Favorable Treats is a cookie company and social impact venture.
Favorable Treats has a mission to let families across the country enjoy warm cookies in safe homes. They produce and sell pre-portioned cookie dough. A percentage of their profits goes towards dating and domestic violence awareness and prevention.
The founder of Favorable Treats, Junita Flowers grew up in a large family with seven brothers and sisters. Her mother and grandmother cooked and baked together. Junita says “The majority of my best childhood memories were spent in the kitchen.”
In 2006, while staying home with her two small children, she began to experiment with cookie recipes. It reconnected her to her youth where she had enjoyed helping her mother and grandmother bake cookies. Her friends started to ask for the cookies. Then friends of friends. Soon, she had an inkling that she could launch a cookie business.
She enrolled in a 16-week business development program at the Neighborhood Development Center. To test her business, she sold cookies at Farmers’ Markets. At first, she baked cookies in her home kitchen as her children took naps. It took a year before she rented space in a commercial kitchen. A short time later, she moved to a second kitchen that also provided a retails space. For all appearances, her business was well on its way. But that’s not the end of the story.
Junita married in 2001. By the time she started her business, Favorable Treats in 2006; she says that she was in a “toxic and abusive marriage.” Junita had worked for more than 20 years in nonprofits, including working in a shelter for women who had to flee domestic violence. She was very familiar with domestic violence and the steps to keep safe. And yet, she adapted to the situation. “There was this internal shame of ‘oh my gosh, how did I get here?’” In the chaos of her marriage, Junita ended her business. Still, she says that “I always knew I was going to come back to it.”
Situations like the one Junita faced are too common. On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. Forty-three percent of dating college women report experiencing violent and abusive behaviors. Even in high school, nearly 1.5 million US students experience physical abuse from a dating partner every year.
Junita re-started her cookie business in 2012, but in the meantime, she also invited her former spouse back into her home. The abuse continued, and Junita struggled to keep the business going. At one point, as Junita was trying to grow her business, she shared her challenges with her husband. He replied coldly, “Junita, I don’t believe in you. I don’t believe in your business. Nor do you have the skill, talent, or ability run your business.”
Instead of being defeated, Junita says, “I knew at that moment that I couldn’t quit. To get back the confidence I needed in myself, I needed a stretch goal.” Junita signed up for the 2013 New York City Marathon, even though she had never run more than three miles. And, to make the goal even harder, she ran the marathon as a fundraiser for a women’s shelter.
It took her many, many weeks of training and fundraising to reach her goal. On the evening before the marathon, Junita was still short of her fundraising goal. As she sat in Olive Garden loading up on carbs, she received notification that a generous donor had pushed her across her goal. “In that moment, I realized that you’re always in a position to give. And if you work really hard, you will reach success.” She says of her business “That’s the moment when I knew I had to make it bigger than what it was.”
Favorable Treats started as a straightforward cookie company. The social mission came later. Junita says “That give-back piece, that part of making my community stronger, has always been part of who I am.” In 2016, they started “Project Home-Aid,” giving a portion of their profits to dating and domestic violence awareness and prevention. “It was a way for me to say, that not only are our cookies made, in the concept of homemade cookie dough, but our cookie dough is now providing aid to homes so that they can be safer.”
Junita summarizes what she has learned like this. “Purpose is who you are. Passion is what you do. Clarity is what you find, only through active pursuit. The only way you’ll figure out any of this, is by pursuing it.”
Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Junita Flowers
“I did not start it as a business. I did it as an outlet.”
“It’s amazing how you just adapt.”
“I knew my cookies were more than just a desert. I wanted to do more.”
“That’s the moment when I knew I had to make it bigger than what it was.”
“I know it’s not just a cookie company producing cookies. There’s meaning behind it.”
“It was just sort of this epiphany. All of a sudden the pieces came together.”
Social Entrepreneurship Resources:
- Favorable Treats: https://www.favorabletreats.com/
- Favorable Treats on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/favorabletreats
- Favorable Treats on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FavorableTreats
- Junita Flowers on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JunitaLFlowers