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048 – Baking Pathfinder cookies with Karee of Critical Hit Cookies

 

Today’s guest is Karee, the owner of Critical Hit Cookies and a cast member of the Starfinder actual Play podcast: Horizons Unknown. We talk about how Karee fell into playing Pathfinder and joining this cast, and then we move into how her cookie shop came to be. Critical Hit Cookies makes and ships some absolutely delicious cookies with a Pathfinder theme, and y’all are going to be drooling by the end of this episode. 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Time Stamps & Screenshots

  • 00:00:00 Introduction & Updates
  • 00:02:54 Karee Introduction
  • 00:07:24 Playing in Horizons Unknown, a Starfinder AP Podcast
  • 00:09:50 Introduction to Critical Hit Cookies & Karee’s baking path
  • 00:13:48 Launching an online food store
  • 00:22:22 The first week of being open
  • 00:27:23 How to prep for orders
  • 00:28:58 What does a typical week look like?
  • 00:30:27 Tying cookies into Pathfinder
  • 00:36:48 Cookie of the month club
  • 00:39:33 What has been the most challenging part?
  • 00:41:35 What has been the most rewarding part?
  • 00:43:13 Upcoming projects
  • 00:44:00 Where can people find you?
  • 00:44:48 Wrap-up

Find Karee & Critical Hit Cookies at:

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Transcript

Courtney:

Hello & Welcome to Episode 48 of Roll Play Grow, the podcast for tabletop entrepreneurs, creators, and fans. I am Courtney Stover of Lightheart Adventures, and in this podcast, we talk to the creators behind the brands in the tabletop roleplay gaming space about who they are and how they are turning their passion for gaming into a career. 

Today’s guest is Karee, the owner of Critical Hit Cookies and a cast member of the Starfinder actual Play podcast: Horizons Unknown. We talk about how Karee fell into playing Pathfinder and joining this cast, and then we move into how her cookie shop came to be. Critical Hit Cookies makes and ships some absolutely delicious cookies with a Pathfinder theme, and y’all are going to be drooling by the end of this episode. 

If this is your first time tuning in to Roll Play Grow, hello! This podcast is a part of Lightheart Adventures, which is a small company producing tabletop content that I co-founded with my husband. We also do blogs, one-shots, and maps that you’ll find over on our website, lightheartadventures.com.

And in case you’ve missed this announcement from the last few episodes, I now have my own Patreon for Roll Play Grow! So if you want to help support the show, you can find me on Patreon at Roll Play Grow, and you’ll find a tier as low as $3 a month. Perks include having early access to the guest list, being able to add your questions to upcoming interviews, behind-the-scenes content, and shout-outs on my website and the show. I would love if you’d go check it out and help me work towards some goals like covering the cost of my new transcription service! And for funsies, I have some screenshots of some hilarious errors that showed up in the initial draft of the automated transcription for today’s episode. I’d give you a preview now, but the errors aren’t exactly safe for work, so just know that they should give you a good laugh.

Another way you can support the show is by checking out our affiliate links, which we have compiled for you over at lightheartadventures.com/ourfavoritetrinkets. You’ll find information about some of our favorite dice, tea, coffee, podcasting equipment, email marketing service, and more. We only link to things that we personally use and enjoy, and you can grab yourself something awesome while helping support this show. Again, go to lightheartadventures.com/ourfavoritetrinkets to learn more.

That is all for now, so please sit back and enjoy this conversation with Karee.

Courtney: 

I am joined now by Karee, the owner of Critical Hit Cookies. Hello, Karee, how are you are you today?

Karee: 

I am good. how are you?

Courtney: 

I’m doing well, you know, the sun is starting to peak out, which does not happen very often out in Washington. So I’m hopeful that maybe one day it’ll get warm.

Karee: 

Very nice. I have daffodils blooming in my yard, so I’m already there.

Courtney: 

You are in Pennsylvania. Is that correct?

Karee: 

Yes, it is.

Courtney: 

I sometimes miss the east coast. I’ve been out here for a couple of years now, but I grew upon the east, so it’s still kind of strange sometimes.

