Seanne Blades shows a box of her cookies.

What turned out to be a trial hobby during the COVID-19 pandemic for Seanne Blades, 19, in baking cookies, resulted in her cookies this year reaching some consumers in the United States, Japan and Barbados.

Blades, of Freeport, initially started making cookies in 2019 when she decided to make some for her friend’s birthday.

Blades told the Guardian Media that she “fell in love with the process even though she had absolutely no knowledge about it.”

The idea of Christmas cookies and the ‘Do It Yourself’ cookie kits came about when she travelled to her family in Houston, Texas for Christmas 2019.

“I had a lot of small cousins around and my aunt knew that I liked to bake and organised a day where I baked and decorated with all the kids. I knew immediately when I saw the excitement and joy on their faces that I wanted to continue doing it,” Blades said.

“I feel happy knowing that I get to give other children and families the same opportunity to create fun memories that they can look back on later in life,” she added.

Blades explained that because of its taste and attractive designs friends and family would order her cookies to take with them on their travels.

“So basically those who I know are travelling I’d give them to take to wherever they’re going either by orders or choice. I’m not exporting officially yet as a business, particularly other than mailing it from the post office in the United States to Japan. Someone I knew who went up to the States would’ve mailed it from there to Japan and Houston through the US post office service. They’re Trinidadian but they’re living there for the while. Her husband is in the US Navy and that’s where he’s stationed—in Japan.”

“Really and truly I wouldn’t have gotten as far as I did, without the help of my family. From countless deliveries to my mom helping me rolling out the dough and decorating with me, they’ve been my main support system. I couldn’t have done it without them,” Blades said.

Blades said she strongly believes that the pandemic forced people, like herself, to bring out their creative and innovative side.

“That’s essentially when I took the time to do my research and practice baking. I think it’s evident that other persons capitalised on the opportunity as well with the surge of more small businesses. In my opinion, that was one of the positives to arise since COVID-19,” Blades said.

“Another positive was that families got to spend actual quality time together, baking and cooking. I’m happy that children got the opportunity to try new things with their family, to take their minds off of the concerns of the pandemic. However, I do understand that it was a very stressful situation for a lot of parents, who were not able to meet ends needs for their families and were not afforded the same opportunity as others,” she added.

Blades’ Christmas and New Year’s wish is to “definitely to keep learning and exploring new recipes, as well as working on the management and marketing side of business.”

“I am self-taught so I fully intend to do some baking courses in order to expand my knowledge, as well as learn more about actually managing a business so that I can maintain and increase quality for my customers,” Blades said.

The one piece of advice she gives to young people is to “keep focused on your goals and your goals alone. It doesn’t matter how saturated a field is, the advantages others may have or even what others say about you. Believe in yourself. The mistakes you make will be to help you grow and learn from it. Once there’s a will, there’s a way.”