Hope muncher-in-chief is not a job title you come across often, but that’s how entrepreneur and Minneapolis native, Junita Flowers describes her position at Junita’s Jar.
Inspired by her own experience with domestic violence, Flowers started Junita’s Jar, a cookie company supporting education and awareness initiatives dedicated to ending relationship violence, showing what it means to be a true ambassador of hope. Flowers said she knew she could raise awareness of domestic violence by baking hope into cookies using recipes from her childhood. Some of her best memories stem from the time she spent in the kitchen with her family, preparing meals and making desserts.
“During the years that I was in an abusive relationship, baking cookies was my emotional escape. I want to provide the same experience for others,” said Flowers.
Flowers just wrapped up a fellowship program with Finnovation Lab, a social business catalyst supporting early-stage entrepreneurs. Finnovation Lab recognized Flowers’ passion and potential for business success and welcomed her into its inaugural cohort. For the past nine months, Flowers has been growing and scaling her business.
“When I started my cookie company, I knew I wanted to raise awareness on the topic of domestic violence. I started with a commitment to donate a portion of profits to organizations, but I knew I wanted to do more,” said Flowers. “The Finnovation Lab Fellowship allowed me to step outside of daily production and focus on my social impact strategy.”
Flowers has focused her efforts on an event series called Cookie ‘n Conversation, an interactive panel discussion where experts educate and encourage conversation on the topic of domestic violence. The events, which are targeted to college students, are designed to reduce shame experienced by most victim-survivors of domestic violence, create a community of support, and inspire people to take action towards reducing the occurrences of relationship violence. The next event will take place in August and be hosted by the Student Nurses Association in St. Cloud.
Looking forward, Flowers is growing her team of Cookies ‘n Conversation experts and working to build out a calendar of future conversations, with the goal of expanding outside the Twin Cities.
“I know that through the cookies we share and the conversations we spark, Junita’s Jar is spreading a message of hope. That is my main role in this business.” said Flowers.
To join her cause, look for her three cookie varieties – triple chocolate chip, oatmeal peanut butter chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin – at www.junitasjar.com and in local stores across the Twin Cities.