We interviewed Collette from Collettey’s Cookies last summer to talk about her business, how she’s helping and employing other people with disabilities and how she’s become a successful entrepreneur without letting Down Syndrome get in her way. She’s achieved way more since our chat last summer than many people do in a lifetime, so we thought we’d better catch up again! Read on and be inspired!
MTEAM: What have you been up to with Collettey's Cookies since we spoke last summer?
COLLETTE: I launched a new cookie (Oatmeal Raisin). I’m getting ready to launch another flavor next week (Peanut Butter). I have hired three people. I’ve started my 501c3 nonprofit educating and empowering programs. I have taught three entrepreneur classes. I’ve spoken (by skype) to Dubai, Slovakia, Philippines, Germany and New Zealand. I’ve spoken at four schools to students about empowerment and bullying. I did a commercial for Frito-lays potato chips (my smile will be on the bag July-Sept and I’m donating all money to Operation Smile). I did a short commercial on YouTube influencing abilities. I can't remember everything but that is what I can come up with.
MTEAM: We're excited about your "Ingredients for Success" workshop! What will it involve?
COLLETTE: How to become an entrepreneur! I will talk about how I never thought about it, but had a hobby I loved so much that could make me money. Then I’ll talk about every step I took while getting started.
MTEAM: Why is running this important to you and for disability inclusion in employment generally?
COLLETTE: It is so important to me. People are listening and interested in my story, so I feel I should use my story to help others and improve the lives of other people with disabilities struggling like I did. It is very hard and hurtful to have doors close in your face or not have the same opportunities as you brother or sister just because people don't give you them.
MTEAM: What's next for you this year?
COLLETTE: Publish my first book (a series of five) for families and children ages 5-7. Write my 2nd book for ages 9-11. Then 12-15, 16-18, 19-23, to now. I am also working really hard to try to talk with Ben and Jerrys to make an ice cream with my cookies, lower the unemployment rate, grow my cookie company, teach more classes to help others, and finish raising money for my documentary to be shown in Washington DC which will ask for a tax incentive for companies that hire people with disabilities. And create more jobs for people!
MTEAM: Share a bit about your experience showing Meredith and her family around Collettey's Cookies kitchen!
COLLETTE: I just loved sharing my life and my company with her and seeing her so happy and smiling. It made me feel so good to know I can make someone else happy and to be a part of my team and my company. I just love her and her parents. It means so much to me to help others.