In this world, the lucky ones have their families to turn to for support when things are not working. Many can identify with this especially when the pandemic was past cockcrow, leaving everyone lost on how to pick up the pieces of their life back. How, then, can humans survive in forced isolation and closure of businesses? They adapt and change, usually with a solid tribe they can count on.
This basic truth remains and is evident in Michael Williams’ tale of adaptation—best signified by SALAMAT Cookies!™ that specializes in Filipino-inspired flavors and recipes. Michael was born big, and one would think that a baby like him will be strong amidst adversity. Needless to say, he wouldn’t be that way without his mother’s ample care which lives on during these trying times. She stayed by his side when things got tough, helping him reach his milestones as a business owner such as baking their first 1,000 cookies, having their first local (Wyliepalooza) and out-of-state pop-ups in New York (Kabisera), and being featured on NBC News Stay Tuned. Indeed, the power of love especially of a mother is simply wonderful.
Michael is an artist who is good at translating personal hardships into creative projects revolving around photography, cinematography, and storytelling, along with fostering genuine connections with other life. However, he lost all photography income due to the pandemic. He then pivoted to learning how to bake cookies with his cousin and nephew so he could give the cookies away as a token of gratitude when work was hard to come by. The push that the universe baked for him was when a friend finally asked him if he was selling the cookies. And SALAMAT (thank you in Filipino), his business was born.
As a business born out of love, it’s inevitable that they grow and prosper. Michael believes that more than their tasty cookies, what they do is about bringing people together, one cookie at a time, and shedding light on the Filipino culture, flavors, and its people.
The family-orientedness trait of Filipinos is being reflected in how they run their business. They stand by the phrase, "we wouldn't be SALAMAT without you" as they’ve been receiving aid in coming up with and suggesting new flavors, supporting their pop-ups and merch drops, and even sharing their story/cookies with the world.
From the 300 cookie goal to help him pay rent back in May 2020, they have since baked 30,000 cookies that bring warmth to people’s homes. The SALAMAT community has been the life force that has kept them going in the best of times and through the most challenging ones. Michael got his tribe intact, empowering him and SALAMAT Cookies!™ to survive. At the same time, people who receive his cookies would have another reason to continue their fight against COVID-19 because they will know that there’s a community ready to support one another with a full stomach—a Filipino's recipe for kindness and gratitude.
With every cookie, the community becomes richer and stronger. In the near future, they’re looking into expanding their business to multiple cities, grocery stores, and coffee/boba shops around the United States. They would also love to host spaces that can give other small businesses a platform to grow their own trades and passions as this would be one of their ways to give back to the community.
SALAMAT Cookies!™ definitely means a lot for Michael. Though, more than anything, it is something personal. He has further learned to be vulnerable with family, humbled that he is not a conventional baker, and embraced the difficult practice of consistency. Like the name of his business, SALAMAT, he is constantly reminded that he is and should be always rooted in gratitude. Life, in general, is a gift after all.
To Michael who shared the gift of himself and his cookies to the community, maraming salamat.
Get your sweet fix with SALAMAT Cookies!™ at www.salamatcookies.com or @salamatcookies on Facebook and Instagram. For press and inquiries, you may contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re free, visit their pop-up at Brew Lounge at Des Plaines on March 20-21! Take care, and observe safety precautions.