Karee: 

You get a lot less weather. Well, you get a lot more rain, a lot less seasonal weather. We’ll put it that way.

Courtney: 

Truth. I am a Florida girl at heart. I miss my sun.

Karee: 

Understandable. Florida’s easy to miss.

Courtney: 

Well to kick things off, can you tell us a bit about who you are and how you got into gaming?

Karee: 

Hi, my name is Karee Vogrin. I have been in gaming for about six or seven years. I’m a little off in the time period, mostly because the past couple of years have totally run together. But, I started getting into gaming because a friend of mine promised me that I could be my favorite book character in a fifth edition game that he wanted to run, and that was my total reason for getting involved was I love this character and the chance to be this character in game form sold me. And then I started playing and I was basically hooked. So that was my origin story as it were.

Courtney: 

Okay. Well, you know, I have to ask what the character was from what book?

Karee: 

Selena from Throne of Glass, which is by Sarah J. Mass.

Courtney: 

Oh my gosh, I have read that, but it has been so long.

Karee: 

So it’s the first character, but it’s a seven book series, and I just love it. So it’s one of my favorites series

Courtney: 

That’s really cool. How was it playing that character?

Karee: 

It was kind of interesting. It was, she was a rogue with assassin, like a hidden assassin background, which is what she is in the first book. And then I was like, but I need to have some fae powers because I need to be able to work with fire. And I had all of these rules of what I needed my character to be able to do, and I achieved at least some of them.

Courtney: 

How long did you play that character?

Karee: 

Not very long at all. It was only like a couple of months. It was a really short campaign, just kind of an introduction to gaming sort of thing. And then the group fell apart as groups frequently do.

Courtney: 

Truth.

Karee: 

So it was after that though, then that I became really interested in gaming, played more board games and less RPGs, and the only time I could find any RPGs to play were at conventions. So I went to GenCon and I play RPGs all day, but I still didn’t have a home group until… three years ago, four years ago? And I was invited to join a Pathfinder 1 game. And since then I’ve had that game has been ongoing and we just hit 10th level in it.

Courtney: 

Wow. After three and a half years, you said?

Karee: 

Yeah. We had like a year break where we weren’t meeting because it’s an in-person game.

Courtney: 

Yeah.

Karee: 

And so there was a year break where we did. And it’s, it’s a Homebrew world. So our GM levels us up, when he decides we have enough experience. So the timing on it can be scattered because it’s less, a lot of XP is based on actual negotiations and things like that and less fighting. So, the XP is sometimes hard to track, but that was my first regular group. And now I’m in that, Abomination Vault,, Second Ed group and two Starfinder podcast.

Courtney: 

Oh, Oh, you know, just a little bit.

Karee: 

When I started gaming I became a little obsessed and I would still do more. I have nights off. I was like, yeah, I could do more gaming.

Courtney: 

Tell me about the podcasts. What are the shows?

Karee: 

I actually misspoke. One of them is an actual play podcast on Twitch, and one of them is or a stream, but we do not record it. Show is Horizons Unknown. It’s playing the horizons of the vast AP by Paizo. And it’s a Starfinder game.

Courtney: 

How long has that show been going on?

Karee: 

It started in December, so not very long at all now.

Courtney: 

Are y’all streaming weekly, biweekly?

Karee: 

Biweekly.

Courtney: 

Okay.

Karee: 

So it’s on Thursday nights at six Eastern.

Courtney: 

Yeah, I guess I’d love to know a little bit about how you got involved with that.

Karee: 

The GM for my non podcast Starfinder game is the same GM who does the show. And so he invited me to join when he, he, it was one of his goals cause he had done podcasts, but he had never done an actual play, Twitch stream. So he wanted to do a live stream show. As just a personal goal that he had, and he invited me to join, and I was all excited about having a chance to do that.

Courtney: 

What are some, like, is there anything different about the way that you play in the streamed game versus your normal at-home games?

