Birthed from the minds of sisters Jessica and Jocelyn Nelums in 2019, The Mahogany Kitchen Co. is a business establishment interested in serving the people. They officially launched their online retail store in February 2022 and have sparked interest in the community with their much needed cookie cutter designs. The Mahogany Kitchen Co. ladies recently took a few minutes to share their story and excitement to collaborate with us in honoring the need for representation within the melanated community.
Sisters Jocelyn (left) and Jessica (right) established The Mahogany Kitchen Co. in 2019.
Walk us through the first moment of inspiration behind The Mahogany Kitchen Co. What was the 'aha' moment of ‘We are on to something great, Sis’?
Our first “aha” moment came after watching a food network host make cookies with cowboy boot cookie cutters and realizing that we could create cookie cutters also, but with a twist that reflected our lives. We did some research and realized that there were really no cookie cutters in the shapes of African American children on the market. That’s when we knew we were on to something. We got together, brainstormed ideas, created our first model, an
d received our 3D designs shortly after. We received our models and began conducting baki
ng tests with our cutters to see if the shapes came out and— viola! Our ultimate moment came when we launched our business and were featured on WISTV Soda City Live. We saw that people were interested and receptive to our business idea. That’s when we knew “yeah sis, we can do this.”
It is refreshing to see afro puffs and locs instead of straight pigtails and bowl haircuts for us
to choose from in cookie cutters. Did you ladies already have the vision that your cookie cutters would be designed in the silhouette of black children? Or did this concept come about as the planning process unfolded?
The vision came in the very beginning. When we imagined cookie cutters, our first thought was to create them in the images of our community. Our main objective is to show African
American children that they are valued and represented in the baking world. One way that black kids and adults identify and express themselves is through their hair so we wanted that to be the focal point of our cookie cutters. We wanted little black boys and girls to say “Hey mommy (Hey daddy) that cookie looks like me!”
The Akoma Cares and The Mahogany Kitchen commonality is the love for our black people. Through our work together, we are educating our community on neurodiversity and uplifting our black culture. What led to the decision to collaborate on Neurodiversity Among US?
The Mahogany Kitchen’s goal is to bring about awareness, inclusion, and representat
ion when it comes to supporting our black children. Too often, black children go unnoticed or are pushed to the side when it comes to being seen and heard—especially if they have differences. So when given the opportunity to collaborate with Akoma Cares on Neurodiversity Among Us, we jumped at the idea because it shows that just like the many different styles of cookie cutters we have, our black children come in many different “styles” too, and that is important. No two children are alike and no two cookie cutters are alike so it’s important to not only show them to the world, but to make sure that people are aware that they exist, and understand their perspective and represent them well. That is what we as The Mahogany Kitchen and Akoma Cares strive to accomplish.
In conclusion, what do you hope our children and families takeaway fro
m Neurodiversity Among US?
We hope that every participant gains a new understanding of others and that the children and families develop a new activity that increases their confidence and shows them that they are represented, appreciated and valued not only in the baking industry but in the community and world around us.
Visit www.mahoganykitchen.com to learn more about The Mahogany Kitchen Co. and to purchase your own set of cookie cutters.
You can also RSVP here for the Neurodiversity Among Us event featuring a free cookie decorating activity for children of all ages and abilities.
Children will get to decorate a child shaped coo
kie and sea creature shaped cookie to take home with them. Attendees will also have a chance to win a set of The Mahogany Kitchen’s signature cookie cutters. We hope to see you there!
Interview conducted by Anastasia Ford, DPSS—Akoma Cares