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Council Bluffs, Iowa

Matching Partner: N/A

Hi! I’m Nichole, the Founder of OCookieOs. We are a small, gluten-free, high-protein family bakery. My family and I create and deliver prepackaged cookie-donuts completely from scratch. As a Mother of four boys, I have always baked for my family; cookies, birthday cakes, muffins…anything that they could think up, I’d do my best to make it happen. Then in 2019 one of my sons developed a gluten sensitivity, which changed everything I thought I knew about baking. I started baking as a child with my Grandmother and was always fascinated by how easy she made it look. She baked from memory; baking the way chefs cook, by her senses. She always knew what needed to be added to ensure the perfect outcome. When I was about 10yrs old, she entrusted me with my first “Friendship Bread.” A small portion of yeasty bread dough, placed in a cup, and accompanied with a note. The note had the instructions of how to tend to the dough, but also expressed the gratitude of friendship. My Grandma had entrusted me with a piece of her friendship bread, and it was magical. Over the next few days, I watched the yeasty ball magically grow, before eventually turning it into a beautiful loaf of bread at home alongside my Mom.

That’s the moment my obsession began – I was fascinated by how combining the right powders would transform those ingredients into heavenly goodness. Thanks to my Mother and Grandmother, I was hooked by the science behind baking. I never thought those moments would become the building blocks I needed to relearn how to bake gluten-free items. I’m so thankful for those memories, because the skills my Mom and Grandma taught me has allowed me to teach my boys to bake, and has also allowed me to start a gluten-free bakery business with them, for their futures. Thanks, Friendship Bread!

Our company happened by accident back in 2019, when one of my four sons developed a gluten sensitivity, and I had to figure out how to transition from a traditional home baker to a gluten-free baker. I did lots of research on gluten-free flours and eventually figured out how to make homemade oat flour. From there, I was able to create a pretty decent gluten-free cookie, but I could not make a gluten-free donut. After many attempts, my boys suggested a cookie-donut, instead. It took me about six months before our first cookie-donut recipe was created: ‘The OriginalO.’ The OriginalO is made of Oatmeal, Peanut Butter and Triple Chocolate Chip. We began sharing it with family and friends, which led to local deliveries under Cottage Food Laws.

Now we’re going on our second year in a shared commercial kitchen. Our goods are offered locally at several local coffee shops, markets, and regional grocery stores. We have 14 rotating cookie-donut flavors that are all gluten-free, with at least 10g of protein, and five of our flavors are also Vegan. We have established a solid retail & wholesale customer base which continues to grow, and this loan will help us keep up with growth, while improving our product to serve our gluten-free, protein loving, customer base.


A loan from Kiva would help to acquire bulk inventory, time saving equipment, hire additional help, purchase a commercial custom pop-up tent for events, and customize our packaging. A few of our main ingredients need to be purchased in bulk from out of state and aren’t available locally. By purchasing bulk ahead of time, we can schedule a recurring delivery, ensuring we can keep up with production. Another bulk item includes custom packaging. Currently, we design and print our own adhesive labels and purchase our bags separately. We would be able to save so much time and money by outsourcing to a print house for a more custom look.

As for equipment, we seal all our packages by hand, which is very time consuming. A loan from Kiva would help to automate this process with a commercial sealer, and a portion of the funds will be used for a customized pre-printed commercial indoor/outdoor Pop-Up Tent for markets and events. Finally, this loan will also afford us to hire additional help so we can keep up with the growing demand.