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Lisa Liu

Episode 103

Connection between HR and Cookies

Lisa Liu, the founder of Cairn Cookies, loves creating deeply impressionable flavors and a cozy environment. Cairn Cookies was made to bring comforting memories and joyful tastes to local neighborhoods.

Lisa found that she could connect deeply with the community at the farmer’s market. She was able to combine a love of flavors with the love of creating efficient operations and enjoyable culture for employees in this business model. The company has grown from home-based sales during Covid into upcoming expansion to multiple weekly farmers markets in the summer.

Cairn Cookies packs excellence into the experience of savoring a cookie. Each bite of our cookies will remind you of a favorite cookie from the past and evoke feelings of comfort and nostalgia. Our motto is “Take a bite. Relive the magic.”

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Lisa Liu Quotes

  • “I want my kids to be able to come by after school, sit down, and do their homework in a warm, inviting setting…”
  • “It definitely takes a lot of courage and a lot of planning.”
  • Lisa grew up in the San Gabriel Valley. 
  • She was bullied in high school for her mixed heritage. 
  • She befriended a teacher in high school who taught her how to follow her passion for baking.
  • She neglected her passion for baking and followed went into business schooling college.
  • After working at Disney and her family’s business, she launched her own bakery. 


Scott and Russell sit down with an SGVer who has a knack and passion for baking. So much so that she opened her own bakery called Carin Cookies. She wanted to translate her love into a safe business and a place where she could share her passion with the SGV.

What are Carin Cookies?

A bakery for the local SGV area. Currently, they are selling at the Pasadena farmers market and online. It’s really just starting, but Lisa is working very hard to grow it.

Russell met Lisa at the Pasadena farmers market, and that’s what brought Lisa on the show.


What is your connection to the San Gabriel Valley?

Lisa grew up in the area and has lived here all her life. Her husband has as well. Both love the area and wouldn’t want to leave.

How did you get into baking?

Lisa started baking in high school when she was in baking classes. She really connected with the teacher and inspired her to bake. She almost went to Cordon Bleu culinary school, but her father pushed Lias toward business school instead.

This teacher is what really encouraged Lisa to follow her passion for baking all these years after high and after she had left Lisa’s life.

She helped Lisa focus her energy from the bullying in high school from her mixed ethnicity into cooking.

What did you do in college?

Lisa went into HR in college in an effort to help others. To support others and to help them care for themselves.

After working at Disney for some time, Lisa went to do HR for her family’s business. Because the business closed, Lisa transitioned into following her bakery passion.

What does it look like to move from one industry to another?

Planning and the courage to pull the trigger. Lisa talked to others with similar business models, and from that, she learned from them as well. Lisa gave them her experience, and Lisa learned from the other businesses.

What do vetting cookies mean?

They started testing the cookies themselves. They actually gained weight from the cookies.

Lisa would have her friends come over and have them try her cookies. She dissected her recipes and watched tv to learn even more.

What type of cookies do you make?

A really unique cookie Lisa makes is the ghost pepper cookie for October only.

She also has a honeycomb toffee brownie.

The best seller is the chocolate chip cookie.

Depending on the event but the white chocolate macadamia nut is the second.

She individually wraps the cookies right now, but one day her goal is to have them on display for her clients.

Picture of Lisa Liu

Lisa Liu

Fiore Market Cafe in Pasadena

The San Gabriel Mountains 

Cookies and Cream (closed)