Karee: 

Not a ton. I’m very into role playing, so I try to embody the characters that I play every time I’m in any game I’m in. One of the groups that I’m involved in peripherally does a lot of immersive gaming. And so that’s where I kind of picked up my technique of everything should feel as real, as possible that you can make it. So. Staying in character the entire time. And that’s also the rules of all of my game of anything that you say is you in character. So I’ve just gotten used to that kind of style of play. So there’s not a ton of difference. I try to be more high energy, but that is what it is. Most of the games always seem to be high energy anyways.

Courtney: 

Yeah, that makes sense. I like that philosophy, honestly. And so that does seem like it would make it a lot easier to make that transition.

Karee: 

It’s gone pretty well so far, so he’s happy with my performance, so it seems to be going well and there’s fans.

Courtney: 

Yeah. That’s super cool. I will definitely make sure to include a link to that in the show notes. I wanna transition over now and ask you about your shop. So for our listeners that may not be familiar with you yet: what is Critical Hit Cookies??

Karee: 

Critical Hit Cookies is an online store that does homemade cookies for gamers and anyone who likes cookies, really. But we do tend to do a lot of, like our names will sometimes be gaming related or the pictures that I take to advertise them will have miniatures and dice and things like that in them. So it tries, you know, I’ve staged scenes where I have cookies as the, the PCs each with little props to shoot pictures on gaming mats, a lot of stuff like that to, to capture the gaming world.

Courtney: 

How did you get into baking professionally or I guess really baking in general. And then how did that transition into baking professionally?

Karee: 

I’ve baked all my life. It’s just always been something that I enjoyed. Even in college it was something that, you know, college kids don’t normally bake. I was the one who did, so it’s always been something that I’ve had in my life. And then it started to become professional when I was introduced to a member of Order of the Amber Die, which is a marathon role-playing group, and I started sending them cookies for their marathons. So that’s the immersive group that I had mentioned earlier. I would send them batches of cookies to eat during these, you know, four day marathons. And that’s how I made the connection and, my life people had said, Oh, yeah, you could, you could do this professionally. You should do this professionally. And I was always, yeah, yeah, yeah. But when I started sending it to the gamers and when they told me I could do it professionally, it just kinda clicked that time. And I decided that I was interested in pursuing it. There was a lot of red tape and hoops to jump through as I tried to even figure out whether I legally could do it. I work out of my home kitchen, but I’ve been certified by the health department. So there was an application that in Pennsylvania, this is something that you were allowed to do. You were allowed to have an online store and ship across state lines. Individual states have different regulations for these cottage industries, but my state is fair game. And so I, once I got the health application done, then there was a matter of setting up my own website, which required more coding than I was comfortable with as I had to learn to. Yeah, they say, add this bit of code to your website. And I said, huh. I wonder how I do that. So there was many weeks that I set up a website, which somebody else might’ve done a lot faster, but I figured it out. And I opened just over two years ago.

Courtney: 

Oh, the happy just over anniversary.

Karee: 

Thank you.

Courtney: 

Are you using WordPress or something else?

Karee: 

I use Shopify.

Courtney: 

Okay.

Karee: 

It seemed to have the meet my needs as for the best ones. Like I did a lot of research into this thing. That’s one of the things I excell at, which was why I was able to then dive into the research on the state regulations and dive into the research on what online provider I wanted to use. I knew I wanted something that would handle all of the behind the scenes. And then it was just a matter of research and talking to people and seeing what they used and figuring out which would work, work best for me. And so far, it’s all gone, fairly smoothly.

Courtney: 

Glad to hear it. Was there anything that surprised you about the initial, you know, monstrous task of getting the licenses and figuring out how to legally sell food?

Karee: 

There was so much research that I did initially. It wasn’t even funny. Cause I was like diving down, endless rat holes of, okay. First off, it’s a matter of trying to find the regulations and each state has its own regulations. And I had to figure out where I could find my state’s regulations to see if it was even allowed before going on to the health department, because I didn’t even know that it’s called like, you know, cottage industries and all of that terminology even was something that I had to learn so I could have the right searches to find the information I needed. Which there was a whole, you know, there was a lot of, can I make food out of my house searches? Eventually it got me to the right places.

Courtney: 

Well, so you do actually bring up a good point. So in case there are any listeners that are not familiar with the term cottage industry, what do you mean by that?

