Pauline Clarke is one half of Kookee, a Guaranteed Irish food manufacturing company which she runs with the help of her husband Damian Clarke. They want to make the home baking experience fun, easy and memorable, by bringing families together and helping to teach new life skills, no matter what their ability, using their high quality, award winning Cookie Mixes.
Pauline Clarke, Owner of Kookee discusses challenges, most popular cookie flavours, plans for the future and much more.
Can you tell us a bit about Kookee?
Kookee is based in Dundalk, Co. Louth and was set up in 2011. At Kookee we sell easy bake at home cookie mixes with quality ingredients, which cater to many dietary needs including Gluten free, eggfree, dairyfree and vegan.
We also produce bake in store cookies for the food service sector and most recently developed a Tear&Share 12” Cookie in conjunction with a local Ice Cream company.
In the background we are parents to 4 special needs kids. The business idea came about when I gave up work to become a carer and as a family we discovered our love of baking cookies and of course eating the delicious results and I wanted to share this with other families.
What are the challenges that you face in your business and how do you work to overcome them particularly in the current climate?
2020 was certainly the year of home baking. It also brought us Brexit and Covid causing huge disruptions in supply and uncertainty. Along with this the emphasis on sustainability is on everyone’s lips. We have managed to navigate through all these issues with ease, thankfully, and we have always used recyclable packaging but continue to look for ways that we can give back to the local community.
Have you seen an increased demand for local products in Ireland in recent years?
The wonderful Irish community have really rallied around local companies and shown full support. As we are in the home baking sector, we have seen our business triple and the feedback and messages we have received have been overwhelming.
What is your bestselling cookie flavour, and what is your personal favourite Kookee flavour?
Our best selling Cookie mix and cookie is definitely our ‘Spotai’ A simple cookie with Milk Chocolate Chunks and colourful chocolate shells on top. But we are about to launch a new product and it just possibly take over the top spot.
My own personal favourite is our chewy Gluten Free Oatmeal and Dark Choc Chunks.
Have you any plans to grow your client base outside of Ireland?
2021 will see us focus on nationwide delivery within Ireland, we hope to be available in every county in the coming months.
2022 we will look at our export market with an aim to supply mainland Europe.
What made you decide to become a member of Guaranteed Irish?
Guaranteed Irish is a world wide recognised standard of Irish excellence. We are proud to be a member and we know that no matter what country you buy our products in, the customer are ensured that the Guaranteed Irish symbol to mean quality and trust in a high standard of business.
What can we expect for Kookee in the future?
We have huge plans to grow our business over the next 3 years. We are putting the finishing touches to our new production facility, we are launching a new product to market this year with 2 more products in the pipeline. We have just increased our distribution network to include all 26 counties and will be looking to the extend across the border very soon. We will continue to work with local community groups and schools to help raise funds through the fun of baking and continue to make our products all inclusive and easy for anyone to bake.