It’s time to put our brilliant founder in the hot seat! Meet Jessica Rogers, the Founder of The Teff Cookie Company. A creative as much as an entrepreneur, Rogers set out with a mission not only to create nutritional (and delicious!) cookies, but to make positive and lasting change.
Tell us about your journey with The Teff Cookie Company – how did you get to where you are today?
A few years ago, a friend invited me to visit them in Ethiopia. I spent a lot of time learning about Ethiopian culture and cuisine, which is when I was introduced to teff. It is a staple part of their diet, and as a health-conscious foodie this small but mighty grain fascinated me. The tiny size of a teff seed disguises its substantial nutritional weight, and many of Ethiopia's famed distance runners credit teff for their endurance. When I returned from my trip, I spent a lot of time raving to my dad about this teff grain. Whilst baking with him, he suggested we use it to curb our sweet tooth cravings and bake some cookies. They were so tasty that he decided to try and find some online, but to our surprise, he couldn’t find any. It was in this moment that he turned to me, and said “Jessica, you should start up The Teff Cookie Company”. And so, The Teff Cookie Company was born!
Did you see yourself in this position 10 years ago?
I always knew I wanted to go down an entrepreneurial route. Even as a child I loved creating things and coming up with ideas. When I was 14, having grown tired of outdated ‘teen’ magazines, I decided to launch my own fashion magazine for charity. After recruiting other girls in my school, we set out on a mission to change the narrative surrounding how young people were seen. We sent out a lot of requests and received a lot of rejections, but we were persistent, and managed to feature some incredible people. Even Anna Wintour herself got involved and wrote a contributing letter. It was a life changing moment.
As I grew older I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to go into, just that I wanted to do something creative with a positive impact. I gained experience in the worlds of marketing, PR, journalism, fashion, photography and even law, being inspired by the people I met along the way.
How is the brand different? What are its core values?
We want to change the way people look at food. We want to unlock its potential to connect and empower whilst maintaining our values of goodness, togetherness, and mindfulness.
By ‘goodness’, we mean looking good, feeling good, tasting good, and doing good. By ‘togetherness’, we want to break down barriers and connect communities. Every crumb tells a story, and we want those stories to be heard. And finally, ‘mindfulness’. Our brand challenges people to think differently, to notice the small things and appreciate the moment.
So how would you describe ‘inner teffness’?
Teff is one of the smallest grains in the world, but its nutritious benefits do not reflect this. Being ‘teff’ is remaining resilient to your core and going the extra mile to achieve your goals. It is taking ownership of your actions and learning from every challenge faced.
Do you have a mantra, and if so, what is it?
I have two! The first one is to live life to the fullest, and the second is: ‘it’s not the destination, it’s the journey’. As important as achieving your goals is, remember to enjoy the process and make the most of every opportunity along the way.
It’s quite unconventional to launch a blog alongside a food product. What was your thinking behind this decision?
I love being unconventional! As a brand, we want to inspire people to follow their passions and empower future generations. We want a positive platform that would bring people together as one teff cookie community, putting the spotlight on those doing incredible things, big or small.
There are three different flavours of cookies: Chocolate Date, Chocolate Orange, and Cinnamon Sultana. Which one is your favourite?
You can’t make me choose between my children!
I suppose that’s a difficult question! Lastly, what makes these cookies stand out?
I wanted to create a health-conscious product that also tasted like a luxurious treat. A nutrient-dense snack, the perfect pick-me-up and permissible indulgence. It took years to perfect the recipe, and everything has been crafted with love from the highest quality ingredients. And the result? A superfood super-snack with no unnecessary additives and no mystery ingredients, unless you count teff!
You can find out more at:Instagram: @jessica_s_rogers