Peace, Love and Cookies in Tulsa
The commercial kitchen inside Family and Children’s Services (F&CS) provides one sweet home for Heather Matheson’s cookie business: Peace, Love and Cookies. There, Matheson is able to spread peace and love to a special group of ladies she employs through the Women in Recovery (WIR) Program facilitated by F&CS. The combination of utilizing the F&CS kitchen for baking along with providing employment to several of the women in the program, who package the treats, has provided a mixture for success.
TK: How long have you been in business?
Matheson: I started Peace, Love and Cookies in my own kitchen three years ago, shortly after the Oklahoma Home Baker’s Act passed. This act allows producers to sell certain types of baked goods from home, but it also has limitations in annual sales.
TK: How did your cookie business begin?
Matheson: I have a master’s degree in Social Work and had worked as a medical social worker for 20 years. I am also a mother to three sons, which has always been my greatest joy. My cookie business idea was born during a time of transition in my life. I realized I wanted meaningful work, but I also wanted to do something that I loved, and that gave me flexibility so that I could be home more with my boys.
TK: What do you love about your job?
Matheson: I have always had a passion for cooking and have very fond childhood memories of baking holiday cookies with my mother. Friends and family members have always loved the cookies I baked from family recipes.
TK: Where did the name of your cookie business originate?
Matheson: With a little help from some of my very smart and talented friends, I came up with the idea of Peace, Love and Cookies, homemade cookies that are baked fresh and delivered the same day, in creative, colorful packaging. My business name is symbolic of my hippy roots. I am also a lover of music, and decided to name each of the cookies after some great tunes.
TK: What kinds of cookies do you offer?
Matheson: I bake 12 varieties of cookies, including lemon bars, vegan organic cookies, and gluten-free cookies. They are delicious homemade cookies with the perfect mix of sweet and salty.
TK: I’m sure your sons enjoy your cookies. What are their favorite flavors?
Matheson: My sons would tell you that the chocolate chip cookies are the best!
TK: What is the Women in Recovery Program and who does it help?
Matheson: Women In Recovery, through Family and Children’s Services, is an intensive outpatient alternative for women facing long prison sentences for non-violent, drug-related offenses. It operates in partnership with the George Kaiser Family Foundation. After learning about WIR, I knew that I wanted to be a part of this program. It is truly special.
TK: What prompted you to get involved in the Women in Recovery program through Family and Children’s Services?
Matheson: After two years of business, I had outgrown my home kitchen and needed to find a licensed, commercial kitchen. I got the word out, and soon after was contacted by Mimi Tarrasch, director of Women In Recovery. She invited me to tour their state-of-the-art kitchen and learn about their program. After several more meetings to work out the logistics, Peace Love and Cookies had a new home!
TK: What percentage of your sales do you donate?
Matheson: I knew that I wanted to create a business that does some good and decided that 10 percent of my sales would be donated to a charity. For the first two years, I gave 10 percent of my sales to OK Center for Community and Justice, Different and the Same program (a child-focused program that helps prevent prejudice). Now, 10 percent of all sales is donated back to WIR.
TK: What opportunities do you offer the WIR who work for you?
Matheson: I employ some of the women in the program to help with packaging. I have the opportunity to mentor the women, which is the most exciting part for me. It is a joy to watch them grow and change in the program. They share their stories with me, and I feel privileged to have a small part in their recovery.
TK: Can you share a success story that has occurred from working with one of the women?
Matheson: I have one employee who has been working with me for almost a year. When she first started working with me, she did not have transportation. I would pick her up at her apartment at 4:30 a.m. and we would head to the kitchen. Several months ago, she purchased her own car with the money she has earned. She now meets me at the kitchen in the morning! Little victories like that make this job incredibly rewarding.
TK: How much advanced notice do you require when placing an order for cookies?
Matheson: I require one day’s notice for orders. Since the kitchen is a central part of the WIR program during the day, I bake and package the cookies very early in the morning and then deliver them. I deliver primarily in midtown and downtown Tulsa, but will travel further for larger orders. The cookies are packaged by the dozen, and cost $11.95/dozen. Lemon bars are $13.95/dozen.
TK: Where are your cookies sold?
Matheson: You can order the cookies from my website: Peaceloveandcookiestulsa.com or call 918.519.5131. All cookies are delivered the same day they are baked. I bake for small and large events (minimum order is one dozen). Several Tulsa businesses have weekly standing orders. The cookies make great gifts for all occasions and are a fan favorite. Plus, your order helps to fund a program that changes the lives of WIR participants and their families. As my label says, “every bite gives hope.” It is truly a win-win!