Karee: 

It’s, you know, a small out of your home industry; in my case, because I was doing food, I had to have approval by the state health department. Just like a restaurant has a health license, I have a health license. So I needed to check with my state regulations and federal regulations and local regulations as to whether I was legally allowed to do this. You know, I had to get approval from my township that this would not be a burden because it was all online; that it wouldn’t increase the traffic in my neighborhood. It’s I mean, it’s, I literally like decided over a weekend, you know, I think I want to have an online store Like it was a weekend decision. And then there was like three months of actually research to figure out how I go about doing that. And then the state wanted copies of all of my recipes. So I had to like codify recipes because before that I had been one of the bakers who just kind of wing it a lot. So I needed to have like set recipes because I would be selling them. So I needed to like, make the same cookie every single time. Which required a lot of writing down!

Courtney: 

Yeah like I don’t know. I just, I make them and they’re good. What more do you want?

Karee: 

That was honestly me with friends, and they’d be like, can you make it again? And I’d be like, I’m going a better description of the last time you were here. Because I’d be like I don’t think I can, no. Cause you can’t remember what was in them, so no, I can’t do it again.

Courtney: 

Okay. So you had a couple of weeks of research of just figuring out how the heck do you do this anyway. And then once you started getting all of that processed and writing down your recipes and getting them all approved, what were some of the decisions that you made on what your shop was actually going to look like at the start? Like how many recipes were you going to have? how did you choose which recipes those were going to be?

Karee: 

I, did some taste tests with people as to I came up with a bunch of, some traditional some unique recipes, and I had taste tests. There was one day I wandered through a grocery store and I literally, every single thing I saw was I could make a cookie out of that. I could make a cookie out of that. And some of those ideas were not the best. Like there was a beef jerky cookie that was not… There was one person who liked it, but it wasn’t that was traditionally a fan. So part of it was, you know, I wanted to be unique in some of my offerings, but it also had to then be unique and appeal to people. So there was finding that balance of apparently wandering through a grocery store, and just saying, you know, I bet I could do that. It isn’t always a recipe for success, but there were those days.

Courtney: 

I love it.

Karee: 

I mean, cause it had to be fun too, but I, one of the decisions I made was a logo, and I decided on a blue dragon holding a cookie. And then I found, I had to find an artist who could do it. And there was a woman at my yoga studio who I knew did art. Cause she had done like murals on the wall there. And that was how I found my artists for my logo. This was a relatively new thing for her. She hadn’t done a ton of logos. More, just a general artist, but then she consulted her sister to get the graphic design part of it. Cause she had just drew on paper, so she had to get everything online. So she consulted her sister about some of this stuff. It was a whole big research process for her. But it turned out and I love my logo now.

Courtney: 

Yeah, I, it’s a really cute logo. And if you guys haven’t seen it, it is a blue and yellow dragon holding a chocolate chip cookie. How did you decide on the name?

Karee: 

Honestly, it was a lot of just brainstorming. And. Then a friend said critical hit, you know, because it’s a critical hit is something in gaming and then a critical hit, you know, it’s just the fans like it it’s a hit. And so, you know, the dual meaning and it just, it flowed well. Once I, I had, you know, like dragons breadth or dragons, whatever. There was a whole bunch of dragon focused names. But the thing with that is there’s a lot of them. And so I didn’t want to get lost in the crowd. So this was also somewhat unique.

Courtney: 

Yeah, I like that a lot. But to jump back. So you did a lot of taste testing with the people that you knew you started working with artists to get your logo, but how did you decide how many recipes you were going to start with?

Karee: 

I think I started somewhere between just over a dozen. I think I had 15 to start with cause I was like, well, that’s a nice, easy number. Now I think there’s currently over 50 and I keep taking them off and putting them on. I have three more waiting to go on right now. So I don’t know how many that’s going to make. A year ago, I cut down dramatically. I had had 50 at that point and I cut it down to I think, half because it was just getting overwhelming. And then over the next year, it built back up again, because as I said, I, I experiment when I bake. So I’m constantly coming up with new ideas, new recipes. So that was one of the things that, you know, I keep purging and saying refining, what all is on offer as things are popular or not, and there’s some seasonal ones. I just got back from a trip to Florida and there are two, two of the new cookies are orange and lime because I was inspired by visiting a citrus factory, not a factory though. It’s, you know, there was a citrus museum and then we went to an actual grower. So I was inspired by that. The inspiration of coming up with new cookie ideas can be like anything.

