Monday, February 7, 2011

The Cookie Jar: Meet Lisa Stone {Exclusive Interview}

Lisa Stone of The Cookie Jar is an incredibly gifted cookie designer, a genuine and *very* kind person, and a great inspiration as a true entrepreneur. I consider it a tremendous honor and privilege to know her and have had the great opportunity of working with her--she always pulls through and delivers above and beyond what I could hope for!

It brings me great joy to share with you a recent interview I conducted with her. Prepare for insight, and suprises!

                   {image by Open Shade Studios}

{Question} How did The Cookie Jar come about? Tell us a bit about everything from the conception of the idea to current day!

I have always felt the need to create. The memories that stand out the most from my childhood always involve crafting. I have baked ever since I can remember. For those of you who don't know me, let me explain that I am a bit older than most of the women that I work with. I have two beautiful boys who have grown up to become wonderful young men. One of my children is in college and the other is heading off in another year.

                                        {image by Jessica of Pen N' Paper Flowers}

I attended college to become a teacher. I have a Master's Degree in Education. Long story short, I worked for 10 years in an office job and was absolutely unhappy. All I wanted was to be home with my babies and to be creating. The draw was very strong. Eventually, I was laid off of my job and was able to be home where I truly wanted to be. As my childrem grew older, I found that my need to create grew stronger. In my spare time, I became a self-taught jewelry artist. I have also been knitting for 28 years. I tried my hand at selling my goods, but without the help of Etsy, FaceBook and blogging, it fell flat. I struggled to find an item that I believed I could market better. There was no way that I was going back to working at an office and after having been home for 13 years, I had no great skills to present myself with. I decided that I would return to my baking skills that I had been honing since childhood.

I have a knack for seeing trends just before they become mainstream. I am excited to say that I noticed that iced cookies were just beginning to be introduced in the market. I began studying every bit of info I could get my hands on. I learned the craft from beginning to end well before I had the courage to actually try it! Looking back, I think that I did not want to let myself down. I just HAD to succeed. I have now been creating my cookies for over a year and I am so very grateful for the support and encouragement that I receive daily. I have never felt true success until this year.

                               {image by Open Shade Studios}

I don't know how to put into words the gratitude that I feel for my customers, my business contacts and most of all, my wonderful, supportive husband. Ira has worked tirelessly to help me recognize my goals. He has become a baker a decorater, a shipper and my connection to you all. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

                                    {image by Kate Bogot Photography}

{Question} You have created so many stunning cookies (including many for our Wizard of Oz party shoot with Kim of The TomKat Studio) for events. Can you give us any hints of cookie designs we can expect to see from you in 2011?

To tell you the truth, most of our business is custom designed. Our orders are customer driven. When I especially like the outcome of a request, I enter it into my Etsy shop. I very rarely think of a design and take orders from it. We have developed a clientelle that requests cookies be made to coordinate with their invitations and party goods. In the beginning, I was making lots of characters, but I am thrilled to say that we have moved away from that genre and I am able to use my creativity more freely. It is always so exciting to me when I get a request for a photo shoot, for instance. I am able to plan a theme and create from beginning to end. What else could I ask for?!

                                           {Image by Melissa Lester}

{Question} Tell us a bit more about you!

As, I've said, I love to create. I am an advanced knitter ~ something I hold near and dear to my heart. One of the biggest challenges for me has been the lack of time that I have to knit anymore. I never went a day in 28 years without relaxing with my yarn and needles until my cookies took over. That is the truth! I also taught myself the art of jewelry desirn. I LOVE to make sterling and semi-precious jewelry. It is so gratifying to wrap sterling wire and chain and stones. It is so organic.

Most cookiers have hundreds of cookie cutters. They would be able to tell you all about the differences in brands and metals. I decided early on that I wanted to make my own cutters. There is something special about having my own signature shapes. They are not so "cookie cutter"! And I get to use some of my jewerly tools and techniques!

                                         {image by Colleen via The TomKat Studio}

{Question} What are your goals for The Cookie Jar in 2011, and what steps have you already taken to meet them?

Hmmm, that is a scary one! Right now, Ira and I are just meeting the needs. We work incredibly long hours, but we get the work done. We see the business continuing to grow and we know that there will be a time in the not too distant future where we will need to hire more people. That has always been the plan, but as you can imagine, it is a scary step to take. We do plan on opening a shop as well!

                                   {images by Apple Velvet Photography & Jackie Lindfors Photography for The Fresh Chick Design Studio}

{Question} We would love to learn a bit more about the day in the life of Lisa Stone and The Cookie Jar! Can you tell us briefly what a typical day is like for you?

Oh! That is easy! Wake up, work, go to sleep for a few hours! Start again. I am serious about that. I don't think that many people realize the amount of hours it takes to create our cookies. We have to research and design the order, bake them from scratch, make the icing, mix all of the icing colors, decorated the cookies, let them dry overnight, package them, and finally ship them. Oh, and then clean it all up! I hate that part.  I usually get up at 9am. Since my children are older, I am able to work from when I get up until 3 am. Ira is the greatest cook and he even does laundry! I take no breaks except to have dinner. It is a good thing that I love what I do. I usually have one day off if I am lucky and that time is spent preparing orders for the next week. Since this is a family owned business, I have to say that I am lucky I see my family this much.

                                    {image by Becca Bond Photography via Anders Ruff Custom Designs}

WOW! Thank you so much Lisa. You are absolutely one of the hardest working women I have ever known, and your true passion for your work comes through your words in your interview. Thank you so very much for opening up and sharing with us more about you, Ira, and The Cookie Jar!

{image by Open Shade Studios}

I can say first-hand that Lisa is a delight to work with, and in my experience she has always been spot-on and delivered above and beyond my greatest expectations. Love her cookies, which have always arrived perfectly iced and never a crack in all the times I have worked with her!

                     {image by Open Shade Studios}
Find Lisa on Big Cartel here, Etsy here, Facebook here, or her Blog here.


Anonymous said...

your cookies look amazing. i am so impressed with your designs and your colors. they are truly works of art. do they taste as good as they look? where are you located? and do you ship?

Stacy @ She's {kinda} Crafty said...

I just had Lisa & Ira's cookies at my daughter's birthday party this weekend and they were beyond amazing, everyone was talking about them! Pics can be seen here

they are so easy to work with, too, it's no wonder they are a favorite vendor of so many people!!

Melissa Lester said...

We loved serving Lisa's cookies at son Christian's spelling bee celebration dinner, pictured in this post. Not only were the cookies adorable and perfect for our theme, but they were delicious as well!

Anders Ruff Custom Designs said...

Lisa and Ira make a wonderful team. Lisa always goes ABOVE and beyond for cookies. We just used her cookies for "Super Pierson" party and she was so creative in her cookie making! (Can't wait to show that photoshoot soon).
Lisa is a true talent and SUCH a wonderful person too. Great writeup, Kate. Thank you!
Anders Ruff Custom Designs

Sunny simple life said...

These are works of art. I would hate to even eat them they are so stunning.