Women in Business: Just like grandma used to make

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Oma’s Cookies has big flavor, bigger mission


By Amanda Lillie

What began as a hobby with her mom when she was just two years old has become Brittany Deyo’s gift to the Austin community by way of Oma’s Cookies.

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“We do traditional drop cookies like grandma does,” Deyo said. “It was kind of a hobby that turned into a business. My mom has been baking with me since I was two, so she is the oma.”

Deyo runs Oma’s Cookies out of her home thanks to her cottage baker license, which allows her to sell at markets, community events and directly out of her home.

“It has been an amazing opportunity basically allowing me to test the waters of a full bakery at my home for the future step of a commercial kitchen,” she explained.

And so far, the test has been rather successful.

Since establishing her business in June 2022, Deyo has sold her cookies at Freedom Fest, area farmer’s markets, the Mower County Fair and out of her home.

After selling cookies at the Taste of Nations, she had the idea to expand her flavors to include ingredients inspired by multiple cultures.

“I would say the Taste of Nations really inspired me with that,” she said. “I really made sure to research and ask about the different communities that are present in Austin so we could really represent that.”

Some of her more popular flavors include a Mexican hot chocolate cookie with cayenne pepper and cinnamon and a caramelized banana cookie with coconut cashew and black sesame seeds.

Deyo belongs to online baking groups where she’s been able to connect with bakers around the world, including a woman in Thailand who has sold recipes to her.

At first, her customers were skeptical about some of the new flavors, but Deyo has seen a shift over time in which flavors are in demand.

“As we’ve really established ourselves and shown people we make not only a good cookie but a great cookie, chocolate chip is no longer my top seller and my more out-there flavors really are,” Deyo said.

One of Deyo’s favorite things about Oma’s Cookies is that it gives her the freedom to explore new recipes and new mix-in flavors. She has even baked a Cheeto cookie that didn’t result in complete tastebud catastrophe.

“I was really hesitant,” she laughed, “but it ended up tasting amazing.”

Deyo admits that sometimes trying new things results in disaster, but she enjoys looking back and seeing how much her baking has improved over time.

Right now, Deyo has what she calls a “mini storefront” in the porch of her home with a chair and some books. When a customer arrives, they call or text their order into Deyo using the phone number posted on the porch and are welcome to relax with a book while they wait for their order to be ready.

Customers can choose from the available flavors of the day (usually about 13 of them) or custom order 48 hours in advance at www.omashomebakedcookies.com.

As Oma’s Cookies becomes more of a household name locally, Deyo’s ultimate goal is to open a small brick and mortar shop that is known beyond Austin for its delicious cookies and unique flavors.

“Like Betty’s Pies up north,” Deyo said. “We’re not going to be nationwide. It’s going to be about family and creating a safe space for workers.”

Oma’s Cookies eventual mission, Deyo said, is to provide a safe workplace for the LGBTQ+ community.

“I really want to take my time and set it up right and make sure the LGBTQ+ community has a safe place to work and equal pay and equal benefits like everybody else,” Deyo said. “The LGBTQ+ community does not have to say they need safety; it’s our job as allies to make that space for them.”

When Deyo imagines her ideal storefront, it includes a small consignment area inside the shop where her future employees can sell their own goods.

“Then people we hire can expand on their own craft and maybe create their own business someday while working with us,” she said. “I think there’s still a lot more work that we need to do, and I’m really excited to be able to use my privilege that I have in the community … to be a voice for those who shouldn’t have to speak for themselves.”