The smell of sugar and almonds wafted through the air as the warmth from the oven basked the kitchen in a comforting embrace. Even more heartwarming, though, was the joy that 10-year-old Eve Welhener shared with her grandmother. The pair had just baked macarons, a French sandwich cookie that is notoriously difficult to make, for the first time — and they tasted perfect.
Since she was 3, Welhener, a sophomore business management student from Vandalia, Ohio, could be found in the kitchen helping her grandma make cakes, Christmas cookies and old family recipes.
“I learned that baking was a skill I could use to make others happy,” Welhener said. “I love giving my desserts to people.”
During her sophomore year of high school, Welhener began giving many of her cookie creations to her friends and teachers at school. Struggling with an eating disorder at the time, she baked excessively but wasn’t eating any of her desserts.
“Once I figured out that this was something I had to change, I knew I needed to find an outlet that would allow me to get more creative with my food. I needed to tempt myself a little bit,” Welhener said. “So, I started making my own cookie creations that had a lot of different flavor combinations.”
As she was striving to overcome her difficulties, Welhener also dealt with the turmoil that many high schoolers face when it comes to figuring out their future. That’s when it dawned on her that she could turn her love for baking cookies and serving others into a business — Eve’s Original Sin Cookies.
“When I was thinking about the name of my business, I was taken back to my eating disorder and realized that society is centered on perfection. But the truth is, God doesn’t call us to perfection,” Welhener said. “Eve made the original sin — God never intended for her to sin, yet He still made a plan to overcome that sin.”
Welhener sought to create a business that exemplified this truth and make a one-of-a-kind culinary experience for customers.
“The idea is that my customers can experience food freedom through creating their own cookie,” Welhener said. “Customers can pick out their cookie dough, either original or chocolate, and choose whichever mix-ins they like to come up with their own flavors.”
Currently, Welhener runs her business solely online with dreams of opening a storefront after graduation. While balancing a full workload at Cedarville University, Welhener also manages her business and drives home periodically to fulfill orders in the comfort of her kitchen. Although Welhener’s business has been successful, she experienced feelings of doubt last spring, which almost caused her to walk away entirely.
“I thought about giving up my business because I was discouraged,” Welhener said. “But one of my professors, Dr. Kary Oberbrunner, made a speech in one of my classes and talked about how entrepreneurship is something you have to just jump into and then learn lessons from there.”
Oberbrunner, Berry Chair and assistant professor of entrepreneurship at Cedarville University, offered wisdom and advice to Welhener that helped motivate her to continue pursuing her dreams. As a result, this past summer Welhener officially established Eve’s Original Sin Cookies as an LLC —?getting her one step closer to fulfilling her dream.
“I’m thankful that God has continued to give me opportunities to grow my skill,” Welhener said. “I don’t know what I’d be doing if I hadn’t been encouraged to go through with this despite my struggles. It’s a reminder to trust the process and run with what God’s given you.”
Located in southwest Ohio,?Cedarville University?is a Baptist university with?undergraduate?programs in arts, sciences, and professional programs, and?graduate?programs. With an enrollment of 5,456 students in 175 areas of study, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio and is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, such as the Bachelor of Science in Management, and high graduation and retention rates. For more information about the University, visit?cedarville.edu.?