Sophia Jordan started Black Bottom Biscotti nine years ago when she saw an opportunity.
The idea for the company came when the bakery that she regularly purchased her favorite biscotti from stopped making it. She knew that store-bought biscotti wasn’t what she wanted. She acted and crafted a recipe for a cranberry pistachio biscotti and the encouraging results inspired her.
She started selling it at craft fairs and to people who wanted to give them as gifts, as well as for their own personal enjoyment. She negotiated a lease with a building owner and in October 2012, she opened the doors of Black Bottom Biscotti.
For Jordan, her business isn’t just something she loves — it is part of who she is. “I want to leave Black Bottom Biscotti as a legacy to my future generations,” Jordan said.
Black Bottom Biscotti creates biscotti and scones that are individually packaged.
All products are made in-house from scratch from real butter and real eggs, with no added preservatives.
“Our biscotti is flavorful and filled with particles like nuts, dried berries, and chocolate chips,” Jordan said. “They are dried to be crisp, not rock hard, so you decide whether to dip or not to dip. We call it ‘Undippably Edible.’”
This holiday season, the company will reintroduce its Rugelach, a Jewish cookie that has a butter and cream cheese-based pastry with a filling rolled into it.
The biscotti and scones are also sold at local coffee shops and specialty stores and are shipped throughout the United States. Corporate rates are offered and gift packages can be customized for mailing.
“We don’t skimp on added ingredients,” Jordan said. “Most of the commercial biscotti I’ve seen had very little cranberries and nuts in their cranberry and nut biscotti.
“You can see and taste the cranberries and nuts in ours. Then, we dip them in a decadent chocolate coating, white or dark. When we started it was just dark chocolate, hence the [company] name, which also became a play on me being African American. But as our flavors expanded, we needed white chocolate for flavors like lemon blueberry, lemon poppyseed and pumpkin spiced.”
As with any business, there are learning curves.
“The biggest challenge I have faced and had to overcome was me,” Jordan said. “Never having been in the baking or any food industry, I learned on the job. “There were things I didn’t expect, like the real cost of running a business,
when and how to let an employee go, and how to keep an employee you want to keep. And of course, COVID, which I continually work through. But the biggest challenge I have had to overcome is going from an employee mindset to one of a business owner. This is an unexpected transition I had to make and am still making.”
Jordan is committed to learning the skills needed to keep expanding Black Bottom Biscotti.
“There is no 9-5, there is only get it done,” she said. “In looking for help from others and asking questions, I feel more confident and less afraid.”
In 2019, Jordan noted that Black Bottom Biscotti saw a record decrease in sales of 36%. However, so far this year, it had an increase in gross sales of over
100%, mainly due to its mail-order option. She has also noticed more people wanting to buy local and small.
“COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement were instrumental in people seeking out ways to gift in the midst of isolation at home and supporting small, local Black-owned businesses,” Jordan said.
She noted that partnerships from local businesses have been important to her sustained success.
“Ted and Wally’s and A Hill of Beans have been with me since the beginning, and we are still doing business together,” she said. “I believe working with each other is crucial to economic growth in Omaha and I continually reach out to small businesses like myself to do business with.”
A Sweet Outlook
The outlook for Black Bottom Biscotti is a positive one. Jordan is working to increase brand awareness and sales by working with a marketing company. She is also looking at different business models and is in the process of writing a business plan for the next phase of the company, which will be moving to a new location.