The People's Choice - Vote now!

Entrant: The Vegan Treatory

City: Auckland


About My Business

The Vegan Treatory makes cookies. Delicious big, chunky, vegan cookies! Since it was founded in early 2020, The Vegan Treatory has developed a wide range of classic and unique flavours and has grown a supportive and dedicated following of cookie lovers, carving its own 'sweet' path as the "Willy Wonka of Vegan Cookies".

Being a one-woman-show, the cookie creator behind The Vegan Treatory is Stephanie van der Merwe. Stephanie had the vision that choosing vegan shouldn't mean giving up the comfort foods we all love...i.e cookies! With a background in nutrition, a flair for creativity and a love for all things sweet, Stephanie knew that she could create a range of vegan cookies that would taste just as good as their non-vegan counterparts...if not better, some might argue!

With humble beginnings, Stephanie started The Vegan Treatory in a small home kitchen with her mum's old mixing bowl and a wooden spoon, making small batches by hand and personally delivering them around Auckland. After the first few months of production, demand quickly grew and Auckland-only delivery became nationwide delivery, allowing freshly baked cookies to be delivered anywhere in the country directly to your doorstep. In addition to online orders, our cookies can be found in cafes around New Zealand. The Vegan Treatory regularly releases special, innovative 'limited edition' flavours online and loves to collaborate with other New Zealand brands like Fix & Fogg and All Good NZ.

"Having an Italian mother, a South African father and being born and raised in New Zealand, I have definitely got all three cultures of cuisine running through my veins! Food has been such a medium for celebration in my upbringing. Food is an experience to be shared with each other. Food is love. Food is joy. I'm grateful I have a platform to share my vision and my value of celebrating food. I'm proud to provide an opportunity for people to take a moment in their day to appreciate the little things...cookies!"

Why We Should Win The Peoples Choice Award

Two and a half years in, although still a one-woman show, things look a little bit different at The Vegan Treatory...I've upgraded from my mum's old mixing bowl to a big commercial mixer, and I now make hundreds of kilos of cookie dough every week for up to 11 delicious flavours in a small porta-cabin that sits on my driveway (because there's no space left in the house!). I still roll each and every cookie by hand using my trusty ice cream scoop, bake them all myself, and individually seal each one in a home compostable, plant-based bag, but now I'm sending out hundreds, sometimes thousands of cookies every week! I take pride in every single step, from dough to delivery.

The Vegan Treatory has reached full cookie capacity, so at the end of July I will be moving out of the home kitchen and into a larger commercial space which I will be turning into my very own cookie factory, pink walls and all! This scary but exciting step will allow me to expand my range of treats and bring some cookie stars on board to help with production and more!

So what makes The Vegan Treatory extra special? Don't get me wrong, I know I don't provide a service or product that is fighting climate change, curing cancer or shooting rockets into uncharted territories of space. I make cookies. But cookies are only half of The Vegan Treatory's story. The Vegan Treatory is about providing simple moments of joy in our otherwise busy and complex lives. It's about connection. It's about the messages of anticipation I receive from customers awaiting their cookies each week, the messages of excitement as they open their cookies and share them with loved ones. I also provide customers the option of including a handwritten note when gifting cookies, and every week I'm hand-writing messages ranging from love letters, birthday wishes, anniversary celebrations, even sexy intimate notes, to apology letters, a note to a friend going through a tough time, or to someone experiencing a loss.

I would love to win the people's choice award for The Vegan Treatory because I enjoy making even the smallest difference, one cookie at a time, with each and every crumb. It's what I do best, and I'm passionate about it. Food is love, food connects people, and that's the reason I had this cookie dream in the first place. It's so much more than just cookies.

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