Tri-State woman starts cookie company while helping other small businesses succeed

Tri-State woman starts cookie company while helping other small businesses succeed
Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 4:29 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A Tri-State entrepreneur knows the struggles that come with launching a new business, so she is taking her lessons and helping pave the road to success for others.

Rachel DesRochers is the CEO of the Gratitude Collective. She started the company 13 years ago when she left her corporate job.

She created her own business making cookies and has been unstoppable since helping other entrepreneurs along the way.

“I call myself a serial entrepreneur,” said DesRochers. “I started building my businesses here in the region in 2010.”

Launching her first company of handmade artisan graham crackers, called Grateful Grahams, which wasn’t part of her original plan.

“I had done marketing for a grocery store in town, and when I lost my job through a corporate buyout, I was home,” explained DesRochers. “I had my second child, but my only daughter, Rosie, in November of 2009, and I was like, and I think it was the birth of having a daughter where I was like, ‘what am I doing?’”

While baking at home, she decided to start her own business, thus launching Grateful Grahams in April 2010.

Making the treats with her baby on her back and hitting all of the farmer’s markets in town.

She says her product is more than a cookie with each package delivering a message of gratitude and positivity.

“When we moved out into our own kitchen, I started saying, ‘hey, I have some space if anybody needs anything,’” said DesRochers. “Then within six months, the kitchen we were in outgrew, so I formally launched the incubator in September of 2013.”

The Incubator Kitchen allows local food companies to rent out kitchen space to cook, food prep and package their products while cutting out some overhead costs.

”I even get emotional about it,” DesRochers said. “The fact that we can come together in community and help these people get their idea incubated into something and we try to keep it so low for them so that they have more money hitting their profits so that they can incubate out is really important.”

During their nine years of operation, DesRochers says they have helped more than 170 startups in the area with nearly 50 different businesses using the kitchen space each month.

With the success of her companies, she says she is most grateful that she is able to help others through mentorship.

“We operate here through the lens that healthy people build healthy businesses,” said DesRochers. “And it’s important for me because the food industry is tough right? Going through the pandemic is tough and here, we’ve all banded together.”

DesRochers has once again started another project - the Power to Pursue.

It is a one-day women’s empowerment and entrepreneurial summit that is held each year to give women the tools they need to start and grow their businesses.

Breaking Through Series

This story is part of a weekly segment called Breaking Through.

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