Retail Charm School, birthday edition: Making cookies, raising funds
Friend of Sendle and retail coach extraordinaire, Chris Guillot, does a regular show on her Instagram (@merchantmethod) called Retail Charm School. She dedicated this episode to the efforts of Lauren Ko and Jenn Magofña (Sendle’s fab community manager) to raise funds for two amazing organizations.
Also, it was a birthday celebration.
In this episode, they talked about their own friendship, how they came up with this fundraising idea, Lauren’s gorgeous new pie book, what it is like to cook so many cookies, and so much more.
Watch the whole episode or read the full transcript below.
Where to find Lauren:
Where to find Chris:
Retail Charm School fundraising episode (full transcript)
Chris: Sometimes the best way to celebrate your own birthday is to celebrate someone else.
And in fact, today’s episode of Retail Charm School is about celebrating the friendship between Lauren Ko and Jenn Magofna.
I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to invite on this very special bonus episode Lokokitchen and Jenn Magofna.
Hi. Hi everyone. How are you? I’m super excited you’re here. I see Rebecca. I see East Avenue Press. Hi Nicole.
So, I am chatting with both Lauren and Jenn this morning about their friendship, about the power of the internet, and about coming together to use the celebration of food to fundraise. And that’s what this episode is all about.
Before we hop to it, thank you so much. Before we hop to it, and we bring on Lauren and Jenn, I just wanna welcome you to this episode of Retail Charm School. It’s a video show for retailers and makers.
Today, we’re celebrating friendship. And as I bring Lauren and Jenn on, we are just gonna slow it down, ground ourselves in what they’re gonna teach us today, because it can go so fast. It can go by so fast, and I don’t want it to.
Hi Alicia. Okay, let’s bring these ladies on. Here we go. Please show them some love. Drop some emojis and drop some comments for Lauren and Jenn. Hi.
Lauren Ko: Hi.
Jenn Magofna: Hello.
Chris: How are you?
LK: We’re good. How are you?
Chris: I’m good. Let me make...
LK: Don’t worry, we’re in a quarantine bubble.
Chris: ...make you louder.
LK: Oh should we...
Chris: Better now.
Chris: Oh you’re getting all the love and the emojis.
JM: Oh my God. This is wild.
Chris: Okay. You’ve got your coffee. Do you have something to drink too, Lauren?
LK: Yes, I’ve also got coffee.
Chris: Ah I have water. I drank my coffee earlier.
LK: Probably better for you. Emily’s also got cookies just in case because...
Chris: I’m gonna reach in, and I’m gonna pull a cookie. [laughter] Oh my goodness. I am so excited to hear about all the things.
We’re gonna talk Shine Theory. We’re gonna talk friendship. We’re gonna talk food.
And I really wanna talk through all of the steps that got you two together for a really, really powerful contribution, like an extremely powerful contribution.
So, let’s just tell everyone what we’re leading up to. And please talk really quickly about the fundraiser and the results. And then, we’re gonna follow the whole story through.
LK: Yeah. We are neighbors who live a couple of blocks from each other. And in this weird period of quarantine, part of how we’ve individually coped, or I guess I’ll speak for myself.
LK: It’s like stress baking, but can’t eat or shouldn’t eat all the things that I’m making in my kitchen.
So, we’ve been swapping baked goods back and forth while also rage texting about current events. And it’s this spiral of darkness that is good for mutual support, but also not super productive. So, this cookie bake sale was born out of that. And...
JM: Yes. Yeah. And we’ve both done fundraisers in the past. So, I did a cookie fundraiser a while back. Lauren did a pie fundraiser a while back.
And so, when we had talked about... I think it was a weird text thread where we were both like, “We’re thinking about doing another fundraiser.”
You were like, “We should do it together. We should do cookies. What orgs are you thinking of?” So, that turned into baking off 100 dozen cookies and raising $9000.
LK: Oh my gosh. Yeah. I had no idea.
Chris: That’s remarkable. Amazing. Hold on, I’m gonna...
Chris: That’s powerful.
LK: It was pretty cool.
Chris: Extremely powerful. Before we dive in and you tell all, you tell us all, I’m just gonna love up on you, and your friendship, and you as individuals.
