Junita Flowers had always dreamed of owning a business. She even started down the path to entrepreneurship not once but three times. Each time she was derailed by something she endured for more than a decade but kept hidden—domestic violence. But Junita’s positive spirit prevailed. Somehow, she always found the strength to keep moving forward. She kept working toward her goal. She never gave up hope. The fourth time was going to be different.
Junita’s respite from the dark moments in her life had always been baking. She found great pleasure in spending time in the kitchen—on her own and with her children. It was something she loved doing as a kid too, with her own mother and grandmother. As an adult, Junita began using the same recipes for cookies, cakes and desserts that had been handed down in her family for generations. It brought back memories of the stories shared around the kitchen table, and it grounded her in a joyful past.
Junita’s original business vision was simple: Share her all-natural scratch-made cookies with the world. She started with family and friends, delivering baskets filled with cookies during the holidays. As demand for her products increased, she decided to launch a website. Soon she was packaging and selling her cookies online.
The business continued to grow and so did Junita. She left the abusive relationship and went through a divorce. She began volunteering with organizations that served battered women and families. And as she transformed her own life, Junita realized her cookies could help transform the lives of others as well. In addition to providing for herself and her kids, Junita could use her business to be the change she wanted to see in the world. That’s when she officially launched her social enterprise, Junita’s Jar.
Junita is a strong believer that change happens through conversations—especially difficult ones. So she made a commitment to use Junita’s Jar to facilitate meaningful discussions. Her “Cookies ’n Conversations” programming is designed to educate college students on relationship violence. The goal is to let them know that if they’re experiencing abuse, it’s not their fault, they’re not alone, and there are resources available to help them. She hopes to create a community of support and inspire others to take action against domestic abuse. She donates a portion of the profits from her cookie sales to organizations that do the same.
There were times when Junita thought she might have been to blame for the abuse she received. She wondered if things would be different if she wasn’t so outspoken. She knows now it had nothing to do with her. She has made it her personal mission to let others in abusive situations know that they too can break free from violence. And she has made it her business mission to “bake hope into every cookie purchase, helping women live their best lives.”
To learn more about Junita’s business, visit JunitasJar.com.
Photo: Junita’s Jar
About the author: Chris Olsen is a radio veteran turned communications consultant, educator and author of “Whyography: Building a Brand Fueled by Purpose”. Through her work as a consultant partnering with startups, Chris realized her WHY—to support women-owned businesses in confidently communicating their purpose and impact, setting them up for entrepreneurial success. She created My Founder Story and Publish Her as platforms for doing so.