Whitney Rowell, CEO, and founder of Miracle Milkookies, is a true boss woman. Her entrepreneurship and innovation is unparalleled, and her mission is admirable: to support women everywhere.
In addition to Miracle Milkookies, Whitney has started the podcast Message from Mom, founded Collective ThirtyOne, and recently launched Her Story.
We spoke to Whitney this week to get the inside scoop on the beginnings of Miracle Milkookies, how she balances motherhood and her career, and more.
“I guess I’ve always been an entrepreneur,” Whitney says thoughtfully. And it’s true — she started her first company when she was just 8 years old by making birthday stationery and selling it door to door despite her shy nature.
A business opportunity is never lost with Whitney. In high school, she sold her special chocolate chip cookie in the coffeehouse and actually began her own jewelry company. In the beginning, people would buy her handmade jewelry off her neck. Then, truck shows were hosted, sales were made, and the businesses (named Tramonti) expanded while Whitney earned her degree in Strategic Communications at Texas Christian University.
Discovering the Recipe
Fast forward a few years and Whitney is 5 weeks pregnant, married, and runs her own consulting business. One day, a friend with a five-month-old dropped off a plate of lactation cookies. “It was so odd — I had no idea what a lactation cookie was,” Whitney says, “But they helped me produce more milk.”
She decided she would make them for herself. She did research on lactation ingredients and breast milk, adding a variety of ingredients (in a variety of amounts) to her famous chocolate chip cookie recipe. Trial and error eventually delivered the perfect balance: the original Miracle Milkookie.
Without any real understanding of the domino effect she was creating, she posted the recipe to her blog and moved on.
“At the end of the day, if you aren’t making sales, you don’t have a business.”Whitney
A year and a half later (she’s pregnant with her second), she was in the backend of her blog doing some grunt work when she noticed that she had over 300,000 views of the Miracle Milkookies recipe. Curiosity peaked, she checked out her Pinterest post to discover that businesses like Health Magazine and Pop Sugar had re-pinned the recipe.
Managing the Rush
Whitney explains, “Of course, my entrepreneurial mind immediately kicked into gear. I knew I needed to make this into a business.” She put a link on that single blog post that said, “Click here to buy cookies,” and the orders began rolling in.
The next months were a series of problems to solve over and over: how do you ship frozen cookie dough to Phoenix in the middle of summer? How do you deliver freshly baked cookies to New York?
So, Whitney limited herself to local doorstep deliveries for now and began researching with a friend of hers. She met with other business owners, commercial kitchens (she never wanted to be a baker), and made a goal: she would ship cookies before the birth of her second girl.
On August 2017, the very day of her second child’s birth, Whitney began shipping cookies out nationally, receiving orders from high-profile celebrities. Now, they ship internationally with people paying up to $200 for a $30 box of Miracle Milkookies. That’s how valuable her product is to the moms out there.
Expanding on Passion
“Find people who are willing to walk alongside you during your journey.”Whitney
Despite the hustle and bustle of her Miracle Milkookies taking off, Whitney was aware that she never wanted to be just a cookie company; she wanted to be a brand that offered moms everywhere valuable resources.
“Our cookie is just one product of the entire brand. We have a podcast, we’ve launched a blog, and a collective for female entrepreneurs.” Whitney describes. Even as I talk to her, she is in the process of launching yet another business (yes, during a global pandemic). Her Story replaces the department store. It curates from local, female-founded small businesses to bring the best of products to consumers while supporting women and their families.
Whitney, in the truest entrepreneurial spirit, is innovating constantly so that her brand is a true, multifaceted support system for women everywhere.
I mean, it was hard. My second child has the same birthday has Miracle Milkookies, so when I got home from the hospital, I had 40 orders to fill. We had a newborn we needed to breastfeed, cookie dough to make, and deliveries to do. I would drive from all over Texas with both children in the backseat — so much so that my 4-year-old told her preschool teacher that M is for Miracle Milkookies.
But throughout, I wanted to make them part of my journey. So they got to help me package the boxes, they knew all the people working at the UPS store. and they came on the carpools with me. They’re part of the business, and that’s what I encourage other moms to do when they’re starting their business.
Just step out and try it. Go for it.
Also, find people who are willing to walk alongside you during your journey. Talk to people who have done something similar. Find a community that will support you — because you’re going to need it.
Then, really identify where you really want to spend your time. For me, I knew I didn’t want to bake. My passion is not cookies — it’s supporting and promoting moms. When you start a business, you need to know your passion.
Working from home is normal for us luckily, but having my girls home all day every day has been difficult. It’s been really important for us to schedule a routine. Every morning, we get up and I make a schedule. We wake up, go on a walk, have dinner together…the schedule has helped us all get a structure.
For self-care, I talk to my friends. We probably do a zoom call 3-4 times a week and talk about who’s struggling with what, the best wine you’ve had, etc. Community is really important to me.
Yes! In college, I used to grow jalapeños and peppers on the side of our house, but they always ended up dying — I have a terrible green thumb. But Donna sent over some a Gardenuity tomato garden kit last spring, and we had loads of success. The girls loved it.
Today, the girls picked some basil and we made pizza today! It’s been so nice having our own garden — it’s so convenient.