Okay, so look. Lauren raise your hand. Lauren on your left. Lauren Ko is an artist, a self taught baker, and founder of the popular Instagram account @lokokitchen. Yum. [chuckle]
She has roots in sunny San Diego. Let’s just feel the warmth right now in our bodies as we say sunny San Diego, but is currently based out of Seattle, Washington.
Jenn Magofna... Jenn, is the community manager for Sendle and is an avid fan of reading, dumplings, celebrity gossip, and coffee. Coffee. They’re both prepared with coffee.
She currently lives in West Seattle with her family. So, this is who we get to spend our morning with. And it’s been a week. And I feel really honored to spend my morning with both of you.
LK: We feel the same to be here with you.
Chris: So, let’s talk about friendships online and in real life.
And I wanna learn from you both ‘cause I think I personally grew up so extremely awkward. And the concept of friendships wasn’t really fostered in me outside of my circle growing up.
And so, I feel like very much an adult learner. And I feel that you two both really excel in this world of friendships real and online. Tell all.
JM: We are really good at faking the funk I think.
LK: It’s like, “We are, is that what it seems like?”
JM: Yeah. I think... You and I have talked about this before, just sort of embracing community and finding your people, and so it started sucky.
I remember... So I was a huge fan of Lauren’s Instagram account before we realized we were sort of neighbors and lived in the same area and things like that. And she posted something when she was out walking her dog, oh, you can tell your own story.
LK: Oh it’s fine.
JM: Sorry. [chuckle]
LK: It’s like our story since it’s our origin story.
JM: So, yeah, she was out walking her dog, someone was screaming racial slurs at her, and I remember right... I remember thinking like, this is really frustrating because I know that Lauren lives in Seattle and I live in Seattle, and so many people think things like this don’t happen here.
And so, I just, I sent a DM and I was like, “I’m sorry, that sucks.” I don’t even remember what I said, but I think it spiraled into like, “Hey, I live in Seattle too. Oh, I live in West Seattle, oh, I live in this neighborhood of West Seattle. Oh, we live so close, let’s grab coffee.”
And it took a while for things to become natural or feel like we’re in the place we are right now, where we’re doing things together and raising money, but it really... I think, I remember the last time we had lunch, I was like, “I feel like COVID actually brought us closer because of baking and sharing and quarantine and 2020 in general being a hot mess.”
LK: And West Seattle being an island.
JM: Right, I forgot about that.
LK: So rude.
JM: So yeah, I think that that was where it started and where it felt, and it has grown from there. We’re in a book club together, so we read a lot of the same books.
And I think generally have similar thoughts about things in that I’ll go to send her a meme or something, and she’s like, “I was just about to send this to you.” Which feels really awesome to find your people in a really isolating time.
LK: Totally, and the only thing I’ll add is that I also feel like I grew up very awkward and socially uncomfortable. [chuckle]
I’m also pretty shy and introverted, so one, having a giant platform that’s public and on the internet is... I’m still learning how to manage that, but also talking to strangers or like I’m never someone that would just reach out to a stranger and cold email them or cold DM them, but something that the past few years has taught me and obviously this friendship is that sometimes saying yes can be healthy and positive and it can lead to really cool things.
So stepping outside of your comfort zones to build relationships can really pay off sometimes.
Obviously, you have instincts and you know if you jive with somebody or if you’re on the same page, and that really helps. But we were just talking about the first coffee meeting that we had, and I was really nervous and sweaty because...
JM: Me too. [laughter]
LK: I don’t talk to strangers and I don’t just say yes to things and meet people randomly and I’m not super great at conversations, so it was just like, “Oh my God I hope she’s really talkative because… something to distract.”
JM: It was really nerve-wracking. Yeah.
LK: But here we are.
LK: Part of the lesson I think too is, sometimes you say yes to things that make you uncomfortable and there can be a pay off with that.
JM: Oh my gosh, also, we have the phone far away from us so we could fit, so I can’t read any comments, but thank you all for being here with us.
Chris: Yes. Okay, so here’s the thing, if you all have comments or questions, I’m gonna totally invite you to use the questions feature because then I can actually pop it up on the screen so that Jenn and Lauren can see your comments.
So BeinghereforPeace remembers when you shared the story, Lauren, and she says, “It’s such garbage, because it is such garbage.” and I think the vulnerability of saying like, “Hey, my community is here and I don’t know you yet, but I’m about to get to know you in a real good way.”
