We had the good fortune of connecting with Maya Madsen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maya, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I was in the fitness industry for nearly thirty years and on my “cheat” days, I couldn’t find what I was looking for on the market. I just wanted a crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside gourmet cookie. As a vegan with a sweet tooth, I decided to craft my own recipes. Over the years, I would bring those cookies to my kids’ events, fundraisers and so on and other parents would ask me to bake for them! I have three sons and two of them were in college at the same time and I was faced with those double tuition bills. I knew I needed to find a way to contribute to their education. So I started Maya’s Cookies!
What should our readers know about your business?
I am so proud to call myself a successful black-owned, female-owned business owner. It certainly has not been easy but I love that now I am able to connect and mentor others in my community and be an example of hard work and perseverance. I was thankful to have mentors of my own that helped push me through some of those hard times as that support has been so critical. Key lessons include: KNOWING your business. KNOW your numbers. Be on top of it! Know when to call in an expert, but also trust your gut. I would want the world to know that you can be a successful business owner as well as a responsible and proactive member of your community. It’s very important to remember to reach back and lift others up.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, San Diego has so much to offer! I love my city and enjoying the sites and sounds. Some of my favorite eateries include: Cafe Gratitude, Spoiled Vegans Cafe, and Yasai, Yasai is definitely my go to for something special! I’m a very active person and being able to be outside and soak in our beautiful beaches whether I’m hiking or just strolling is just my happy place. I’d have to say my favorite area to frequent is Cardiff. If I want a fun little movie night, I’d have to bring my friend to The Lot in La Jolla. It’s a gorgeous luxury cinema! Since my business really grew up in the Farmer’s Markets, I really love walking around Little Italy on a Saturday. It’s so fun to discover and enjoy the vendors there. From the art to the food, and all the wonderful people! Tourists and locals alike. I ALWAYS find something new. And of course, I have to bring them to Maya’s Cookies! What’s a trip to San Diego without one of my cookies? Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have to give a shout out to my LINKS sisters! The Links, Incorporated is an international, not-for-profit corporation that consists of more than 16,000 professional women of African descent. It is one of the nation’s oldest and largest volunteer service organizations of extraordinary women. Their support system has been everything to me. It’s a team of sister wives. If I need anything, if I call, they will pool their resources to help support me. Emotionally, professionally…and so much more! It’s such a good feeling to have a group of women that you feel like are your biggest fans. In fact, Kamala Harris is an honorary LINKS sister!
Most photos (headshots and cookies) are: Kinda Arzon https://www.instagram.com/kindaarzonphotography/ Photos of the storefront: Matthew Turner Additional photos: Candace Brenner