Courtney: 

Man. I really want to try those. I miss Florida oranges and I bet some orange cookies would be good!

Karee: 

I had had a lemon cookie, but I, I went into the orange grower and the, just the smells of the fresh squeezed citrus were amazing. And it was trying to capture that experience.

Courtney: 

What did your first week look like? You decided on your recipes, you had your logo, you had your website, you got all of this together through a few weeks? Months?

Karee: 

I had decided to open the store at the end of August. It took six weeks, eight weeks? For the state health department to process my application. And then I needed a inspection from a health inspector. And so my kitchen had to be approved as well as the paper application. So I was bound, to some extent, by the limits that the state put on me. So it took me two months, I think, before I had my approval from the state. And then I opened that, I worked on the website after I had gotten the health approval. I worked on the website for basically all of November, and then I opened the beginning of December. I had started social media prior to opening to try to get my name out there. And I started showing pictures of cookies and in gaming and got some fans that way so that there was, I had a customer when I actually opened the store who had found me on social media. And then the other thing that happened was PAX Unplugged. And I opened the weekend, a PAX unplug, and I went around PAX with flyers and I gave out cookies and tried to get my name out there.

Courtney: 

That is really clever. I assume the cookies didn’t last long.

Karee: 

No, they didn’t, but it did actually make me a contact with the, cause I was giving them to people at booths, and I would introduce myself and give them a box of cookies. And one of the people who then I made a contact with was the head of the organized play program at Paizo. And that got me in with Paizo. I had already been playing their games and that was one of the reasons why I had targeted them. But I’ve sent cookies to Paizo a number of times.

Courtney: 

That is really cool. And then, I mean, obviously COVID has affected everything, but have you been able to go to any other conventions or do you plan on going to more in the future?

Karee: 

The first convention I went to was this past December. I went back to PAX Unplugged. So it was two years. I’ve been actually pretty lucky because my business is just shipping direct to home. And I basically didn’t leave my house for two years because I have a compromised immune system. So, cOVID in that regard didn’t affect me that much. There were a lot of people during the COVID or, you know, when it was at its peak that they were looking for some comfort food and cookies fit the bill.

Courtney: 

Well, cool. So you aware at PAX Unplugged your first, like right when you opened and you’re able to hand it out and drum up some business. But what else happened that first week? Was there anything that popped up that surprised you? Were you able to keep up with orders? How much time do you think that you were devoting back then?

Karee: 

One of the things that also worked out for me. And one of the reasons why I did is that by opening in December, I also got a lot of people who were interested in holiday cookies. And so there was a lot of orders and it’s still my, one of my busiest times of the year. Because everybody wants cookies at Christmas or over the holidays, whatever you observe. And so it’s still has nothing to do with gaming, but it’s just that are looking for cookies at that time of year. So they’re still a very busy period for me.

Courtney: 

Yeah, that definitely makes sense. Was it overwhelming to start right with a whole bunch of holiday orders?

Karee: 

A bit, it felt overwhelming at the time. And looking back at the number of orders that I had at that time versus, you know, this past Christmas, I was doing nothing. So I’ve gotten faster and I’ve gotten, you know, I’ve streamlined things and gotten, there’s been a lot of learning along the way as my productivity has increased. And so I’ve, you know, there’s little things that I do now that I will make bigger batches of cookies and I have the dough already prepped. So then when orders come in, the dough’s ready, so I can get things out faster than I might otherwise.

Courtney: 

That leads me into a follow-up question then on…how you are able to, cause I know with a perishable item, like cookies, it’s hard to make a whole lot of things in advance and really hold on to ready to go inventory. So yeah, I would love to know how you balance that. What are some strategies that you are able to do to make it so that you can keep up with orders as they come in?

