Red Head Cookies founder puts a little spice in her business

Thirty years ago, Carol Emeruwa began searching for an alternative to the standard chocolate chip cookie to put in a care package to her daughter at college. “I was looking around for something, but she didn’t like chocolate chip cookies,” Emeruwa recalls. So she started fooling around with different recipes and developed a ginger cookie made with natural ingredients and three kinds of ginger. “She moved to New York after college and I still sent those cookies.”

Then Emeruwa was downsized from her accounting job two years ago. New job prospects looked bleak. “My daughter said, ‘do something you enjoy doing,’” Emeruwa says. So she decided to devote her time to baking and created Red Head Artisanal Ginger Cookies in December of 2014. She sells gift boxes and subscriptions through the Red Head website and AHAlife. Prices start at $24 for a dozen cookies. Emeruwa now has a two-pack of cookies that she plans to distribute to area stores.

The business has taken off. Emeruwa now offers five different flavors of ginger cookies that she bakes in the Cleveland Culinary Launch and Kitchen. “It’s really exciting down there,” she says. “It’s a great place to learn and taste other people’s products. There’s a great atmosphere down there.”

Emeruwa says she thinks she’s found her true calling. “I want to spend all my time building the business,” she says. “This is something I really enjoy doing. Now we’re working on new flavors, more savory items, and I’m tinkering with bacon.” Emeruwa recently recruited 15 customers to taste her new flavors -- and she still sends the new flavors to her daughter.

Karin Connelly Rice
Karin Connelly Rice

About the Author: Karin Connelly Rice

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.