The story of Bella's Cookies
In the early summer of 2004, we decided to start a business as a family. Starting a business that every member of your family can participate in, requires some thought. We tossed around the concept of starting a restaurant (everything from a gourmet pizza place to a breakfast and lunch only place), but with the hours and Bella & Liam being so young just didn't fit for us.
Kelly's a fantastic baker; she does an incredible job on anything that comes out of the oven. Bella (like all little girls) loves to help her mommy in the kitchen - so when Kelly would bake pies, cakes, cookies, and cinnamon buns etc., Bella would always be there helping. I remember one particular day coming home from work and as quickly as I sat down, was proudly told...
"Daddy, I made you some cookies today."
"Yes ... Bella's made you some cookies all by herself."
"What's in them?"
"I let her put whatever she wanted to in them."
I ate about 12. To this day, I remember the ingredients of those cookies & maybe someday we'll re-create the "Original Bella's Cookie," but I'm getting away from my story. The cookies were great.
The next day I had some of "Bella's Original Cookies" packed in my lunch as a co-worker and I headed north to the University of Delaware on a sales call. After our meeting, we got in the car and headed home. She picked up some lunch (I had mine), but I was insistent that room be saved for dessert... for some of Bella's Cookies. She loved Bella's Cookies too, and an idea was born.
That evening I came home and discussed the idea with Kelly.
"What if we started a cookie company called Bella's Cookies? She could be the face and name behind the company. I don't know where we go from here, but it's something to think about." And Kelly thought about it in ways I had never imagined. Bella & Liam (our children) have eaten primarily all natural and organic foods since they were born. Like a piece of clay though, Kelly educated and molded me on organic foods, foods laden with artificial ingredients, preservatives and other bad things. What Kelly realized early in that "cookie concept brainstorming night" was something very simple... kids are kids, and kids love treats. Being a mom and taking your children to the supermarket with you, you pick up a lot of treats, but finding treats that were not loaded with trans fats, hydrogenated oils, artificial colors and flavors, preservatives and high fructose corn syrup was a challenge. Sure, you could find a few things, but they were just never liked by our children.
We had an idea and a problem. In keeping with our own eating habits, we started buying all natural and organic ingredients and making cookies, and we made a lot of cookies. We bought a lot of cookies too. Cookies from established companies... in supermarkets, from bakeries, and from online companies across the country. Here's what we did. We'd take brown paper lunch bags and put 4 individually wrapped cookies in each bag... some of them would be cookies we'd make, some would be competitor’s cookies and inside the bag we'd include a score card. The scorecard judged the cookies on "Look, Taste, Smell, Texture & Overall Quality." I would take these bags of cookies to my clients across Delaware, friends, family members, people I didn't even know, and have them score the cookies in the bag (after all, who could turn down judging cookies). I never told anyone which cookies were ours and which ones were our competitors... the bags were simply labeled A,B,C,D. I'd come back and pick up the scorecard a couple days later, and that evening I would enter all the data into a database. This making, sending out and scoring ours and our competitors cookies continued until we started noticing our cookies pulling way ahead of everyone. At this point we just sent out our cookies, but still would never tell that. And there comes a time where you don't know what else you can do to improve something (the scores were perfect), and after 75 recipes, "Champion Chunk" was born... the victor, and properly named.
Bella's Cookies, a business concept... Bella would be the face and name behind the company, but also serve a more important meaning to parents, grandparents and children themselves... a reminder that little bodies are growing bodies and growing bodies just shouldn't have certain ingredients... trans fats, hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors or colors, preservatives, refined sugars and high fructose corn syrup. Children often don't have a choice or much of a choice in what they're fed... eating what we as adults and/or parents feed them.
On July 4th 2005 "Champion Chunk" was publicly debuted. A friend of mine with a retail establishment allowed Bella and I to set up a table in his store and sell cookies. It was a small start, but after that day word of mouth traveled. Soon, parents feeling just as we do about their children's health and nutrition found us, then people concerned about what they were eating found us, then all-around cookie lovers (real cookie lovers have a knack for finding great cookies) found us, and those specific groups have now started to really grow. Everyone enjoys a great cookie, and if you're going to eat a cookie... eat a cookie, a big cookie... Treat yourself right!
In case you missed these when they first appeared, click the title and a PDF will open.
Bella's Cookies tags always had a creative story that was written about each "Signature Cookie". Here are some of the more memorable tags.
Some of our favorite photos
retail shelf talker
These used to be placed in small Natural & Organic Food Stores.