Karee: 

One of the things I use a lot is my freezer. And I had to buy a second freezer. I had to buy a second refrigerator because I needed to be able to store. I always rest my doughs at least overnight to help develop the flavors. And so I had a refrigerator for the business, my home refrigerator, and then I got a second freezer to use to store scooped balls of cookie dough. So I can get things out faster because it’s some type, and it’s not always, I don’t always have everything on hand. There’s times I’m making doughs. And you know, if you get an order the next day, it’s probably because I already had something on hand versus if it takes me two days to get an order out. But I normally get out most of my orders within a couple of days.

Courtney: 

Yeah, That is really fast turnaround.

Karee: 

I like to get the orders out as soon as I can. There’s a bit of obsessive ness with me. So. Knowing that I have stuff sitting there. I always, I will push myself rather than have stuff waiting for me. So, you know, over this past December, I did 30 dozen in one day because I order and that was, that was the most I’ve ever done.

Courtney: 

I mean, obviously it’s going to switch depending on the time of year and you know, if there’s any holidays, but I guess what does a normal week look like for you?

Karee: 

There’s the social media and the maintenance of my website that I do all the time. But then, I it basically depends on when I get orders in and how many orders I get in. So it’s, there’s no such thing as a typical week, I have some monthly orders because I have a cookie of the month club where I know that I’m going to have orders on these days of the month. But beyond that, I can’t really plan out too much how my week’s going to look because I don’t actually ever know for sure. So it’s just, when I get an order in, I respond. Most weeks are pretty busy. It depends on the time of year as well. I think people get, you know, into their new year’s resolutions at the beginning of the years and that kind of fades. And then. Things, you know, pick up as the year progresses. And I’ve done some pre-orders for conventions now where convention time on busier because people have ordered cookies that I’ve either delivered at the convention or shipped to their hotel. So I’ve done some of that. So some of the conventions are busier than others.

Courtney: 

That’s really cool. Something I’m just really curious about too though, is you’ve mentioned a couple of ways in which you try to tie the cookies into what you’re enjoying with Pathfinder and just kind of making them nerdy with like the names of them, the photos that you take of the products themselves. Are there any other kind of things or strategies that you do to try to target the community?

Karee: 

There’s cookies that are named after– Paizo, had a podcast– Band of Bravos, and I made cookies for each of the characters there. So there’s stuff like that. There’s been cookies based on various APs where I try to create a cookie for the adventure path. Some ideas like that, where I, where it’s actually like me trying to represent a character in a cookie. So there was one Bard that was very frivolous and colorful, and it had sprinkles in it and had, was rolled in I had a sugar coating. And so stuff like that, where I try to encapsulize characters. I just created a cookie for my podcast that’s going to be announced this week. Because somebody on the podcast said, Hey, you know, we should have our own cookie, and I said, you’re right. We should. So there has been some of that as well. But officially, is there something that I can point to that, you know, I’ve I tried to do as much with gaming stuff as I can. I sometimes, you know, I, I could probably do more, but I’m doing what I can come up with.

Courtney: 

How do you decide what flavors represent a character when you are like, so for the Band of Bravos and for the one that is about to be announced.

Karee: 

There was stuff like for the Druid. I wanted something all natural. You know something with like fruit flavors in it. So it was, that’s like where my lemon cookie came from. I’ve had Swashbucklers where there is a Blondie with Kayden, Kaylene coffee in it because, you know, it’s the drunk God, and she was, part of her, character background was that she was a hard drinking swashbuckler kind of. So there’s, you know, I make the connections in my head, whether everybody always understands the connections. I’m not so sure. But to me they make sense. So, cause there’s there’s times where. I can explain why I think that cookie represents that character. And normally people have just been excited that they had their character encapsulated in a cookie that they don’t normally then interrogate me as to, I don’t think that really properly typifies her. There’s some stuff like that, that, you know, most, anyone who I’ve made a cookie for, they’ve just been excited that they have a cookie.

Courtney: 

That that is valid. I’m just always interested and-

Karee: 

Cause there’s a, there’s a lot of experimenting and there’s a lot of, you know, some of the ideas don’t work out the way I want them to. I have, you know, I made, there’s a tango, Oracle character with an Asian background that I have a green tea cookie for, that was originally supposed to be a seaweed cookie that just. There was a lot of seaweed cookie attempts, and none of them were really as successful as I hoped. You know, a Matcha cookie turned out to be much better choice.

