Despite a growing trend toward healthy living, Americans continue to enjoy eating cookies. U.S. sales in the cookie category exceed $8 trillion per year,1 and the average American adult eats about 19,000 cookies over a lifetime.2
Today is National Cookie Day, an excuse to indulge your sweet tooth and learn about women and girls who combine their entrepreneurial spirit with tasty recipes to create cookie empires.
In 1977, Debbi Fields opened her first cookie shop in Palo Alto, California near Stanford University, encouraged by friends and family who agreed she made the best chocolate chip cookies. She largely credits her success to perseverance, as she carried her cookies and business plan from bank to bank until, finally, a banker gave her the 21% loan she needed to launch the business. Today, the company is owned by Famous Brands International and sells its expanded cookie line at over 300 retail locations globally and online.
Kathleen King/Tate’s Bake Shop
Rachael Ray deems Tate’s Bake Shop cookies an ‘overall favorite’ with a cookie that looks homemade. The company was founded by Kathleen King, who began baking cookies at age 11 and selling them at her father’s farm stand. King started her official baking career in 1980 at age 21 and in 2005, after a business deal with partners went bad, she launched Tate’s. In 2014 she sold a majority stake in the business for $100 million. Today, the product line has expanded to include gluten-free offerings and the company is now owned by Mondelez International, which has increased cookie production to one million cookies per day.
The Girl Scouts
For more than 100 years, the Girl Scouts have been selling cookies to pay for troop activities. The tradition began when an Oklahoma troop baked and sold cookies in the local high school as a service project. The original recipe was a sugar cookie wrapped in wax paper and sealed with a sticker. Today, more than one million Girl Scouts develop entrepreneurship and leadership skills by selling over 200 million boxes of cookies, generating approximately $800 million in sales. Not surprisingly, Thin Mints are the best seller, with Samoas in second place.
A chain email leads to two great cookie recipes
Have you heard the myth about the woman who purchased the Neiman Marcus cookie recipe for what she thought was a cost of $2.50? When her credit card was charged $250 instead, she retaliated by emailing the recipe to everyone she knew and suggested they do the same. Although the story is not true, the recipe that circulated is quite good. The actual cookie recipe (which Neiman Marcus shares, for free, on their site) is not the same as the chain mail version but is also quite tasty.
Interested in starting your own cookie empire or other entrepreneurial endeavor? Your Luma Wealth advisor can help guide you.
1 Cookie Champions, Food Business News, 9/13/16.
2 Cookie monsters! The average American adult eats 19,000 of the sweet treats in a lifetime, DailyMail.com
3 Dollar sales of the leading cookie brands of the United States in 2017 (in millions U.S. dollars) Statista.com