And sometimes even the technology, I think of Instagram can help pre-qualify our community, and like I’m coming forward and you’re coming forward too, and now I can be awkward and have awkward sweaty coffee together. [chuckle]
JM: I’m always sweaty after these things, like it’s fine. [laughter]
Chris: I love it. Do you... So Jenn and I met because she is so good at just saying, “Hey.” And for me I have to be quick to respond back because if I don’t, I get in my head.
Like I just am like, “Uh.” and then I dread it and then I get it my head. So I responded back to Jenn right away. So I’m like, if she’s taking the time to say hello, I’m gonna say, hello right back.
Lauren, do you have a strategy like that?
I can imagine that people fall in love with you through your work, and that lots of people are sending you lots of things, how do you manage through that, particularly on a platform that feels maybe more public than you might be just walking around in the street?
LK: Yeah, good question.
I feel like it’s a perpetual learning experience, and I’ve had to learn to set boundaries for myself that even if people are reaching out and writing really nice things or I would love to respond, I just don’t have the capacity or time to do that, and that’s okay.
I’m that kind of person, if I see notifications building up, I have to clear that. [chuckle]
Obviously, I can’t do that, so it’s just learning boundaries and reminding myself that it’s okay if I can’t respond to everything, if I can’t meet up with everybody, just doing what I can, and also, in this unorthodox weird year of just doing what I can or doing what we all can to survive and doing whatever’s healthy.
So yeah, sometimes it’s like, “Oh my gosh... “ It will haunt me that I haven’t responded or maybe I should have said something else, or that things are piling up, but then other times it’s just understanding that I’m just one person and especially with these crazy times, just do what you can.
Chris: So Emily525 was giving us some laughing emojis because I think that they are also empathetic with the plight of like the sweaty, like … people are not so sweaty.
But I will tell you, ladies that Rebekah from Rebekah J Designs is also in West Seattle and I think she wants in on this sweaty friendship that you got going on.
JM: Okay. I love that.
Chris: Alright. Hello everyone.
If you’re just joining us, I’m with Lauren Ko and and Jenn Magofna and we are talking about all things friendship and the power of developing friendship and really activating your communities to do the things that you really, really believe in.
And let’s start with this concept of Shine Theory, because honestly, the concept I know, but the words I don’t. So, like let’s bring it to the forefront and let’s talk about it.
JM: Genius. We’re huge fans of Call Your Girlfriend, just as a precursor to all of this and also their book, “Big Friendship.”
And so I love the idea of Shine Theory. You shine, I shine. You do more, I do more, we’re all in this together. And I think that that really rings true for what we’re doing here, or even like I’ve said before, my favorite quote from 2020 is tell your friends to pull up.
And so part of doing this fundraiser was, how do we find someone to match? Who can we be reaching out to? Is there anyone in our network or our community?
And we found someone, and that’s amazing. But that comes from reaching out to people and maybe having what feels like an uncomfortable conversation because it’s about money.
But ultimately for amazing causes that feel so relevant right now and will continue to be regardless of who wins the election.
And so, yeah, Shine Theory is amazing, big fans of the podcast and the book and the concept in general. I think it’s amazing. And I love the idea of lifting up other women of color and finding places to support folks wherever I can.
Chris: So there are two non-profits that the cookie fundraiser benefits, do you wanna talk about that?
And then I’ll share, how our... People who are joining us this morning for coffee, coffee and connections. [laughter] And then I’ll share with them how they can donate.
So why don’t you talk about the two orgs?
LK: Yeah, so we chose two particular orgs.
We wanted to do something local to the neighborhood, to the city since we’re both here in Seattle. So the first one we chose was Seattle BIPOC Organic, and they’re a food bank and farm where they are growing organic produce and providing it free of cost to the BIPOC community, which is amazing.
They’re basically creating access and pathways to communities to have really great produce and healthy food, and I think they’re just starting out.
They’ve really started growing this year, so we’re happy to be able to support what they’re doing and their programming.
And then the other organization is Black Girl Freedom Fund, and I don’t know if you wanna talk about that or...
Chris: Yes. Yes. [chuckle] Yes.
JM: This is amazing.
LK: Yeah. So we deliberated. We wanted to support a non-local organization.
