Meet Jennifer Houston, owner-partner, baker, creator, THIS CHICK BAKES, (PMS Kookie Kompany, Inc.) in New York, New York
Jennifer Houston and her boyfriend at the time, Charley Tucker, started the PMS Kookie Kompany almost 61/2 years ago quite by accident. Both were actor/musicians living in Manhattan, which means that they were also caterers, bartenders, waiters, and masters of the odd job. They had both grown weary of life on the road and living life hand to mouth, so after they stumbled upon the idea of the cookie company ( Jen was joking one evening while she was pms-ing about making PMS kookies, and wondered why no one had done it yet…by the next week they had sketches for the logo and an idea of what the company would be). Afterall, if Ben and Jerry could do it with icecream, why couldn’t they do it with cookies?
They based the entire menu on pms moods and cravings, ie, salty-sweet, and multi layered/textured items like the Mooney Mood Pie, which is two chocolate chunk, cashew cookies, sandwiched with peanut butter and fluff.
Or the Ragin Raisin Coconut Oat….the list goes on. They have incorporated many kinds of organic teas, coffees, spices and extracts to create some very original and unique flavors as well as the basic comfort ingredients like dark chocolate and nuts and lots of peanut butter. They managed to get their products into some of the most prestigious coffee houses in Manhattan….Joe the Art of Coffee, Gimme Coffee, Irving Farms, Cafe Angelique, and coffee Labs Roasters (Tarrytown, NY) just to name a few.
Like many bakers they started out of their Manhattan apartment…that lasted for maybe two weeks or so as they quickly outgrew that and needed a proper industrial space. They rented space at a commercial kitchen in the Bronx, working the overnight shift (cheaper!) dragging their freshly baked wares home at 5:00 Am on the subway, taking an hour nap, and with the help of a friend with a car, delivered their cookies and cupcakes around the city.
There have been many kitchens since then…many hard luck stories and very nearly closed up shop many times, especially during their break up as a couple two and a half years ago. Ouch. But neither was ready to throw in the towel with the company, so they dried their tears (okay, well Jen dried her tears) and started with a clean slate, changed their image a bit from PMS to This Chick Bakes which seemed to please their customers quite a bit.
For the past three years they have enjoyed a large space in Long Island City which they share with another baker where they churn out thousands of amazing cookies, bars, cupcakes, and occasion cakes a week for their wholesale clients, as well as have an online gift shop and ship gifts all around the U.S. And, by the way, they have their own car now too.
They are both still living in Manhattan and pursuing their music and acting as well as being full time baker/entrepenures.
Check out Jen’s music here: www.myspace.com/jenhoustonproject
See her online at http://www.thischickbakes.com