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Small Business Spotlight: How Cookie Wear’s Michelle Smith-Maiden Keeps Her Cool Through It All

If you’ve ever driven through the Hyattsville Arts District and loved the colorful new murals but missed the retro vibes of DC, you’ll be happy to learn that Michelle Smith-Maiden is bringing some flavor.

Michelle is the founder of Cookie Wear Couture, a DC-based vintage and apparel boutique that features handmade designs, curated clothing, and pop culture relics.

The company opened two stores along the Art District’s corridor in August of 2018.

The Farragut Street location sells vintage clothing with a hip-hop, pop, and rock ‘n’ roll vibe. Across the street, Cookie Wear’s other new location carries an eclectic curation of Michelle’s original T-shirts, jeans, dresses, trinkets, books, and CKrush skateboard apparel designed by Michelle’s oldest daughter, Candace.

Loyal customers could not be more excited. They’ve followed Cookie Wear throughout the DMV for the past 17 years. Its original location was on Georgia Avenue in DC, which was doing just fine until the building nearly burned down in a fire.

Next came the spot in Union Station, and now the Arts District, where Michelle feels at home in her new community of small businesses and retailers.

These two new stores are the latest brick-and-mortar additions to what will soon become four total Cookie Wear retail spots. The other stores – one in DC and the other in 

New York City – will feature records, comic books, and more mother-daughter creations.

With a vast and fluctuating inventory, four physical locations, plus an online store, keeping track of sales is Michelle’s biggest job. Not to mention, the mother of three makes time for supporting her family through sickness and health.

To stay sane, she relies on her what she calls “Jedi mind tricks” like meditation and leaning on the support of loyal, business-minded mentors.

But when it comes to her sales data, Bloomforth has her covered.

The Bloomforth platform provides a user-friendly way to see daily sales snapshots and track merchandise inventory. For Michelle, this was a game-changer. Her trust in the Bloomforth platform helped give her the confidence to expand to new locations, including one new state altogether.

Plus, Bloomforth customer service is responsive and down-to-earth, which was the biggest selling point for this busy entrepreneur.

(We couldn’t agree more! In these busy times, businesswomen need to stick together!)

Michelle trained her oldest daughter on Bloomforth, and she is now the acting general manager of Cookie Wear. Together the pair easily manages company sales so the team can focus on providing the kind of atmosphere their customers know and love.

The company was named after Michelle’s late stepfather, who was known for his kind-hearted and fun-loving attitude.

And, of course, for his bomb cookies.

“He was famous for his oatmeal cookie,” says Michelle. And it sure sounds physics-defying – crunchy yet soft inside, with a slight hint of almond. Enough to make you order that T-shirt in the next size up and feel no regret for eating five before dinner.

Michelle’s stepfather passed away in 1996 while she was working with Sony and Relativity Records. His passing inspired her to make the switch from designing promotional tees to promoting her own designs. She soon wanted a space to sell her fashions and help people celebrate the joy in life.

“When people step into our store, they feel like they are in Brooklyn or Harlem, somewhere fun like that. There is a lot going on when you come up there,” Michelle says.

And through it all, Bloomforth is there.


Learn more about Cookie Wear by visiting their Facebook, Instagram, or website.

You can catch Cookie Wear at DC’s annual TeeCon coming up in May of 2019. TeeCon is organized by Michelle and presented by Cookie Wear.

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