Courtney: 

I can see that that would be a difficult to do for sure. I just, I always find it so fascinating trying to pair the different senses, I guess, with somethingas intangible as a character. So whether that’s taste or smell or sound, it just, it always fascinates me. Like, I think it’s so creative that you’re able to do that. And so always like hearing about how that comes to be.

Karee: 

There’s a lot of experimentation, but normally it starts with me trying to break the character down to, into a couple of key words. And then how do I get those words encapsulated by flavors?

Courtney: 

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So the next thing I’d like to ask you about is really kind of getting into some of the logistics of shipping a perishable product. Like how long did that take you to figure out the best way to do packaging and is there anything that you do differently in the summer months versus the winter months?

Karee: 

There’s not anything that I do differently in the summer versus the winter. Based on my health inspection, one of the reasons that I was able to ship cookies was because they are shelf stable item. There was a lot of experimentation before I came up with my packaging as to what would work best and how to seal them. I currently individually wrap all of my cookies and it’s actually been one of the things people like the most is because they keeps them really well. And then, because I was always concerned about breakage, I have bubble wrap and then crinkle paper that I put inside the boxes. And, you know, fill the box with crinkle paper and then I use bubble wrap just because I’m paranoid. And then I use black boxes. It’s different from an ordinary box. You don’t see them every day. And it was one of the things that I wanted, something that looked pretty to arrive. So I wanted something unique. That would be noticeable. So I use those as well.

Courtney: 

Do you ever hear about like chocolate melting when it’s shipping and the hotter months.

Karee: 

I have not had any complaints with any that sort of stuff. So all the cookies are chilled before I wrap them just to make sure that everything has is set as well as I can make it. And then I’m sure there’s issues. There’s always going to be some issues, but nobody has ever come back to me with a complaint on it.

Courtney: 

Awesome. That’s good to hear. So tell us about the cookie of the month club.

Karee: 

Every month I come up with a cookie. It varies how I come up with them. Sometimes it’s the newest cookie. Sometimes it’s a cookie that seems representative of that season. But it’s a club that you can join. Members save 20% off their orders, and you sign up for a period of time, six months or longer, and you get a delivery of cookies every month. It’s like, you know, the fruit of the month club or that sort of thing, but it’s good. So it’s a dozen cookies and members of our keen on it.

Courtney: 

Do you have like a favorite, more unique flavor that you’ve sent out to your subscribers?

Karee: 

Those are two different questions, whether I have a favorite flavor, and unique flavor. All of the cookies that are part of the cookie of the month club are on offer regularly. The membership gives you the savings. This past, in February was one of my favorite cookies was the triple chocolate blondies. And that was a cookie that I created for myself. I think I created it over a Valentine’s day where I wanted chocolate. And so, it took a couple of years, but then It was the cookie of the month.

Courtney: 

It sounds really good. So you said that was a favorite, but that unique is a different answer. So what’s the unique one.

Karee: 

It depends on, you know, there’s a lot of cookies that are somewhat unique. One of my most popular is a salted caramel pretzel, chocolate chip blondie. So there’s a lot going on, but it’s, it has a lot of fans and probably is one of the most popular cookies that we make. I say we when it’s me.

Courtney: 

Oh my gosh. So what’s fun is that I’m interviewing you after coming off of like a month and a half of a Whole 30, where I’ve had zero desserts and I’m just sitting here craving, like EV like everything you’re saying, I’m just like drooling right now. And I’ve been looking basically like when I when I found you a couple of weeks ago, my husband walked into the room and was just like, Courtney, you have this look of frustration on your face, like what is happening? And I’m like, well, I’m just sitting here. And I found another person that I want to interview, but also I just need everything on her website right now. Yeah. So definitely going to be placing a very large order at the end of this month. Okay. Something that I like to ask, all of my guests is that: I feel like we get into, you know, working on these types of projects and starting these companies, because it’s something that we love and enjoy, but obviously everything has its challenges. And so I would like to know that, you know, when you look back over the last couple of years since you did launch this business, what have been some struggles? Like, is there anything that stands out to you the most as being just, exceptionally challenging.

