We had the good fortune of connecting with Robyn Frank and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Robyn, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
My Mom, Barb used to make these tiny cookies when I was growing up. They were her signature dessert and it was one of my favorite memories from growing up. Spending time with my mom in the kitchen early in the morning and learning how to measure all of the ingredients. When I got older, I realized how smart my mom was by making TINY bite sized cookies. My mom always says, people don’t need a lot of sweets. They just need a bite! I started Thumbs Cookies out of my apartment in Brooklyn, NY when I was trying to be an actress but was truly a great cocktail waitress. I wanted to create something that was my own. I wanted to be my own boss and I wanted to do something that meant something to me. Those memories of making cookies with my Mom were the only thing I needed to guide me towards something meaningful. Also, I LOVE cookies! I will eat almost any chocolate chip cookie and love every minute of it. There’s just something so satisfying about cookies! See? I will go on and on. So, here I am-making cookies for a living. And I still eat the chocolate chip ones when I’m in great need of a cookie fix. Not great for my profit margin-but super important for my soul.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Honestly, I feel pretty ordinary. I bake tiny butter cookies like so many other people out there that love to bake and sell their wares. I guess the only thing I could think of is perseverance. I think an ultimate refusal to give up. Even when things have been at their hardest- like not selling enough product, learning. how to mass produce, hiring people, getting rejected by people and loan applications. learning the hard way about bad contracts, shipping many packages of crumbled cookies… these are just a few of the things that I’ve encountered over the years. So many of these moments have resulted in tears, embarrassment, frustration, and moments of almost giving up. But there’s some strange voice that tells me to just keep going. To deal with the feelings of it all and then get to work on problem solving. Because that’s what I do best. I take my creativity and my perseverance and just keep going. That’s all I can say. Other than that, I just make cookies like lots of other people.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Minneapolis is especially charming in the summer. So, let’s just say it’s July and it’s not COVID??? Monday: Walk around my neighborhood Lake Nokomis. Grab a coffee and walk around the Lake. Then stop at Italian Eatery’s bar for a light dinner or snack. Tuesday: Hit up The Walker Art Center and Sculpture Garden. Maybe do some miniature golfing on site. Grab drinks at Esker Grove and then walk over to Burch Pizza for dinner. If we need ice cream, we can walk across the street to Sabastian Joe’s for their Oreo flavor! Wednesday: Bike ride around downtown and North East. Head to misfit coffee truck for some coffee. Take the bridge over to St. Anthony Main. Have some beers at Aster Cafe. Head back to North Loop and get dinner at Spoon and Stable bar. Thursday: I suppose we would have to make a quick stop at The Mall of America just to see it- but it’s not my favorite place. Then, it’s off to the Pizza Farm! Head to Two Ponies for fresh pizza, carriage rides and wine! This is one of my favorite things to do in the summer in MN! Friday: We need to see St. Paul and the Mississippi. Head to Bread and Chocolate on Grand or Cafe Latte? Can’t decide. Then head to Lowertown for some walking/shopping and then head to some overlooks of the river. Grab drinks at Revival and then Head to St Paul Hotel for some dinner. Back to Mpls for Vegas Lounge for karaoke. Saturday: Start with the Mill City Farmers Market. My favorite. Breakfast sandwiches and coffee there and then head down to river for some hiking. Maybe come back up to North Loop for some shopping and some ice cream from Izzy’s. Dinner back in my hood at Sea Salt. Go see the waterfall after dinner and hike down to river over there. Sunday: fresh cinnamon rolls and coffee at Isles Bun and Coffee or Black Walnut. I seriously can’t decide on the bakery right now because they are both amazing. Head to Lake of the Isles for paddle boarding! Grab lunch at Rustica. We have spent all of our money and energy so maybe we hang out at home on Sunday night for Netflix and Chill!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would say Barb (My Mom) hands down! My mom would have been an amazing inspirational speaker or coach. She just naturally encouraged both me and my sister to become the best versions of ourselves. Even in our darkest moments, she is always the one to bring hope and positivity to what we are attempting to accomplish. Long story short, her belief in us has allowed both me and my sister to believe in ourselves. I also want to include my Dad in this as well. My Dad has always been tough on me but he also taught both me and my sister that we can do anything regardless of our gender or position in life. He has always taught us that independence is our most important asset. I’m lucky to have 2 people that have been there along with me on this journey. There have been a lot of moments of wanting to close my doors, being down to almost no money, getting into difficult situations, making big mistakes and yet-they are always there to tell me to keep going. They have never once accepted my feelings of failure or surrender.

Website: www.thumbscookies.com
Instagram: @thumbscookies
Linkedin: Thumbs Cookies
Twitter: thumbscookies
Facebook: Thumbs Cookies by Robyn Frank

Image Credits
Robyn Frank, owner/founder of Thumbs Cookies in Mpls, MN photo taken by Russell Heeter

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