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Creating Change with Cookies: An Inside Look at ‘Bar Down Cookies’ in Clayton Heights Who Support ‘KidSport Vancouver’

article photos by @eatsfromyvr on Instagram

In our most recent blog post article, we get to chat with local entrepreneurs shaking up the cookie scene and having a lot of fun with quality ingredients and selling cookies in squares instead of circles, they eat more like a brownie and taste like cookies made in heaven. Super thick cookies that are hand-made from scratch. A snacker’s dream! Check out the interview below and learn more about the sibling founders. They are also doing charitable community work, too!

Who are you, where do you live, and what do you like about operating your food business?

We are Bar Down Cookies, a brother-sister cookie company that’s known for making cookies that drive change. I’m Kayla and together with my brother, Brayden, we co-own this venture. We’re based in Clayton Heights, a place we’ve called home for the last 15 years. What we appreciate most about our food business is the positive influence we can wield on the community via our donation-focused model and the joy we derive from watching people relish our cookies!

How did you get started with making products and what are some useful tips for those who want to get started?

Our journey with Bar Down Cookies began when I, Kayla, started baking during my university weekend breaks as a stress reliever. Brayden didn’t get to see me much, so he’d keep me company. Soon enough, Brayden joined me in baking. From there, we resolved to convert our baking hobby into something that could positively affect our local community. We’ve always wanted to own a business and we were keen on including a charitable aspect to it. Thus, Bar Down Cookies seemed like the perfect venture for us to pursue this dream. If you’re considering starting your own business, I suggest planning out your ‘mile-markers’ to maintain clarity about your objectives.

What are the products that you offer from your home and where can people buy them?

Our specialty is cookie bars, fondly referred to as ‘rookies’. These cookie bars are the perfect blend of a cookie and a brownie, offering the crispy golden-brown edges of a brownie and the soft, gooey delight of cookie dough. Currently, our cookies are available for sale via our online order form for pickup/delivery. Additionally, we participate in markets throughout the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley. Keep an eye on our Instagram updates to know when we’ll be at a market near you!

What are the benefits of buying from you?

Supporting Bar Down Cookies allows you to indulge in our irresistible cookie bars while also helping children and youth in your local community engage in sports despite financial limitations. Our business is wholly themed around hockey. We donate a portion of our profits to KidSport Vancouver, thus enabling children and youth from Vancouver to Chilliwack to participate in sports. Brayden and I were privileged to have plenty of athletic opportunities when we were younger. Acknowledging the multiple benefits sports bring to developing self-confidence and communication skills, we decided to extend these opportunities to local children and youth who might be hindered by financial barriers.

How are they different from products that other people might be selling?

Our cookies are unique ‘brookies,’ a perfect amalgamation of a cookie and a brownie. They boast of the golden-brown crispy edges that are characteristic of a brownie, while preserving the soft, ooey-gooey interior of cookie dough. Our cookies are denser, making them softer and more flavorful than a regular cookie. We’ve spent over 40 hours on recipe development to ensure our cookie bars are simply irresistible. Besides, our complete hockey theme sets us apart. Our fun-filled hockey puns are sure to amuse you, and we donate a percentage of our profits to KidSport Vancouver, facilitating local children and youth’s participation in sports when facing financial constraints. So, whether you’re purchasing one of our ‘Hall of Famers’ (classic chocolate chip) or a ‘Hat Trick’ (pack of 3 cookies), we guarantee you’ll enjoy our signature cookie bars while supporting your local community.

What are they made of?

All our cookie bars are made from our signature cookie dough base, with unique mix-ins for each flavor. We offer s’mores flavors with marshmallows, milk chocolate, and graham crackers. For chocolate lovers, we have a treat! Our ‘Cross Bar’ is a chocolate brownie-like cookie dough with milk, dark, and white chocolate chips. We offer six carefully curated flavors crafted to deliver melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness.

What are the benefits of operating a small home-based food business for yourself and/or your family?

I’m a full-time student at UBC, majoring in psychology with an aspiration to pursue a career as a trauma counselor. Bar Down Cookies has allowed me to support my community and continue my studies in a fulfilling and joyful manner. For Brayden, it has served as a testament to his capabilities and provided a highly rewarding experience to know that we’re positively influencing the local community with the help of our amazing Bar Down Cookies community. Our family takes pleasure in the experiences we share as we bake, learn, and enjoy the new experiences that present themselves. Bar Down Cookies has truly transformed our lives, and we’re immensely grateful for the past, present, and future support we have received.

Who are some small business owners who inspire you to get better and try new things?

One of my good friends inspired us to take the leap of launching Bar Down Cookies. She has continuously motivated me to set and achieve new goals, reminding me that success isn’t always a straight line. Our parents have also been incredibly supportive, encouraging us to embrace new adventures. They’ve always emphasized that if we’re passionate about something, we should undoubtedly pursue it.

What is the one main life lesson that running your own business has taught you about yourself?

The main lesson I’ve learned from running my own business is the importance of maintaining calm and understanding my capabilities when things go awry. Mistakes, errors, and problems are inevitable. Hence, it’s crucial to devise methods that help you manage them effectively and pivot as necessary.

Outside of your business, what do you get up to for fun in your personal time?

I (Kayla) find joy in hiking, camping, playing sports, and hanging out with friends. These activities provide me with peace and grounding amid life’s busyness. Brayden enjoys restoring classic cars to their former glory and spending time with friends. As social beings, we spend a considerable amount of our time with friends and family.

For more info, follow @BarDownCookies on Instagram

Wild Bluebell Homestead is a charming hobby farm located in Abbotsford that offers a range of hand-made artisanal products, curated vintage furniture, sourdough bread, and other homemade items. The homestead is dedicated to creating unique and high-quality products that are beautiful, functional, and long-lasting, plus each item is carefully crafted with attention to detail. Customers can expect a warm and welcoming experience and a range of products that are perfect for adding a touch of rustic charm to any home.

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