When you’re a mama to be, you start noticing and appreciating all things baby and children-related! We recently learned about Cookie Dough, a luxury boutique for children’s clothing and products, located in Beirut. This boutique offers a unique shopping experience to parents including numerous luxury clothing brands, and nursery, parenting, event planning and interior design services.
During a trip to Lebanon, we stopped by Cookie Dough to see this beautiful boutique in person. We also had the privilege of meeting the woman behind Cookie Dough, an amazing lady named Yasmin Agha! We asked Yasmin a few questions about how she launched such a successful venture and here’s what she had to say.
- What inspired the creation of Cookie Dough?
As a little girl I never played with dolls or other toys. My favorite game was always playing shop. But, as it always does, life got in the way and my aspirations changed through my teenage years. I chose to study theatre and sociology. I planned an academic future and worked hard to get into a PHD program. Just weeks before preparing to leave, I realized I wasn’t convinced of the path I had chosen. I decided to stay in Beirut and teach at my Alma Mater. My experience teaching kids helped me tap into my passion, and I remembered all those hours of playing shop. I realized what I wanted to do: start my own business.
My sociology background made me feel like having a shop alone was insufficient and unfulfilling- I needed to help and inspire others around me. That’s how the Cookie Dough concept and Nursing Consulting Centre were born!
Cookie Dough is not just a boutique, it’s a support system. It’s a community that empowers, educates and supports parents on their journey of parenthood.
- What was your biggest challenge starting and running Cookie Dough?
The biggest challenge as a business owner is always ensuring you are innovative and on top of the latest trends, technologies and information. It takes a lot of research and a lot of dedication, but perseverance and passion are key.
- What makes Cookie Dough so successful?
You’ll have to ask my clients that question! Personally I believe it is a commitment to delivering the best quality and service in the market.
So far we offer around 52 brands including:
- Apart from kids clothing, can you tell us about the other services you offer parents?
We offer event planning services for baby showers, birthdays and welcoming parties (Tehnayes). We also offer Nursery Consulting Services, free of charge and with no obligation to buy. This entails a one-hour session with expecting parents to help them make the right choices based on their lifestyle, budget and style preferences.
Finally, we offer parenting workshops and seminars, free of charge, on a variety of topics from what to expect in the delivery room to how to deal with bullying. These workshops take place 2-3 times per month, except in July and August.
- What is the best part of your job?
There is a beautiful energy that comes with children and expecting parents. Every day we celebrate the miracle of life and the joys of childhood. To me, there’s nothing better than that.
I love my job, which is why it never feels like work. It feels like I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to do, and that sense of purpose is my biggest drive.
- Do you have any plans to expand to the UAE?
We have no expansion plans at the moment. I love having a small boutique that I can micro manage and be able to create long-lasting personal relationships with clients. I do, however, have lots of plans for future international pop-ups, such as the one we did in London. And the UAE is at the top of my bucket list for a pop up!
- What has your experience been like working with kids for Cookie Dough- has it been easy or difficult? And why?
Working with children is an absolute joy! They have the best energy and such beautiful, vivid imaginations. They can be happy with the simplest things and are always learning from everything happening around them. They remind me to dream and inspire me to keep working hard.
- How does it feel to be a mama to be?
I imagined I would be so excited and maternal, but the reality is nothing like my expectation. My pregnancy was unplanned, so I had a very difficult time accepting it. I felt very intimidated by the prospect of motherhood.
As I entered my second trimester, I started feeling more grateful and more excited. I am a real planner, so I am starting to plan my delivery and this makes me feel more in control and ready to accept the changes and challenges that are coming my way. I also feel a lot of pressure. People think that I have it all together, given my extensive work with specialists in the field, but actually I’ve never felt less prepared in my life!
- Do you have any challenges during your pregnancy?
I have a morbid fear of anesthesia and losing feeling, and the idea of enduring this during my delivery has literally kept me up at night! The first trimester was also very challenging, with low energy levels and severe nausea. But eventually I regained my energy and started feeling strong again.
- How have you been preparing for you’re the big day of delivery?
I must say all my preparations have been work-centric! I’ve been trying to do a lot of work in advance and planning extensively for January, so that I have less on my plate once the baby arrives. Now it’s time to actually think of the delivery part!
- Do you have any advice for pregnant women?
This is a tough question. It’s hard for me to answer at the moment, because I’m looking for advice myself!
I think what’s really important is not to forget yourself in all the excitement and nerves. Love yourself first. Care for yourself first. Everything and everyone else will follow. If you are happy you can make others happy and you can nurture others.
- What quote do you live by?
Even after all this time the sun never says to the earth, ‘You owe me.’ Look what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole sky.
Sisi & Rara