"Cookies, Then Milk!Nicole Bredeson isn't so much a start-up as she is a start-over, but she's finding Richmond to be a fine fit for her product. Cookies, Then Milk! is more than an indulgent treat for postpartum snackers. Her cookie recipes are formulated from all-natural, healthy ingredients that promote breast milk production. While the business was a good idea in Florida where she's from, she's finding that her cup runneth over in the Richmond region, where there's an enthusiastic market for buying local, natural products and innovative start-up ideas. She won $3,500 in the University of Richmond's 2013 Business Pitch competition, and says the prize money hasn't been the only reward for winning. "There are actual people — actual multimillion-dollar business owners — who think this could work," says Bredeson, who graduates from UR in May and is meanwhile running the company from her house. Her main meal ticket remains online cookie sales, but after graduation she plans to ramp up her push to find local distributors and retailers to carry her products. Meanwhile, it's Richmond's culture of support, from the top earners all the way to the day-to-day consumers, that's been truly heartening for this Florida transplant. "The difference here from most towns in Florida is that small businesses seem to be thriving [in the Richmond area]", she says. "There are children's consignment stores and local restaurants instead of chains every two feet. I'd say for just about anybody starting a business, the most important thing is to be in a community where you feel supported." So, is there a disadvantage to being an entrepreneur in Richmond? "Not really," Bredeson says. "Everyone wants to help.""
Nikki and Robert live in Long Beach, California with their 3 lively children: Andrew, Lucy and Jayden. Having breastfed children for over 6 years, Nikki considers herself to be an expert on the topic. Having watched Nicole burn dozens and dozens of cookies in just 3 months, Robert has stepped in as Head Baker and yes, considers himself to be an expert. =)