Business OverviewEverybody loves receiving flowers, and everybody loves cookies. If you're a cookie magician--you buy every magazine at the market that features cookie recipes on the cover and then bake up a storm--you can say it with flowers of the cookie kind with a cookie gift business. You can sell a single cookie on a 'stem' or a huge bouquet of tasty morsels in one of several varieties: macadamia nut, oatmeal raisin, the ever-popular chocolate chip--whatever suits your fancy. Bouquets can be tailored to specific events: wedding or anniversary arrangements of meringue kisses, a devil's food divorce posy, or a new baby bouquet of chocolate-chip-off-the-old-block cookies. The advantages to this business are that it's fun, creative and gratifying--you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn't adore cookies. You'll need to be a mean cookie chef--no burnt bottoms allowed--as well as possess a good working knowledge of safe food-handling practices and health regulations, sales and marketing techniques, and of course, a major dollop of creativity.
The MarketYour clients can be just about anybody or any business you care to target, from the cookie-monster-on-the-street to corporate types out to impress customers. You can also sell to restaurants and gift boutiques. Hotel, inn and yacht or plane charters--any business that wants to surprise and pamper its guests--also make good cookie bouquet clients. Have those business clients eating out of your hand by delivering bouquets, along with a brochure, to the people who'll make buying decisions. Offer bouquet-giving suggestions; for example, tell salespeople they can give potential customers a long-stemmed cookie tied up with a business card, or suggest to bed-and-breakfast owners that they place a small bouquet in their guests' rooms. Donate a cookie bouquet to be sold at a charity auction, or a give a batch of single-stemmed cookies to attendees of a charity lunch or dinner. Get your business--and your donations--written up in local publications. Place ads in local papers.
Needed EquipmentSince it's illegal in most states to make foods for commercial consumption in your home kitchen, you'll have to rent or arrange for commercial facilities like an after-hours school kitchen, co-op or business incubator facility, or have your own kitchen converted to comply with Health Department regulations.