by Terry Rogers
Anastasia Jackson began crafting three years ago, making and selling mesh wreaths. Although she sold a few of them, she wanted to do something different. In 2017, she found YouTube videos that demonstrated how to make paper flowers and Cookie’s Paper Petals was born.
“My husband purchased some cardstock paper,” Jackson said. “I got a glue stick and a glue gun, and I was off and running. I posted a few pictures on my Facebook page and people really liked them. We had little paper flowers all over the house.”
After one of her friends shared a Facebook post, Jackson was contacted by someone in Texas who wanted to purchase 200 of her flowers. It was then she realized she needed to research and learn what to charge for them and, in 2018, she created a business page on Facebook to sell her creations.
“Once I had the Facebook business page up, people started telling me I needed an Etsy page,” Jackson said. “So, I created an Etsy page and started selling. After that, the question was about our website, so we launched a website at the beginning of the year.”
The owners of My Sister’s Fault, Angie and Rous Robles, asked Jackson to come hold a class teaching people how to make the flowers. The sisters talked to their landlord who allowed Jackson to use an empty store space next store to the bakery.
“We had about 40 people come out,” Jackson said. “What was interesting was many of the people who came out to the class were not followers of My Sister’s Fault. They learned about it from my page. I had people from New York, Pennsylvania, all over for the event. Angie reached out to their landlord and he contacted me about renting the space.”
Jackson said that she has had tremendous support from the Robles sisters as well as other friends who own businesses in the area. She is a member of Downtown Milford Inc. and is excited about the plans the organization has to encourage people to come out again once the pandemic lifts. Jackson cannot say enough about how supportive everyone in downtown Milford and the local community have been in getting her business off the ground.
“It may seem crazy to say this, but I think this is the best time to open a new business,” Jackson said. “Especially right now in downtown Milford. I just feel like there is so much unity and support here. I was born in Milford but moved to Dover in the 5th grade when my stepfather and mother were transferred there. When I became an adult, I came back to Milford.” Jackson has two children, a 10-year old and a 14-year old, both of whom promote her business with TikTok videos. Her older child also helps her in the store sometimes, explaining what the flowers can be used for.
Every Thursday at 6 PM, Jackson offers classes in her Milford location. She only allows five people at a time in order to allow for social distancing and masks must be worn while in the class. An automatic, hands-free hand sanitizer is available as people enter the store as well. She precuts the flowers to reduce time and tries to keep all classes to an hour or less.
“Currently, I am only open on Saturday and Sunday, but we are selling out just about every weekend,” Jackson said. “The most challenging part is keeping the shelves stocked. The good part is that if someone wants something and I am out of stock, they can simply order online and pick it up at the store the following week.”
Jackson does not have any employees, although her husband helps her cutting the petals. She is only using a small cricut machine and is saving to purchase a larger cutting machine that will allow her to make flowers more quickly. By next year, she hopes to have at least two employees so that she can be open more days through the week.
Cookie’s Paper Petals is located at 10 Southwest Front Street in Milford. The store is open on Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM and on Sunday from 1 PM until 5 PM. Classes can be booked online at http://wwwcookiespaperpetals.com.