A couple of fresh faces are serving up sweets at Soulard Farmers Market.
Chocolate Girls Cookies, a St. Louis-based cookie company, has been selling cookies at the market every weekend for the past few months. The star owners of the company are 7-year-old Maya Turner and 9-year-old Nadia Turner, but, of course, the sisters get a lot of assistance from their parents, Michael Turner and Shelly Williams.
According to Williams, Maya and Nadia are involved in every facet of the company. Nadia designed the logo with some graphic design help from one of her mom's co-workers, and the sisters help come up with all of the flavors of cookies. Right now, Chocolate Girls sells chocolate chip, oatmeal, oatmeal-raisin and oatmeal-caramel cookies, plus a seasonal Halloween cookie loaded with sprinkles, chocolate chips and M&Ms. And for those who are allergic to lactose, the cookies are made without milk. The recipes come from Williams, who says she has been baking for years.
The girls bring about 400 cookies to the market every week, and every week so far, they've sold out of cookies.
Williams says that being hands-on in their own business is helping Maya and Nadia develop an array of skills. When selling their cookies at the market, they are working on their mental math when they give customers change. While baking, they are learning to convert measurements and how to do the math to double up a recipe. And by making sales and meeting new people, the two are also working on their social skills while their parents try to teach them as much about business as possible.
"They just have this spirit of 'can do'," Williams says.
The cookies are made at the family's home in University City. Williams says that the values taught in their schools encouraged their daughters to pursue this business dream of theirs. All of the profits made go right to the girls' college funds – and according to their mom, neither girl has ever asked to touch a dollar of it.
The girls are involved in every level of the business, but their commitment from week to week usually depends on how much homework they have. But whether they are helping to bake the cookies, load them into bags or seal up the bags for sale, you can pick up your bag of cookies knowing Maya and Nadia had a hand in making them happen.
In addition to being a source of funds for college, the girls hope to continue to grow their business. Nadia says that hopefully, her kids will one day carry on the cookie company. Maya, on the other hand, hopes that in two years, the company will have its own bodyguards to protect them at the market.
And as for both of their parents, they could not be prouder of their little entrepreneurs.
"It's like a dream come true," Turner says.
But cookies aren't the only venture the two have set their eyes on. Nadia wants to design a line of bedsheets for little girls, and Maya has dreams to open her own girls' boutique.
"They are very serious about their aspirations," Williams says. "What we do behind the scenes is really support them and teach them along the way."
You can pick up Chocolate Girls Cookies at booth 84 of the Soulard Farmers Market, or inquire about orders by reaching out via phone or email.
Chocolate Girls Cookies, chocolategirlscookies.com