And we had thrown around maybe some organizations that support voting access or maybe a particular candidate we wanted to support.
But it’s 2020, there’s a lot happening and obviously, Black women need support and deserve to be elevated and deserve to be empowered.
And we just felt like that was people that we really wanted to support tangibly and to continue focusing attention, financial support and continue highlighting.
So we looked around and stumbled across this particular organization and we’re really impressed with the services and programming they’re providing, and obviously targeting a population that I think we should all be continuing to think about and finding ways to productively support.
So we are really thrilled with this response.
Our goal, for the cookie sale was $3000, and it was really just born out of like, “Well, if we’re gonna be baking this many cookies, why don’t we just scale up a little bit and see if anybody wants to kick in anything.”
And then all of a sudden, people were really excited. And yeah, we are thrilled to be directing attention and dollars to actively support work that is being done in our communities, where it needs to be.
JM: Yeah. Just... Go ahead.
LK: Go ahead, Jenn. Sorry.
JM: I was just gonna say, I think even after watching the debate last night and things become meme-able very quickly.
But I saw so many things this morning about Senator Harris saying I’m speaking and just being like, “Women everywhere, women everywhere, women everywhere, feel this.”
And it’s like, “Yes, but a Black woman did this labor for us. This is a Black woman who we need to thank for what she’s doing.” And we continuously need to be thanking Black women for the work that they’re doing, and I think that that rings true everywhere.
And also here in Seattle, where we live in a city where people think that it’s very liberal and all of these things, and we’re post-racial.
Those things are not true. And so thank Black women, support them and uplift them. And part of that is, yeah, tangibly providing money to organizations that are supporting them directly.
Chris: So the quickest way to donate on your phone as soon as this interview is over is to go straight to the Black Girl Freedom Fund Instagram account and their Linktree, the very first button is a donation button.
If you are the type that likes to go vibe, there are fundraising buttons as well, not every organization has a fundraising button. So just know that there are so many ways that you can promote an organization that you wanna help support, in addition to the fundraising button.
Really quickly Lauren. You got a question from Anushka, and she wants to know what inspired you to bake such artistic pies.
LK: Honestly, this whole journey was an accident. I made my first pie because I was unemployed and looking for a job and I had too much time on my hands.
And I had stumbled across some really beautiful pictures of pie on Pinterest. But they were very feminine with lots of flowers and leaves and really beautiful, but not really my style.
And also as a novice pie-baker at the time, I figured geometric designs or designs created with straight lines would be much easier to execute, and that’s just how my style was born I guess.
And it was also this thing of, there are people making beautiful pies out there, but this was something I didn’t see anybody else doing. And I’m always looking to do something different or put a twist on something that’s classic or traditional.
So really, it was just a hobby though. So I was just making it for fun. By the time I started my Instagram account a year after I made my first pie, I was just baking for fun and didn’t super love the office job that I was working in, and this was a creative release and a form of therapy, and I didn’t expect it to be anything.
So when people are like, “Why did you pick pies? Why is the pie art?” I was just like, “It happened and then it blew up and then it became my life. So that’s why.”
But super excited to be here and to be doing what I do, and it’s a huge privilege. And I hope that I’m always a good steward with the platform and the work that I put out there. So happy...
Chris: Okay. So I have a question for people that are joining us live, pop in the comments what your favorite flavor of pie is. I want to know what’s your favorite pie. [laughter] Jenn do you have a favorite pie?
JM: My gosh. Okay, so I’m very lucky that I’m on Lauren’s pie-line. So we get to eat pie that she makes.
But there was a few weeks ago, there was this Oreo crust with sprinkles in it and a matcha mousse, and then very beautiful things on top.
Anyways, it’s on her feed. It’s beautiful. I got to eat it. I feel like I typically like fruit pies, but that pie has stuck with me. And so it was very delicious.
Chris: Oh, we’ve got lovers of all the pie. We’ve got cherry, pecan, peach, lemon, pumpkin. I’m not gonna ask you to pick a favorite pie Lauren ‘cause it’s like asking [chuckle] a grandparent to pick their favorite child or grandchild.
So I will not put you in that position ‘cause I know you love them all. My son turned 13, two days ago, and we were trying to figure out, how do you celebrate for breakfast and lunch and dinner.
