Things weren’t always smooth sailing for Allison Cardona, founder of the Custom Cookie Company. Allison’s passion is creating miniature, edible works of art, and her cute little cookies are attracting the attention of a whole host of organisations – including VAX, CBeebies and Churchill Insurance, to name a few!
Similar to so many successful new businesses, Allison’s first orders came from her friends and family… so how did she go from home kitchen to global success? In Part One of a two part feature, we get to meet the maker and creator of the Custom Cookie Company.
How long has the Custom Cookie Company been running and what made you start?
It all started back in 2008. The popularity of cupcakes was going through the roof. Cupcakes are tasty and great to decorate, but they don’t travel well at all! That’s when I realised cookies would be a better option – what better way to communicate?
I’ve always enjoyed baking and inventing new recipes, plus I have a degree in food science and experience of working in several large commercial bakeries. I was asked to bake some cupcakes for a friend’s wedding, but I also baked a small batch of gingerbread men and women. I thought they’d make great favours for her guests – and luckily, they went down a treat!
What help did you have to get started?
I had help with my first website. It was a simple design, but was enough to get us started. We started taking orders immediately and it pretty much continued from that day. I am now grateful to have a great team working with me now. We work hard but have fun as well – and there’s a great team spirit.
How soon did your business take off and what were those early days like?
Those early days were full of trials and many hours of hard work! I’ll admit, there were even a few tears sometimes, especially when I got overwhelmed by it all. I started with just a name, a handful of recipes, and a kitchen full of baking equipment.
The business really started taking off in 2013, when I won Twitter’s Small Business Sunday award and got to meet Dragon Den star Theo Paphitis.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
It’s always lovely to create something that’s totally individual and unique, especially when I can create a bespoke box for a special occasion. There’s also the feedback – it’s great to receive testimonials and thanks from delighted customers.
Do you have any advice for beginner bakers?
Yes, I do. I suggest you stick to three golden rules – never give up, word hard and remember, the customer is always right!
In Part Two, we’ll discover Allison’s secret wish list order and how 2015 is looking bright for the Custom Cookie Company. I the meantime, if you’d like to explore the edible delights Allison produces, take a look at the cookie page here!