August is Black Owned Business Month, where Black businesses and Black entrepreneurs are recognized and celebrated for their growth, successes, and milestones. We’re proud to celebrate the local Black-owned businesses in our communities this month and every month.
Bee J’s Cookies, a cookie business located in Washington D.C. adds twists to timeless cookie recipes. From classic chocolate chip to double chocolate chunk, one bite of their cookies will have you wanting seconds.
Although Bee J’s Cookies started during the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, the business has had tremendous success and growth over the past year. Andrea and Bryant spoke with us about their company, tips for other business owners, and what it’s like having a business in Union Market.
Hi! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, your company, and how it got started?
We’re Andrea O’Neal and Bryant Jones, the co-founders of Bee J’s Cookies! We like to say that Bryant, our baker, doesn’t have a sweet tooth — he has sweet teeth! A military kid, Bryant grew up baking in the kitchen with his grandma, Sweetie, whenever his mom was deployed overseas. Andrea is one of five kids and the kitchen has always been the center of her childhood home. We started Bee J’s Cookies because we believe in the convening power of food.
What is Bee J’s mission?
Our mission is to make quality sweet treats worth a second helping. We believe that taste buds don’t lie. With that in mind, we hope to keep customers coming back!
How has your business grown and changed over time?
We started our business in April 2020, at the onset of the pandemic. At that time we were only e-commerce. Now, we offer food service and shelf-stable products for retail as well as distribution. We are doing a few pop-ups in the near future and our corporate clients have expanded this past year, which is a vertical we hadn’t thought about.
If you had to pick just one, what cookie would you recommend to a first-time customer?
We’d recommend the Old Fashioned Chocolate Chip cookie. It’s our take on the classic chocolate chip cookie.
Do you have any tips for other first-time business owners?
Trust your instincts, believe in your business, and don’t compare yourself to other business owners who seem to be moving faster than you are. Sometimes when you’re meeting with investors or other people in your specific industry, they may try to tell you what you’re doing is wrong when that’s not necessarily the case. Trust your instincts and if you’ve studied your market, keep doing what you’re doing! If you don’t believe in your business, no one else will.
You both live in Union Market — what do you love about the neighborhood? Do you have any favorite local spots?
We love the fact that everything is so accessible. Trader Joe’s is downstairs from our apartment. The NOMA metro station is a two-minute walk away. We love being able to go downstairs and have access to Union Market, Pluma Bakery, and of course the drink stand made by Serenata. Most weekends we wake up and grab a coffee from Blue Bottle and a morning bun from Pluma.
What do you love most about owning a business in Washington D.C.?
D.C. is very much a “foodie” town, so people are usually open to trying items from new places. We love that D.C. is so welcoming to small business owners and people are actually committed to shopping local. That creates a lot of opportunities for a small business owner.
Thank you, Andrea and Bryant — we’re craving dessert now! If you’d like to try their delicious cookies for yourself, you can place an order on their website.
August is coming to an end, but we’re proud to support and highlight Black-owned businesses year-round. To discover more amazing local businesses across our communities check out our Local Highlights section on our blog.