At first, Olivia Carpenter ’22 didn’t consider a future selling baked goods. Having majored in journalism before realizing her love for business, she scored a fashion internship in New York City—while creating a clothing line infused with the spirit of social justice.
But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it took a toll on the city and Olivia’s dreams. She had options: tough it out in New York with expensive rent, move back to her home state of Ohio, or relocate to Ithaca with her sister, a Cornell student. She chose Ithaca, and while it stalled her career in fashion, it pushed her life as an entrepreneur forward.
Like so many others during the height of the pandemic, she spent most of her time at home, attending online classes, and, of course, baking cookies.
“There was this new coffee shop that was very close to my apartment. And I was like, What if I just had some cookies in there? I know my cookies are good. People absolutely love them. And so, I started making cookies for them,” Olivia says.
“Ithaca has just cultivated this, this me,” she says. Olivia tapped into the community’s resources, like the Business Leaders of Colors and Ithaca College’s alumni network, which offered advice for her small business’s growth.
At IC, Olivia found a community that supports one another and a place where no one has to go it alone. “The college, even the struggles that we've gone through, has brought me to this point and has been very supportive of me. Things would be different if I wasn't here.”