That’s what happened last weekend. And I managed to leave out the remaining Valentine’s Day cookies that had to be produced, so you can probably add a couple hundred more cookies to that list.
(And a dessert table that had to be produced, delivered, set up and taken down on Saturday night!)
It all happened at 5pm on Wednesday. Dave hung up the phone and said to me “I think I just took in an order for 2000 cookies that have to ship out on Monday”.
Well, he did. He took in an order for 2000 logo cookies that had to ship on Monday.
Before I regale you with our amazing weekend tale, let me give you a little back ground info on Dave and Me. Only because I feel a lot of our fans on Facebook have very little idea about who we are, where we came from, and what we ACTUALLY do…come to think of it, I think some of our family members might fall into that level of knowledge.
So, here’s the skinny. Dave was a graphic designer working in a print shop in Cambridge, MA. I was a Retail Human Resource Manager for Filene’s Basement in Downtown Boston. I left my job, worked as a dishwasher, went to Culinary School, then worked as a Pastry Assistant in a high end restaurant, then left to cater events and deliver fresh lunches to clients. That morphed into iced sugar cookies. I was lucky enough to be chosen to appear on the show Recipe For Success on the Food Network. WOW. That was the REAL beginning.
I also landed a sweet deal with the gourmet catalog Dean & Deluca. That was our largest order for cookies. Ever. Over 14,500 cookies for Valentine’s Day in 2006. Before that we had produced an order of 1000 cookies that were shaped like lightning bolts with a 25 piped on them. THAT was a disaster of an order, but we learned a lot, and that is how I roped Dave into the “Biz”.
WHY am I going into this story? Well someone on Facebook asked me if our recent order of 1,975 cookies was worth it. As Liz Lemon would say “What the What?”
OF COURSE IT WAS WORTH IT!! IT’S WHAT WE DO!
Getting back to our history, Dave helped with that Dean & Deluca order. He made all the dough, rolled, cut and baked all the cookies. With a small team I iced and detailed every cookie. The packaging was also a team effort. Paid employees helped us, neighbors, family, and friends helped us. At times it was so overwhelming, especially since we were baking in a large, shared use, commercial kitchen that was 30 to 45 minutes away from a condo we rented (and had inspected and licensed) where the cookies were iced and packaged. It was chaos.
After that, and many more orders both large and small, we figured it was time to move our business to the next level. We sold our condo, Dave left his job, we bought a house with a 4 car garage, and moved from Boston to a rural Vermont town, Mount Holly.
After converting the garage to a production facility for cookies, we thought, there’s no order too big for us now! Not with our very own double convection ovens that can bake 10 full sheets of cookies at a time, 3 bun pan racks that can hold 60 full sheets of cookies, a 60 quart mixer, 3 kitchenaid mixers, stainless steel worktables, and lots of space!
You can take a “tour” of part of the production facility here.
And we were right. No order is too big for us. We’ve been producing cookies together since 2005, and exclusively making a living from A Dozen Eggs Bake Shoppe since 2007. We don’t have huge piles of money hidden away so we don’t have the luxury of turning down an order for 1,975 cookies. We also don’t have the luxury of shutting it all down to spend more time with family, or closing for vacation. If cookies aren’t baking, money’s not coming in. And if money’s not coming in, we’ll be living in our car. Until it gets repo’d.
A Dozen Eggs Bake Shoppe is not a fun little hobby that we do for “mad money”. It’s a real, live, professional business. We don’t miss deadlines and we go the extra mile to make sure cookies arrive on time and in one piece. Customers are never told that if their cookies arrive broken it’s not our problem. We want all of our clients to be happy with their order.
There are occasional times when cookies arrive broken or late and it’s not our fault. That’s when Dave utilizes his extensive knowledge and experience with shipping to get refunded by the shipping carrier, so we can refund our client. We track packages, we call UPS, FedEx or whoever was used to ship your order to make things right and make everyone happy.
Because we’ve tackled so many high volume orders, we know how to organize and maximize efficient production, order supplies, and when to call in our “on call” staff.
Our cookies are costed out to the penny so we can cover our expenses and make a modest profit. I guess what I’m saying is, again, we are professionals, this is what we do. We ice cookies 5 to 7 days a week, 8-16 hours a day. So, yes, getting an order for 1,975 cookies and having only 4 days to bake, ice, package and ship, was totally worth it.
Those kind of orders don’t come around too often. And having a client that is ready to go and approve the order instantly is another rarity. Like that brass ring, you want to grab it and hold on tight!! This order paid a lot of bills for us and made it possible to take an extra day and a half off. Yeah, only a day and a half. You learn to take what you can get when you’re 100% self employed.
I told Dave, if someone were to call today with another order for 2000 cookies that had to ship on Monday… I’d TOTALLY do it all over again this weekend!
That’s what we do.
Check back for the chronicles of last weekend!
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