I try not to get bummed when I hear the sound of crickets on the other end of the phone when I give someone a quote for custom cookies. I know some people can't imagine spending more than a dollar or two on a single cookie. Before I became a cookie baker I thought the same way. Who knew baking custom cookies took more than a couple of hours? So no wonder people balk at custom pricing. But please, if you will, humor me and take a moment to walk in the shoes of a true creative cookier.
Today I am working on a very special order for my client who has a friend in failing health. She wants something cheery, something "SPECIAL", something that will taste amazing, and most important something different! My client KNOWS that her order will be made in a small batch, with fresh eggs, real cream butter, organic flour, vanilla bean and NO added preservatives! There is no telling what is in the cookies from the big box. I mean, have you read the ingredient list? It reads more like a supply list for a science fair project. That's why she called me and didn't go to a big box.
My clients are all important to me, I seldom do more than a single order at a time. I take the time to create unique, one of a kind cookies for my clients. And most of all, I love what I do with the passion that most big box store employees can not profess to.
I don't work in giant factory, I don't have a staff of even two and I don't have machines that spit out shrink wrapped holiday cookies by the thousands. I DO work with each client individually, researching and dreaming up cookie masterpieces for their special occasion. At times, I invest in a custom made cookie cutters, and order in specialty ingredients just to make sure an order is JUST RIGHT.
I am pretty sure that baker at the Big Box store doesn't get to spend the kind of time I invest creating a single order.
Believe it or not, some cookie orders take SEVERAL days to complete. First there is the shopping day (pretty self explanatory), then on baking day, I get up early to mix, roll, cut and bake cookies from scratch. On decorating day, I am up early again making icing and mixing the colors before I even start to decorate. Then I often work late into the night decorating each and every cookie. You may not even know this but the first layer of icing has to dry completely, (sometimes overnight even) before I add that gold shimmer, airbrush on stripes and chevrons, or hand paint in those tiny details. After all that, then I still have to package them to best suit my clients needs.
Hopefully, this tour of my life gives you an insight to why I must charge more for my cookies than the big box. And guess what? While it takes me hours and hours to do this, I LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT and I really love the look on the face of my clients when they get their cookies...pretty much that one moment is what many true cookiers live for!!
So, here's the deal...I am not much of a blogger. I have tried in the past and failed miserably.