We had the good fortune of connecting with Danni McDonald and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Danni, what do you attribute your success to?
I feel like the most important factor behind my success and the success of Red Shed Cookie Co. is building relationships. I have built relationships through events I have sold cookies at, the classes I teach, and even through social media. For example, I hosted a cookie booth at our town farmers market one weekend, and met a girl named Amy who asked about gluten-free options. We became connected through Facebook and realized we knew a lot of the same people. She has since taken two of my cookie decorating classes and now we are training to run a half marathon together. I never dreamed that this small business would help me form new friendships, but it surely has in many ways.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I work as a project manager for an amazing company during the day, and my cookie business takes shape on evenings, early mornings, and weekends. It is a lot of work, but I am lucky that I am able to do it out of my own home. My cookie classes that I call “Cookies & Cocktails” are the main part of my income, and they are also my favorite part. I get to meet new people, invite them into my space for 2-3 hours, teach them a new skill, maybe have a glass of wine with them, and really get to know them. I have made friends through my cookie decorating classes. I have many repeat attendees just because they love the welcoming space and environment that I have created. I am just now, two years after I started, learning to balance my day job, Red Shed Cookie Co., and time with my family. The first year was not easy because I really overextended myself! This was my greatest challenge starting out. Starting and growing this business has taught me important lessons in self care, organization, and using a calendar RELIGOUSLY. I plan things months in advance now to ensure I don’t get burnt out. I want everyone to have the best parts of me as much as possible including my husband, daughters, friends, extended family, and my customers! I want the world to know that crazy ideas and dreams can absolutely become a reality, but it probably won’t be easy. Red Shed Cookie Co. is a product of a crazy dream, supportive family and friends, and an unbelievably amazing customer base.
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.
In the Brazosport area where I am located, there are so many amazing small businesses and experiences to check out. I would start by taking my friend to Stardust Art & Coffee House. Their coffee is amazing, the vibe is refreshing, and the art is phenomenal. If you can catch an art class taught by the owner, DO IT! Lola is an amazing art instructor and has created an amazing space for people to get lost in. Next, I would eat lunch at Bodega in downtown Lake Jackson. They are this unique little eatery/corner store with outdoor seating and amazing sandwiches and eats. For dinner you might check out The Fill Station for some amazing cocktails, barbeque and usually live music. Another food option would be Poly Pop, a fun Tiki Bar and restaurant that offers delicious Ramen bowls and tropical drinks. Their brunch options are AMAZING and they even have a Fruity Pebbles waffle that is fantastic.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Two former coworkers and friends of mine named Charlotte Bell and Mayra Gonzalez invited me to a cookie decorating class in October of 2019 (right before the pandemic). I begrudgingly accepted their offer and tagged along. After years of helping my grandma bake and decorate cakes, piping royal icing came sort of naturally to me. I enjoyed the class so much. After the class, I practiced baking and decorating for family and friends. My first two paid orders came from two other coworkers named Treasa Barta and Paulette Howard. I couldn’t believe I actually sold my own cookies! I realized I wanted to start my own cookie decorating business at this point! My husband, Bryan, was my biggest cheerleader and helped me decide on a official name as well as remodel our Red Shed in the backyard. Charlotte (still two years later) has a standing monthly order of a dozen cookies because she loves me and my little business so much. When I told Charlotte of my dream of redoing the shed on the back of our property to host cookie decorating classes, she said “I want to be in your first class!” And of course, she was. I have a special little group of encouragers that make Red Shed what it is today.