A South LA cookie mix company with heart, history and kindness – anyone can make Lura’s cookies.
“VSEDC is the foundation of my business”
Lura Ball is well acquainted with Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation. She has worked with a business coach at our South LA BusinessSource Center and fine-tuned her business skills with the free VSEDC small business webinar curriculum for years while she ran her marketing and public relations consultancy. From the basics of Getting Loan Ready, to our Mastermind series, which introduces the psychology and mindset of leadership, “VSEDC is the foundation of my business,” says Lura.
A multi-generation family-run company
In 2019, she founded Lura’s Kitchen – a multi-generational benefit corporation that offered delicious home baked cookies. Each of her flavors has a back story and are named for someone she knows and loves – her mother Madear, her son Langston, and her great-grandmother and namesake, Lura.
Lura explains how Langston’s No-Nonsense Chocolate Chip cookie mix got its name. “Langston is my oldest son. He is a picky eater, a can-do kind of person with little time for fancy. Just give it to him straight. No nuts!”
Three generations of Lura’s family run Lura’s Kitchen. Lura runs the business with her sister Shell, who is the Treasurer and Chief Morale Officer. Her daughter, Elle is the Marketing and Social Media Director. Her son Langston and niece Janae are Board Members. Finally, her granddaughter, Trinity, is their TikTok coordinator.
Developing a winning business plan
Together with her business coach at our South LA BusinessSource Center, Lura developed a business plan to develop, scale and distribute her product. However, when the pandemic hit, she saw the need to pivot her micro-business from baked cookies to gourmet cookie 3-ingredient dry mixes that anyone from a novice to a chef can make in 30 minutes. She lowered her product offering from seven flavors to three, and connected with a co-packer to help her vet all vendors and replicate her recipes to her satisfaction.
Getting a Small Business CDFI Loan
With a lean and organized business plan, Lura’s Kitchen became VSEDC’s second CDFI loan in 2021. The $10k small business loan she received was made possible by a Comerica grant to our CDFI loan fund. The money was earmarked for her product packaging for Tura Lura’s Chocolate Chip with Pecans, Madear’s Old Fashioned Tea Cake, and of course, Langston’s No-Nonsense Chocolate Chip cookie mixes.
Lura credits her business coaches in the South LA BusinessSource Center for connecting her to other sources of capital, such as LISC’s KIVA no-interest loan, which paid for the R&D of her mixes and package design.
Since then, she has found an Angel investor.
Next steps for Lura’s Kitchen
Lura’s goal is to land distribution deals with upscale grocery stores such as Whole Foods, Gelson’s and Lassens. She has also targeted specialty stores, farmer’s markets and gift shops as possible markets for her products. With her tempting product, solid business plan, access to capital, a website where you can purchase her product online, and her nimbleness to pivot when needed, we are excited for the future of Lura’s Kitchen.
Watch Lura Ball’s winning 60 second pitch here from VSEDC’s 2022 HerStory event.
Spectrum News feature on Lura’s Kitchen and their tea cake recipe.
Comerica is a generous contributor to VSEDC’s CDFI revolving loan fund, which makes affordable loans possible to small minority-owned businesses like Lura’s Kitchen.