Oxford’s Gwen Whitaker was due to get married this month to her fiancé of 17 years Ian Roper.
But although they had to postpone their nuptials due to the pandemic, every cloud has a silver lining, because instead they launched O.M.Gooeys which is already doing a roaring trade.
At first the couple just delivered their home-made cookies each week to their friends and family, but were so encouraged that they began baking for the public as well.
O.M.Gooey has been open for nearly a month now and has a growing customer base, Gwen and Ian currently baking hundreds of cookies every week.
So how did O.M.Gooeys come about?
“We were supposed to be having half baked cookies and ice cream as dessert at our wedding as it’s Ian’s favourite. We’ve been together since we were 15 and he has always been the biggest Cookie Monster I know,” Gwen laughs.
“To cheer us up we decided on our ‘would-be wedding day’ we were going to cook our wedding menu. So I set myself the challenge of making Ian the best cookies he’s ever had.
“Baking always brings people together; a cup of tea and a cookie with a friend helps your worries fade away”
“It took me many attempts to get the perfect cookie, as Ian takes cookies very seriously, but finally I set a cookie in front of him with the perfect amount of crispy edge and a magic gooey middle.
“For the next week we had cookies for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” she adds.
This was only a few weeks into lockdown so Gwen made up some parcels of cookies and delivered them to her parents and friends to cheer them up. The feedback she received was amazing.
“One of my best friends and bridesmaid Cam responded as follows:
“OH MY GOD !!!
“OH MY GOD THE GOOEY!!!!
And there you have it O.M.Gooey was born!
Gwen and Ian take orders until 8pm on Wednesdays and deliver cookies on Fridays direct to your door.
“People are choosing my cookies as their weekend treat or sending them as a gift to friends and family to show how much they care and miss them,” Gwen says.
“On Friday night when the Instagram stories from our customers start and everyone tags me in their pictures, it puts the biggest smile on my face. It makes me so happy!” she adds.
“I don’t know where this O.M.Gooey journey will go but I’m enjoying every little moment”
Gwen was brought up in Oxford with her mum and 10 siblings. She went to Woodstock Primary School, Headington Middle School and Cheney Upper School before working as a dancer in Disneyland and then becoming a make-up artist.
So where did the baking bug come from? “As far back as I can remember there was always a smell of freshly baked cakes in my home. My mum was always a keen baker and I can remember coming home from school with the smell of baking welcoming me through the front door.
“Since then baking has been something I do when I need cheering up. It brings me a comfort I can’t explain,” she says.
“When I moved to Paris for two years whilst working at Disneyland as a dancer and face character (yes I was a real life princess), on my days off or in the evenings I would bake with my housemates to feel less homesick.
“Baking always brings people together; a cup of tea and a cookie with a friend helps your worries fade away.”
For the last seven years Gwen has been working as a makeup artist at fashion weeks around the world and red carpet events, so luckily she’s used to a fast paced environment, which has come in handy with how busy they’ve been.
As for the future, Gwen says: “I don’t know where this O.M.Gooey journey will go but I’m just enjoying every little moment.
“We are just so blessed and lucky to be surrounded by such supportive friends and family,” she adds.
Currently working on postal packaging, in the meantime you can order O.M.Gooeys on Instagram at @O.M.Gooeys https://www.instagram.com/o.m.gooeys/