Exclusive Interview with Owner of Gourmet Cookie Brand Maya’s Cookies
Mercy For Animals is thrilled to announce our new partnership program, ChooseVeg Partners! Each month, we will highlight the incredible work of a small Black-owned company making amazing vegan products. We couldn’t be more excited to announce our very first partner—Maya’s Cookies—during Black History Month!
Maya Madsen founded her gourmet cookie company, Maya’s Cookies, in 2015. Driven by a desire to create the perfect soft-baked vegan cookie, she took her time crafting award-winning desserts that can be shipped across the country. Maya currently lives in San Diego, where she is inspired by her travels, memories, and experiences to create new, exciting cookie flavors.
We were lucky enough to speak with Maya and have her answer a few of our burning questions. See what she had to say!
What first interested you in plant-based eating?
Working in the fitness industry for nearly 30 years, I was always mindful of nutrition and trying to improve the quality of my diet. I wanted to look and feel good. But there was more to it. As a Black woman, I was very aware of the heart disease that plagues my community. And as I researched, I became increasingly aware of factory farming and the horrendous conditions, treatment of animals, and impact on the environment. I was just disgusted. I knew that veganism was the right choice on so many levels.
What inspired you to create Maya’s Cookies?
As a vegan with a sweet tooth, I was always looking for that decadent soft-baked cookie for my cheat days but just couldn’t find what I wanted on the market, so I decided to make my own. Coupled with the fact that as a mother of three Black men, I knew their education was paramount. I was looking for a way to contribute to those daunting college tuition bills.
What do you love most about your company? Do you have a favorite Maya’s Cookies product?
For me, it’s the community that we’ve built. From our amazing customers to my employees that are like family and the community that we are delighted to support, Maya’s Cookies represents social entrepreneurship where our profits are beyond dollars; they also include the impact we can make in people’s lives.
My favorite cookie? Well, I always say, they’re all my favorites! If I don’t love it, I don’t sell it.
What are some of the best ways the vegan community can help small plant-based businesses thrive?
Like it, share it, buy it, review it!
Of course, we’d love to have more customers, so it’s easy to say, “Come buy our cookies!” But there are so many other ways to support plant-based businesses. Tell your friends; leverage your social channels to share our content; or even leave a review for our products, customer service, or our store. It’s amazing how a groundswell of customer support can truly elevate a business. The vegan community is so tight-knit and passionate that their support can truly make a difference in our success.
Do you have any favorite vegan brands you wish more people knew about?
Oh, there are so many! I love Kula Ice Cream—a fellow female, local San Diego artisan maker. The absolutely delicious Notcho Cheez from Mylk Dog. A new family favorite is NUGGS. Frankly, we are all obsessed with spicy NUGGS! I can’t wait until they update their chicken patty with a spicy version (hint, hint). And of course, Vayo Vegan Mayo—that Nashville hot mayo is amazing. We put it on everything.
Do you have any advice for folks interested in starting a vegan business?
Respect and value the vegan community. We are a compassionate, positive, and supportive group. We are not here to tear anyone down but rather lift each other up! Remember, if you have success, reach out and give back. It is so important that we all stay connected. There is plenty of room for everyone.
Is there anything you would like to add?
Yes! The Black vegan community is one of the fastest—if not the fastest—growing demographics. It’s important that the vegan community at large know and recognize that there will be an increased demand for a variety of products. I hope to see an explosion of options in the food business for soul food and culturally significant products. I hope businesses are thinking of brown skin and hair as they create kind hair and skincare products! Let’s commit to breaking down stereotypes around what a vegan looks like and make sure that the products available are inclusive.
It’s so exciting to be part of a kinder, gentler movement, and I hope that no one is left behind.
Anyone else craving cookies? Head over to Maya’s Cookies and place an order today! To celebrate this partnership, as a special gift to you, Maya’s is offering a 10% off coupon for cookies delivered straight to your door. Use the coupon code LOVEANIMALS at checkout any time in February.