And so I asked my youngest, “What special breakfast do you want for your brother?” And he said, “Pie.” And I never... I’m like “Pie, you can’t have pie for breakfast.” Well, it turns out...
JM: You can.
Chris: My son’s great, great-grandfather liked to have pie for breakfast.
Chris: Yeah, so we had apple pie with sharp cheddar cheese. And it was so good, and now I’m convinced you can have pie for breakfast. [chuckle]
LK: Absolutely, and there are also savory pies too. So if you feel a little weird about having a sweet pie for breakfast, there are lots of breakfast options that if you prefer savory in the morning, that can also be an alternative.
Chris: And are there savory pies in your book?
LK: There are. So one of the big ironies... Sorry, I’m not trying to co-opt this friend thing to talk about this...
Chris: No please, I love...
JM: I’m always down for pie talk.
LK: Yes, me too. Okay. Well in that case.
Okay, one of the big ironies of this whole journey is that I don’t really have a sweet tooth. So the reason why I have this pipeline, which is an email list of all my friends in Seattle is that I don’t love pie actually.
I’m not super passionate about it.
When people are like, “What’s your favorite?” I’m like, “Chocolate chip cookie.” But I do like savory pies so there are a handful of really good savory options in my book.
There’s a tart that has potato, caramelized onion and Irish Porter Cheddar that I’m actually not allowed to make that often because it’s so dangerously delicious.
And there’s a mac and cheese with butternut squash and bacon with a cheddar crust. But then there’s also plenty of sweet ones too which I get to happily pass off to people around the city including the matcha mousse with the Oreo crust. That’s in there as well.
LK: There’s... Pie can span a whole range, and I hope I’ve captured some of that in the book.
Chris: I love it. Okay, so I’m gonna brag on you. So "Pieometry" is coming out and you can actually pre-order and get your fair share of both sweet and savory, extremely geometric beautiful pies at lokokitchen.com/pieometry, and the book releases on the 13th.
JM: I love it.
Chris: And you get to order it now. So you gotta go.
LK: Thank you. And if you pre-order before the 13th, I still have stickers left. So you get really fun...
JM: They’re very cute.
LK: Loko kitchen stickers.
Chris: Nice. Okay. So of course, now I wanna go from pie to cookies ‘cause that’s just how I roll. [laughter]
Let’s really talk in detail about fundraising and activation and having fun with someone that you really enjoy being with and doing something that you’re really passionate about, and in case any one of us that are watching today, watching live or watching the replay, how do we just do this as us? And what can we learn from your experience?
LK: Yeah. So I mentioned a little bit earlier, but we were already baking cookies for fun. It’s how I de-stress, and probably Jenn as well...
And were just kind of swapping containers like porch drop-off cookies, and we figured why not take advantage of something that we’re already doing, that we enjoy doing and that people love receiving and find ways to capitalize on that.
And also, I’ll go back to the ragey text, we send each other news article and memes and Twitter threads all day long. And it’s so nice to have somebody who shares your same brain and to be able to process these things and to vent.
But at a certain point you either spiral into darkness together and feel awful, or you share that and acknowledge it and then find ways to be productive about it. And so we figured it’s good to vent, but also, what do we do about it?
And it was just this happy thing of like, “Let’s combine our frustration with something that we’re already doing. Jenn works at Sendle and they’re giving us free shipping, and I somehow have this giant platform with people who are excited about sweet things and just pulling from each other’s strengths.
And going from there.
Chris: So you’re getting hellos from the Ukraine...
JM: Oh my gosh, hello.
Chris: From Italy. I thought I saw hellos from Paris. And I’m quickly moderating this real fast.
So this is why I’m touching my phone and doing some moderation because I am an active... We’re holding space and sometimes this space needs to be cultivated a little bit. And so I just... If you’re looking at the comments, I’m just moderating these comments a little bit.
LK: Thank you.
Chris: Wia Mars can’t wait for their cookbook to come. Okay. And Springs Goodness from New Orleans is saying, “Hey from New Orleans.”
LK: Oh my gosh.
Chris: Okay, let’s talk about the flavors of the cookies, what inspired the variety and the actual logistics of doing the math, the cooking, the relying on each... Really relying on each other’s skills and strengths to make this thing come together.
