, and plans to expand to Sunset Park and “hopefully” Manhattan. At the start, every cupcake, pie, and cookie was them, and now they are leaders of a team of talented bakers. In the decade they opened the business, they’ve grown from two friends trying to get a dream off the ground to being married with kids, building their business and raising their family at the same time. When asked about working with your husband/wife, they both said what you might expect - it’s challenging, but conversations can be that much more rewarding since they are in it together. “The rule is though, that we can’t fight about work at night,” Dawn playfully admitted, “we can only debate.”
Check out One Girl Cookies if you are in Dumbo or Cobble Hill, and if you see Dawn or Dave just give them a nudge to open a shop up in your neighborhood, too.