Meet a stay-at-home-mom who built her cookie cutter side hustle into an Etsy business that brought in $230,000 in 2021 - Grow from Acorns + CNBC

Summary

Cathy Twitchell, 40, tried for years to turn her hobbies into a stream of income. The stay-at-home-mom of five first opened her Etsy shop in 2007, and attempted to sell several of her creative pursuits: Scrapbooking, quilts, wood carvings — nothing stuck. But when Twitchell tapped into the niche world of "cookiers," a community of people who are dedicated to the art of cookie decorating, things started to change. Soon, she recognized the business opportunity in selling not cookies, but cookie cutters. Today, Twitchell has made close to $475,000 since she opened her shop, Oquirrh Mountain Cookies, on Etsy in 2018. In 2021 alone, she made in $230,000 in sales. She has sold over 70,000 cookie cutters — and designs and 3D prints each one from her own home. "My cutters are all over the world. It's just insane," Twitchell told Grow from her home in South Jordan, Utah, where the Oquirrh Mountain Range looms in the west.

Twitchell in her home office for Oquirrh Mountain Cookies. Tasia Jensen

Cathy Twitchell, 40, tried for years to turn her hobbies into a stream of income. The stay-at-home-mom of five first opened her Etsy shop in 2007, and attempted to sell several of her creative pursuits: Scrapbooking, quilts, wood carvings — nothing stuck. But when Twitchell tapped into the niche world of "cookiers," a community of people who are dedicated to the art of cookie decorating, things started to change. Soon, she recognized the business opportunity in selling not cookies, but cookie cutters. Today, Twitchell has made close to $475,000 since she opened her shop, Oquirrh Mountain Cookies, on Etsy in 2018. In 2021 alone, she made in $230,000 in sales. She has sold over 70,000 cookie cutters — and designs and 3D prints each one from her own home. "My cutters are all over the world. It's just insane," Twitchell told Grow from her home in South Jordan, Utah, where the Oquirrh Mountain Range looms in the west.

Twitchell in her home office for Oquirrh Mountain Cookies. Tasia Jensen

'I wanted to help get us out of debt'

That success is something Twitchell couldn't have imagined several years ago, when her husband was the sole earner for the family of seven. "Before I started my business, we had the classic two car loans, credit card debt … we owed on our home and we weren't very financially stable. We didn't know how to budget," she says. "It started out as a side hustle because I wanted to help pay the bills. I wanted to help get us out of debt." Twitchell's husband gifted her a 3D printer in early 2018. After months of fiddling with the mechanics and programs to get a product she could sell, she opened an Etsy shop in November that same year. "I was expecting nothing really. I was hoping to get one or two orders a day," she says. Now she deals with 30-50 orders a day, with each cutter selling for $4-$7. "It's come a long way, I would have never expected it to grow this much this quickly," she says.

'I can slow down when I need to slow down'

Twitchell's collection of printers has ballooned to 18, taking up a room in the house. They whir and hum all day, slowly tracing sets of bright blue cookie cutters. While cookie cutters print, Twitchell is designing new cutters, dropping them on her shop and getting finished cutters ready to ship.

3D printers creating cookie cutters in Cathy Twitchell's home. Tasia Jensen

"I'm working all day, every day." she says, even on the days when the shop is closed to new orders. Despite the demands of running a business on her own, it's still something that works best for Twitchell, who was diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease, PCOS, and insulin resistance in 2015. "My body has a hard time not being fatigued, and not having brain fog all the time," she says. "I can slow down when I need to slow down, and I can speed up when I need to speed up … and I don't feel like I could do that in any other kind of job."

'It's very empowering to be able to provide for your family'

Once Twitchell's business started booming, she was able to help her family get out of debt, and start making investments for the first time. When her husband was laid off from his job in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Twitchell was able to support the family. "Even before I made the $100,000, I was looking at that number and thinking, I could've never imagined to make this much in my life, ever," she says. "It's very empowering to be able to provide for your family."

Meet a stay-at-home-mom who built her cookie cutter side hustle into an Etsy business that brought in $230,000 in 2021 - Grow from Acorns + CNBC
Photo Credit: Grow from Acorns + CNBC

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