JM: That makes it all sound very organized, which I don’t think it is. [laughter] I don’t know that it was that organized, but I do think that we... But like Lauren said we both bake a lot.
And so it was just going through our things, of stuff that we’ve either made in the past or that we were interested in baking now. So like the earl gray and orange cookies Lauren found and was excited about.
I made the coconut thumbprints last year around Christmas time and loved them very much. I had not thought logistically about how I was gonna scale 300 cookies.
And so blessed that Lauren was like, “Are we gonna make cookie dough beforehand and freeze it?” And I was like, “Of course. Yes, that makes so much more sense.” And so we’ve been making cookie dough for the last week or two, something like that.
And again, when I say not really thinking about scaling, like Lauren one night was like, “I was gonna make more cookies, but I ran out of butter,” and I was like, “I have butter.” And then she’s like, “I guess I just needed that. ‘Cause I’ve made all 300 cookies tonight.”
And so in my house, it’s been a little bit more staggered, and then lucky to have a community and a platform where we were able to use the Brunch Box website to host the cookie sale...
LK: And pick up.
JM: And pick up. Yeah. So if you’re local in the area you’ll be picking up from there. And then also being able to bake off some cookies there, Paula’s making the caramel.
So it really is a community effort, and then just finding things that I think aesthetically looked pleasing together. It was a fun four-pack of things that looked nice together, and we were excited about all the flavors.
Yeah, that was it. It was... If when we do this again, ‘cause I think that we definitely will, I will probably be more intentional about trying to math what it means to make that many cookies and figuring out how much stuff, because I think that that makes more sense.
But also if you’re an organization who would love to donate ingredients or money for supplies for next time, please let us know.
LK: This really started as a neighborhood, very grassroots kind of thing.
We were just talking before this started and like we should probably send a thank you email when we’re shipping out the cookies but also apologize in advance if things get crushed or any mishaps happen ‘cause it’s really just like two neighbors casually offering cookies because they wanted to fundraise.
JM: There’s no... Yeah. There’s no cookie operation.
LK: This isn’t a professional operation.
Chris: Yeah. [laughter]
JM: It’s our home kitchens, it is our home ovens. Yeah.
JM: And so I think that that... Yeah. The last time I did cookies, I was like, “Don’t come for me if they’re broken.” So, if they’re broken when you get them in the mail, they’re still delicious...
LK: They are made with love.
JM: They are.
LK: Oh sorry. And most importantly, we’re supporting two great organizations.
Chris: Yes. Yes.
LK: That’s the bottom line.
Chris: And I just sent an email this morning to some of my dear merchants about the power of small, and sometimes smaller allows you to move in a direction that you actually wanna move into and it makes things that feel really big possible.
So I wanna use the power of the brainstorm, and I love that y’all are saying where you’re coming from. We’ve got folks joining from the Ukraine. Fundraising ideas or how you fundraise.
Just pop them in the comments so that we can actually brainstorm together if you’re reading the comments. How do you like to fundraise, whether you’re leading a fundraising effort like Lauren and Jenn or whether you’re contributing to a fundraising cause.
Share them ‘cause I wanna learn from you too. I’m just gonna wait for these things to come in because I’m gonna ask you, Tracy and Monica, [chuckle] Springs Goodness and Tina, Olivia, Judy... Lauren we’re making Judy Kim very hungry. [chuckle]
JM: I am also hungry.
Chris: So, let’s chat, just really quickly, I’m gonna put you two, ask a friend, just a fun little game.
LK: Now I’m sweating. [laughter]
Chris: No, no, no, these are gonna be easy, I promise. Favorite way to ring in the fall season.
LK: Complaining about the departure of summer. [laughter]
JM: That’s true, that’s...
LK: Every day we’ve been like, “What are we gonna do?”
JM: When are we moving somewhere sunny all the time? [laughter]
Chris: I close my eyes, I say the words San Diego and then I feel the sun on me.
LK: Yes. A single tear fall.
Chris: Yes. [laughter] I know, a single tear. Emily525 says goodbye sun, yeah a little.
I feel like I lean into the fall season, maybe a little bit more than I might feel enthusiastic for, to see if I can embrace it a little bit more because I’m solar powered too.
Yeah. Favorite way to celebrate your birthday. I feel like it’s hard as an adult. So this is fun for me, favorite way to celebrate your birthday.