Karee: 

There’ve been a lot of long days where I try to, when I get swamped with orders, that have been challenging. There’s been times that, you know, I get frustrated by whatever reason. There’s been times where I’ve like, you know, is it worth it is worth it. You know, this was my hobby. And do I still love it? And overall though, I still love it. And I’m happy. You know, I still do the experimenting that I, I love. There’s an again, means that there’s a constant source of new cookies going on. Overall I’m happy with it, you know, there’s, there hasn’t been anything that sticks out as this was the, the, the thing that almost broke me. So that’s good. There’s definitely been times that I’ve been frustrated for sure. You’re going to get that with any business, but overall it’s positive.

Courtney: 

Is there anything you found that helps you get past those harder days?

Karee: 

I have my hobbies. I read a lot, workout there’s various. You know, various kinds of workouts, some yoga has been involved where, you know, there’s been, you know, some meditation or whatever, where, you know, there’s a lot of deep breathing going on that I have some of those techniques that I employ. So overall it’s, there’s not one single thing that sometimes it’s just, you know, even watching a TV show that lets you escape for a little bit.

Courtney: 

Well, let’s flip it around: when you look back over the last couple of years, what instead would you say has been the most rewarding part of all of this?

Karee: 

I have gotten to meet so many new people and made so many new connections because I wasn’t really on social media or anything before I got involved with the cookie business. And it was one of the things that was a challenge to me, that I was like, I’m going to need to have an Instagram. I’m going to need to have a Twitter. I don’t have those, you know, it was, that was a whole new world for me. And so it was getting myself out there, but it’s been so rewarding and I’ve made so many new friends that I love it. I have connections in the gaming industry now that I wouldn’t, I never would have thought were possible. It’s been a really rewarding experience in that regard.

Courtney: 

Yeah, it’s wild to me, how much just having a Twitter account and trying to reach out and connect with people has just completely changed the landscape. I don’t know. It’s it’s really cool. I I’m totally with you there.

Karee: 

And it’s amazing: you have Twitter friends, but you still there. they’re real friends.

Courtney: 

I know; it’s like well maybe one day. I’ll meet you in person. I don’t know. But even if I don’t, like, I know so many things about you.

Karee: 

Right!

Courtney: 

I I’m very happy for you that you’ve been able to make those connections and do this for the past couple of years and that you’re still enjoying it. Cookies just bring so much joy and it’s special. Well, are there any upcoming projects or goals that you’re working towards that you’re excited about that we haven’t had a chance to talk about yet?

Karee: 

Well, I’ll give you a sneak peek of the cookie that’s coming out on Thursday for my podcast. It’s going to be called horizon Heroes for the Horizons Unknown podcast. And it is going to be a chocolate peanut butter chip Butterfinger cookie. So that’s been, that’s been my, my latest experiment that I’m really happy about and pleased how it turned out. When I can get people who don’t like peanut butter to eat it and love it, then I, I figure it’s it’s pretty good.

Courtney: 

Oh, my gosh. Amazing. Well, Karee, if people want to find you and get that cookie or any of the other cookies that we have talked about today, where should they go?

Karee: 

Www.criticalhitcookies.com.

Courtney: 

Perfect. And if they want to check out the Starfinder podcast that we talked about at the beginning, where can they find more information on that?

Karee: 

That is on twitch at Hex Grid Heroes. And it’s the Horizons Unknown podcast.

Courtney: 

Perfect. Well, I will be sure to include links to all of those in the show notes, but Karee, thank you so much for coming on today. This has been really fun and I cannot wait to order so many of your cookies.

Karee: 

Thank you for having me. It’s been a blast.

Thanks for dropping by! We would love to know who would like us to interview, so please drop a comment here on the blog, on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Discord to let us know who your favorite creators are! If you’d like access to more maps and content, including downloadable PDFs of our adventures, check out our Maps Patreon or Podcast Patreon. We’re able to do what we do because of all our amazing Patrons!

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