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Kira's Cookies Finds Sweet Success

Mon, 03/11/2024 - 14:34
Kira Lipp had been baking gluten and other allergen-free cookies for a few years before starting her business.

There's a new cookie in town, but if you follow the Kardashians at all, you probably already knew that. 

Kira Lipp, who was diagnosed with gluten, soy, and dairy allergies when she was 18, never found a cookie that addressed her allergies that actually tasted good. 

Last August, while still working in financial services, she began transforming her hobby -- developing and baking new allergen-free recipes for friends and family -- into a business in the form of Kira's Cookies, which are baked in Amagansett. By September, Kourtney Kardashian had posted her cookies on an Instagram story. 

"I was such a new business, I didn't even have a website," she recalled. But she received hundreds of messages, some of which turned into orders, and weekly customers that she still has seven months later.

"Out of the 700 messages that I received, I probably received 699 kind supportive messages." Although she was already in farmers markets and some stores, she realized she needed a website to deal with a national demand for her product.

"At the time, I had no idea what I was doing, and in the first couple of weeks of it they posted. It was just an influx of support and business." Around three months ago she left her full-time job to focus solely on the company.

Her mother was a pastry chef, and she grew up around baking, but it wasn't until a couple of years ago that she thought about baking herself. A decade had passed since her diagnosis, and she realized all of the cookies she had tried in those years had been bad. "There was always a graininess, there was always an artificial flavor, they were always too sweet."

She began developing and adjusting recipes, using herself and her family as a guide. "It got to a point where I was feeling very confident in my recipes. I reached out to the farmers markets . . . and they took a chance on me." When she sold out in her first couple of appearances, she knew she was on to something. 

Balsam Farms in Amagansett now sells her products during the season and Bonfire Coffee House began selling her cookies a few weeks ago. Vicki's Veggies in Amagansett will sell the cookies this year. In addition to catering clients, she's in discussions with other potential local vendors. In the city, she is partnering with Nadas Empanadas on a dessert empanada. She offers local delivery as well.

This week, she began selling a high protein (five grams per slice) seeded bread that is gluten-free, vegan, and nut-free. She said it took about seven or eight months to perfect it. "I just had a piece this morning for breakfast. It's absolutely delicious. And it holds for a sandwich and holds for toast. And you just don't find that often. You really, really don't."

Why has she found success so quickly in a category that is rapidly growing? Aside from her trade secrets, which she is not giving away, she said it had a lot to do with her ingredients. Her cookies are anywhere from 90 to 95 percent organic and she gives small businesses preference. "I actually went through probably upwards of two dozen brands before finding the ones that I wanted to stick with."

Kira's Cookies' chocolate fudge flavor is velvety rich and the star of the new gluten, dairy, and soy-free bakery line..

She doesn't use preservatives, which means a shorter shelf life for her product, but she said it's worth it. There are no additives either. "You know what you're eating and you know that everything you're putting in your body is clean. That's a big thing for me."

The star of her business is the chocolate fudge cookie. "It's a very velvety rich, small almost cake-like cookie. It is the most fudgy experience on the inside with a little bit of a crunch on the outside, and it melts in your mouth." Less than 10 ingredients go into it, but she said they are the best ingredients, which makes them pricey but worth it. "I wanted to produce a cookie that actually tasted delicious and didn't sacrifice anything."

Her other flavors are classic chocolate chip, oatmeal chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin, as well as matcha white chocolate chip. She does not add nuts to her baked products, but stressed that her baking facility is not considered nut-free. 

Thinking back on her journey so far, she said it all stemmed from her allergies. "Having an example by way of my mom, I was always very curious about how to cook and bake with my allergies and encourage others." 

Licensed to bake in her home, she will move to a nearby commercial kitchen in May. She is grateful for the support of her friends and family as she learns how to run the business and for "helping me through all the jumps that I needed to get through." She added that it's been "a learning curve for sure. But it's really interesting. . . . I am absolutely enjoying every moment of this."

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