Karen Cappetta launched Angels & Cookies in 2016, and her company makes gourmet cookie dough specially formulated to be enjoyed by everyone, particularly including those who have food intolerances or allergies.
After a varied career that’s included time working in the film industry, being a jazz singer and publishing a children’s book, Karen decided that her future lay in baking.
Before she launched her business, Karen had already been a keen baker for family and friends for many years. And not just any baking – she was an early adopter of making cakes and pastries using only non-allergenic ingredients, avoiding gluten, wheat, dairy and nuts. Here first cake made along those lines was for her daughter’s second birthday.
Karen’s Italian-American background meant that the pleasures of food and sharing meals together were at the heart of her childhood experience, with fond memories of warm, homemade cookies fresh from the oven. And it was that joy and pleasure that inspired her to start her business.
“I wanted to create cookies and cakes that were just as delicious as the best, but without any of the ingredients that so many people find difficult for health reasons,” says Karen. “With my cookie mix, everyone can join in and enjoy the cookies even if they have food allergies or intolerances. Plus, I just love baking!”
“It took a lot of experimentation to find the right ingredients to substitute for traditional items. It has also been a lot of work to find suppliers that can guarantee their ingredients are not tainted by things like nuts or gluten. My mission is to show that the preconception that allergen free cakes won’t taste as good is completely wrong.
“I previously had a business called the Heavenly Baker making allergen-free cakes, but I wanted to take the business to another level and that’s where the Portobello Business Centre came in. I saw one of the business advisors there, Maria Stammers and she recommended that I go on the MyLifeMix course led by Sarah-Jane Menato. That was a nine-week course with one day each week, specifically aimed at women who wanted to launch a business.
“The course was just what I needed. It dealt with all key aspects of setting up your own business such as business planning, marketing, finances and paper work. Sarah-Jane was brilliant, very practical and very supportive.
“Maria was also a huge help to me, she absolutely understood what I was trying to do. She really believed in me and that helped to boost my confidence in my business idea. It can be a scary step to take, setting up your own business, but Maria made it much easier.
“Currently, I’m producing and selling via my website (address below) three allergen-free cookie dough flavours, chocolate fudge, chocolate chip and ginger and spice. For the future, I’d like to branch out into products like cake, muffin, pancake and pastry mixes, and I’ll be looking for new retail outlets. I’ll certainly be continuing to make use of advice and help from the Business Centre as my business develops.”
Angels & Cookies