LK: We both love celebrating her birthday. [laughter]
JM: I love birthdays. [laughter] I was actually really sad this year because the last two or three years, we’ve gotten people together, just a big group of our friends to celebrate.
Shout out to Cakes of Paradise in Georgetown because their cakes are delicious, we always get a cake from there and... Yeah, I think it’s so fun.
I think it’s such a special way to... I just love coming together with people, I love eating, I love food, and that’s really the best way for me to celebrate my birthday, and also doing this this year was amazing. What a great gift for me to be able to give back, which felt really cool.
Chris: Okay, we have a question actually from Rebecca, “How do you manage your own businesses while you’re fundraising like this? It’s such an undertaking.”
LK: Yes, it is, yes. I think for us since this was informal and grew beyond what we expected, it helped that we were already friends that were regularly communicating and that we’re generally on the same page, so we could just trade-off and take on more where the other couldn’t and rely on the other person.
It was like, I ran out of butter and she brought me some, and then she ran out of coconut, I brought her some. And it’s also like, I baked cookie dough when I could, and she’s been baking when she can.
So just fitting things in where you can and then... I don’t know, I feel like prioritizing is maybe a lame answer, but doing what I need to do for my business first and then doing this as a free-time activity or...
This is sort of a passion project so we’re happy to do it, happy to do this in overtime or whatever, but also just checking in and supporting each other and asking for help when you need it.
Chris: Yes, a great question, Rebecca and as Lauren was speaking, I was thinking of the act of fundraising being an act of grace, but that the journey might not be as graceful as you want it to be.
And asking yourself, “What are you willing to do to bring this thing forward, while being able to make sure that the intention and the grace is still there and offering yourself some grace.” For sure, even for myself and to Lauren’s point, Jenn and I talked about this live stream in August.
Chris: Jen, Lauren, and I talked about this live stream weeks ago, and, I was like a,” Whooo ghost,” until this morning because I had to be really clear about what my priorities were this week for the work that people paid me to do.
Chris: And letting myself know, what does it actually take to pull off a thing at the very end, and then just letting the rest of it be what it is.
We’re getting some shout-outs from brunchboxy...
JM: I don’t know them. [laughter]
Chris: We don’t know them but I love the stranger comment. Shout-out to the guy who dropped off and picked up all the goods between both houses. [chuckle] What a gemstone? [laughter]
JM: That sounds like to give themselves compliments too.
Chris: Let’s give some emojis and some hearts to this guy. [laughter]
LK: We’re waiting for Paulo and Ben to become best friends too because as we share a brain, it feels like they also share a brain and a personality as well. We’re just waiting for that to happen...
JM: Because we were like could we... I was like, Could we do a fun, TikTok-style video to do this and we were both like, “We could never dance.” But then I was like... But Paulo and Ben could and they could do it for us.
LK: And they would do it for free too.
JM: Yes. [laughter] Free labor. [laughter]
Chris: Kinda love this sidekick, buddy friends. Got all the sidekick buddy friends.
I also just wanna remind you all too, that you can donate to the Black Girl Freedom Fund right after you watch this interview, whether you’re watching us live or you are watching the replay, just hop over to that IG account, really quick button to allow you to donate.
So I just wanted to remind you to do that. Oh yay, this is fun. Okay, my last fun, random question. When do you... Oh, what are your favorite holiday movies?
JM: I’m like the worst. I watch all the really bad Netflix movies, like all of them. I watched all of them.
JM: What’s the one with the prince and the woman... I watched... The one with Vanessa Hudgens where she’s both the... I watched it. I’m here for all of them.
Chris: Same, what were you saying?
LK: I’m that lame person that doesn’t really watch TV. I read a lot, which actually is a huge part of our friendship.
How we started talking and texting a lot is that we started in this... She started a book club and invited me and then we just started talking about all the books that we’re reading outside of that, and then swapping books back and forth, because obviously, the libraries have been closed.
So I mostly do spend any free time that I have reading.
Chris: Oh, let’s talk about books, then. What are you reading now? What’s the book that you read most recently that has stayed with you?
LK: Well, I think we both discovered the author Akwaeke Emezi this year, and their books have been life-changing and mind-blowing and they write books that I’ve never seen or read before.
