Meet Zenobia Dewely, a proud wife and mother of three who runs "Zenobia's Sweet Tooth" from her Brooklynhome.
What is it that you do for a living?
I am the owner of Zenobia's Sweet Tooth, a baking company that specializes in cookies, breads, and muffins. Customers enjoy my creative cookies, including peanut butter and Jelly, chocolate chip Twix, Red Velvet and oatmeal raisin coconut varieties. I also offer gluten and sugar-free banana nut breads – with or without nuts and coconut. Special orders are made for those who like things a bit simpler.
My day starts starts most times at 5 a.m. and consists of prayer time, prepare time, getting my young children off to school, baking the goods, shipping and hand delivering the goods, attending daytime shows, volunteering/donating my services and goods, developing and establishing relationships with cafe owners, and fundraising for youth programs at my church. I do a lot! A fun part of my week is what I call my "celebrity scope" – this is a time when I hit the streets of New York to see what celebrities I can find to offer them a cookie. I have been nicknamed "The Crazy Cookie Lady", because I am so passionate about my lip-smacking treats and giving back to those who work tirelessly to entertain all of us in one way or the other. As they make people feel good by using their gifts, I want my cookies to return the favor.
Describe the absolute coolest part of your workday.
I really enjoy attending daytime TV shows. Sharing my cookies with the hosts, their audiences, and their staff really makes me smile. It gives me an opportunity to meet new people regularly and it thrills me to watch strangers enjoying my treats! Social media allows me to meet and chat with new people and I love when they respond to how my cookies affect them. I would have never had the opportunity to meet and greet so many people, had it not been for my cookies, so I feel really blessed and grateful. Sherri Shepherd absolutely raves about my gluten and sugar free banana bread. Martha Stewart has enjoyed my treats as well, Rachel Ray says they're delicious, and I have had the pleasure of baking for 7-Time Grammy award winning singer, Al Jarreau. I would have never thought my dreams would take me here, so this journey has been extremely exciting!
Was this always what you wanted to do? Did you pursue this sort of work while in school? How did you become what you are today?
Absolutely not! I wanted to be a journalist, but after I got married, I saw how much my hubby enjoy the soft-batch Keebler cookies. I started experimenting and my passion for baking hit the roof! I began passing them out and the rest is history.
Oprah once said that at her core, she is a teacher. What do you consider yourself to be at your core?
I really see myself as what I call a "body builder". What I mean by that is, that I really enjoy elevating, building, and inspiring people. I am most giddy when I see someone who has benefited from my words of encouragement. My cookies give me an opportunity to connect with people, which in turn leads to a listening and/or chat session. For as much as I have a cookie business, I make it a priority to build people- mind body and soul. It's what I do and who I am.
What are some initial reactions when people find out what you do? What do they say? What are their expressions?
Well, when I first started out, I heard, "The economy is bad", The food industry always fails", "I don't think it's a good idea to quit your day time job", and "Are you crazy?" Now, some of those same people tell me how proud they are and how delicious my treats are. They often wonder, how I thought to put a Kit Kat or Snicker in a cookie. Whatever the case, they have found that I am a crazy cookie lady – crazy about baking and living out my purpose. Of course, my all time favorite response is, "Can I order more? People are undoubtedly amazed, excited, and satisfied with my treats.
Any advice to someone considered in going into your line of work?
All things are possible if you dream, move into action and believe!