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KC-area women create side hustles during the pandemic

Both businesses have boomed during past year
Posted at 8:56 AM, Aug 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-19 12:07:51-04

JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. — Two Kansas City-area women have taken it upon themselves to build their new businesses, and despite the tough times because of the pandemic, their businesses have flourished.

Christina Jokerst has spent the last two years perfecting her chocolate chip cookie recipe.

"It was a very long two years. I can't tell you how many times Jeff would come home and there would be dozens and dozens of cookies in the trash and pounds of butter," Jokerst said. "It became this obsession."

The mom of three made these sweet treats for special occasions and always got rave reviews. While in the midst of the pandemic last year, her husband had an idea.

"He said I am going to set you up with a website and you are going to try it," Jokerst said. "I was like OK fine. We will try it for a couple of weeks and the rest is history."

That's when KCookies was born and business boomed.

Jokerst has more than 5,000 followers and is set to do several weddings this year and sell hundreds of cookies each week.

"I try not to do more than 300 to 350 cookies a day," Jokerst said. "That's pick ups. Pop ups, I usually take about 600, sometimes more if we do preorders."

She needed more space once more orders started to come in. So, she turned her sons' man cave into a full on bakery with ovens and packaging ready to ship the treats.

"When I tell you I took their man cave, I took their man cave. They are still upset," Jokerst.

Jokerst is not alone.

Kiley Ossello decided to get into an untapped market, getting family dogs to weddings.

"I decided what I wanted to do is go to a boarder where someone would have their dog say over the weekend," Ossello said. "If they had a family member that was watching the dog over the weekend, I would pick up the dog for the client or for the family member, bring them to the wedding venue and be able to go take care of photos, make sure the dog has treats that way they are playing attention to the camera."

She created Lending A Paw after she struggle to find someone to bring her dog, Ollie, to her wedding. Even during the pandemic, her business too has boomed.

"I have ten clients now, which was more than I was expecting and there is going to be seven for this year even and three for next year," Ossello said.

Both women never expected to develop a side hustle during a pandemic, but they said it was a good way to expand their horizons and earn a little extra cash.

"Get involved, reach out to people, try it, see what works," Jokerst said. "I didn't think this was going to grow or work the way it did. You just never know."

KCookies sell for $3.50 each, while Lending A Paw packages start at $175.