But just feel really original and touch on themes in a way that has taught us a lot but doesn’t feel like a textbook or doesn’t feel forced. So their books are “Freshwater,” “Pet” and we just read The “Death of Vivek Oji”, all of them are excellent.
JM: Truly all of them. Yeah, all three. Also “Clap When You Land” from... It was...
LK: I sobbed.
JM: Yes, yeah.
JM: Yeah. That was, that book is amazing and beautiful.
And also, I think that both of us this year thought... Or before this year, we’re like, “Maybe we’re not huge poetry fans,” and have read some really amazing books from women of color who are poets first and have become authors of novels.
And so that was really cool. And then we read “Mind Your Feelings”, like an Asian-American Reckoning, which felt really important for this time. But yeah, I think that one of the first books that we read together that we were both like, “Oh my gosh,” was “Permanent Record”.
Which just like... I have a three-year-old, so like, trying to read at night doesn’t always work out very well but I remember like hiding on my stairway with the light on just being like, “Please Ari, don’t wake up.”
And sobbing and being like, “This book was amazing. Everyone should read it.” And I was like, “Lauren, you have to read this.” It was so, so, so good.
And so I think that that was the beginning of sort of finding out that we really enjoyed some of the same books. And I read all like, all kinds of stuff. Young adult and textbooks style books, and we both obviously love cookbooks and things like that but yeah, I think that “Clap When You Land” and...
LK: And “Big Friendship”.
LK: ‘Cause of the friendship. That book is so good and I bought it for so many of my friends. Yes, highly recommend that one too.
Chris: I love it. So appropriate friendship. Okay, so we have a fun question. I love it. Thank you, fun question. Packat424, which cake did you eat all by herself? From... I’m not sure in what reference but is there a pie or a dozen cookies or a cake that either of you have eaten all by yourself?
JM: Yeah, the guava cake from Cakes of Paradise, I’d love to eat all by myself. I don’t wanna share. It’s amazing.
Chris: Yeah, I can definitely take down ice cream all by myself. Yes. Yeah, I can take down a dozen cookies, but what we’ll do with the cookies that we bought when you pick up over the weekend is to do it like that. I like to do a cookie taste-testing.
JM: I love this.
Chris: Where I tie them up like their little pies and then I make my kids intentionally slow down.
And then we take just these little triangles and we eat them and we close our eyes and we try and identify the ingredients and what we think of the texture and all of that stuff.
And then we think about like, what else does it remind us of? So we try to make it an experience ‘cause otherwise we’re just gonna take it down real fast.
JM: Eat all the cookies very quickly.
Chris: Okay, so what do you have there in your hands?
JM: This is the Earl gray and orange. It’s delicious.
Chris: Yum, yum, yum. Oh my goodness. Well, I’m so, so excited to have spent my morning with Lauren Ko of lokokitchen and Jenn Magofna of Jenn Magofna [laughter] talking about Shine Theory, friendship and food, and fundraising.
So it’s been like... It’s been like... Wow, what a day, and it’s so funny because as you mentioned earlier about the coffee and the sweats, I think I had that thing right before our live stream where I was like, “Urgh.”
But now I’m settled, it feels good and it was nice to slow down, [chuckle] and acknowledge all the wonderful things that you’ve done. And again, to remind everyone two important things, you can donate to Black Girl Freedom Fund as soon as we are done with this interview, and you can pre-order your copy of “Pieometry” at lokokitchen.com/pieometry.
And I heard straight from Lauren herself, that if you order before the 13th, you might be able to get stickers, ‘cause there’s still some stickers available.
Are there any last night words of friendship or just whatever you feel like you want to share with us as we wrap up our time together?
JM: I just want to make sure we say happy birthday to you too, because everybody, Chris’s birthday is this weekend too. Big Libra energy everywhere. And I just want to make sure... Yes, what are your plans for your birthday?
Chris: I’m working really hard to take the week off this. Yeah, to say no, to set boundaries. Talking about, to spend time with my family and to eat cookies.
JM: I love it. That sounds wonderful.
Chris: All right, thank you so much. It’s been wonderful. Thank you everyone for joining us.
LK: Thanks for making space for us. This was delightful.
Chris: Thank you for making space for me. Bye.
JM: Thank you, bye.
LK: Thanks, everyone for tuning in.
JM: Thank you.
Chris: Thank you