Fourteen-year-old Jordan Johnson removes fresh cookies from a baking sheet on Friday in Buford. At the age of 8, she began baking cookies and selling them online and at local farmers markets under the name of Jordan’s Cookies. (Staff Photos: David Welker)
A Suwanee teenager runs her own business, selling Jordan’s Cookies online and at the Suwanee Farmers Market.
SUWANEE — Fourteen-year-old Jordan Johnson pulls a large pan of chocolate chip cookies from the oven and begins to transfer them to a cooling rack. As she works she thinks of her grandfather, who was a chef and inspired her love of cooking.
“When I was younger, I always watched him while he cooked big meals for the family,” Jordan said, “so cooking has always been a passion of mine.”
Since Jordan loves to be in the kitchen — her mother says she’s always been a little “cookie monster” — she decided to start her own company, Jordan’s Cookies.
Jordan’s Cookies is just what it sounds like — the company offers a variety of handmade cookies, made fresh using organic, non-GMO and natural ingredients. Jordan bakes her cookies the old-fashioned way and takes pride in using real, unsalted butter, farm free-range eggs and locally sourced flour.
She started the company six years ago online at jordanscookies.com and continues to do the majority of business through the website. She has a growing email list, a blog and corporate accounts, including cookie displays for RE/MAX open houses.
This summer Jordan’s Cookies opened a booth at the Suwanee Farmers Market on Saturday mornings, where Jordan gets a chance to interact with customers and answer questions.
“It’s been good for her,” said Dorrin Johnson, Jordan’s father. “It allows her to be face to face with the customers, which is important because it helps her develop people skills. She can talk to people and communicate her message and then hear where they’re coming from.”
The company’s namesake does most of the work herself, including all of the baking, but she also has help and support from her family.
Her grandmother, Betty Hobson, and little brother, Ian Johnson, help package and label the cookies (about 100) for every Saturday market. The entire family also wears Jordan’s Cookies T-shirts and help work the booth at the market.
Jordan’s parents, Dorrin and Crystal, own their own business — Sanjika Worldwide, a digital marketing agency. They’ve used their experience to help Jordan and teach her how to market the business. But Crystal said they have been careful not to just do everything for their daughter, preferring for her to learn to handle the business herself.
“It’s good for her to do things herself and learn about business,” Crystal said. “That way when she gets to the point that she can hire, she’ll know exactly how to do things and what to tell employees.”
Unlike some teenagers who work in hopes of buying a car or shopping for clothes, Jordan says she isn’t in it for the money. She thinks it’s important to give back, so 10 percent of the profits go to her church, Gwinnett Church, and 10 percent go es to different organizations of her choice. She puts the rest back into the business or into savings for college
“My motivation isn’t to get something in return,”Jordan said. “It’s to get my product out so people can enjoy it.”
Jordan is getting ready to start her freshman year at North Gwinnett High School and plans to try out for the volleyball team. With the rigors of high school and extracurricular activities, she isn’t sure if she’ll have time to continue selling at the Suwanee Farmers Market. However, customers will still be able to place orders on the website, and Jordan has a few new recipes in the works, like an apple pie cookie for the fall and a peppermint cookie with candy canes on top for Christmas.
The teenager hopes her business will continue to grow and maybe even become a franchise, but she doesn’t want to limit herself to just the cookie business.
“My parents have always taught me that you don’t have to do just one thing in life, so I would love to try something else, too. I like to play tennis and volleyball,” Jordan said. “I want to pursue that, not professionally but maybe in college. I also focus on my education. I just want to always do something that I love.”
Jordan’s advice for people dreaming of starting a business but scared to take the plunge is to “just go for it.”
“It’s worth the risk than not doing it at all,” she said, “because it’s better to do something that you love doing.”
14-year-old Jordan Johnson, a freshman at North Gwinnett, has had some big dreams. Currently, she is chasing a delicious one that she hopes to turn into the "Starbucks of Cookies".