Monique Armstrong turned her natural ability to bake into a full-blown business. Once reserved for her friends and family, Armstrong's delicious, gooey products are now commercially sold in select Whole Foods locations. Though she started out with many of the ingredients for a successful business, Armstrong needed a little assistance executing her strategy.
She found her solution with Goodwill of North Georgia's GoodBIZ! micro-entrepreneur program.
When Armstrong was a teenager she baked and sent cookies to her great aunt. Twenty-five years later she perfected her craft and developed MLA Gourmet. She worked tirelessly on creating original, fresh and preservative-free recipes for all her cookies. "I did a lot of development on the recipes," she says. "I created them all and I worked on them a lot. They're a premium product."
Cookie flavors range from rum cherry chocolate chip to absinthe herb biscotti. With mouthwatering recipes like those, it's no wonder she encourages customers to eat the cookies fresh.
Before she sold cookies, Armstrong worked as a full-time graphic designer and would give cookies to her clients around the holidays. With her sister's encouragement Armstrong decided to take MLA Gourmet to the next level and sell her cookies year round. She had a table set up at a Dekalb Chamber of Commerce Expo when she was invited to take part in Goodwill's GoodBIZ!, a program designed to help entrepreneurs expand their businesses. "Everything I design and everything that I do is a result of what I got from being in the Goodwill program," she says.
Upon graduating from the Goodwill program, Armstrong created her own logo, website and packing labels. And if her clients wish, she will even create custom gift cards with a company's message on them.
Although she completed the program in 2010, Armstrong is still connected to Goodwill and its staff. "The coaching was amazing and still is," she says. "I'm still being coached."
With a great product and a great plan, Armstrong knows the tastiness of success first hand.