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Cookie Con Orlan-dough!

I have heard that Orlando is the happiest place on earth and this weekend, it surely was! After two years of staying away from each other, getting together with people who love to bake cookies proved to be downright magical. The event involved classes from the MASTERS of cookie decorating, a cookie decorating competition, vendors of everything from flavoring to cookie cutters, to stencils, to glitter and sprinkles. There were celebrity sightings and photo ops. There was a crew from Food Network filming some people. There were parties, games, receptions, cookie tastings, recipes exchanged, and gift trading. It was an electrical atmosphere and it has been too long since we have been able to experience the fun and camaraderie that you can only get when 1,000 cookie bakers get together.

At the Cookie Nip booth, we introduced a lot of new customers to our product. They are lured in by the warm aroma of buttery vanilla and salted caramel that is heating in a candle warmer. Then we offer them a taste of a cookie baked and frosted with Cookie Nip. We watch as they eat it. If their eyes roll back in their heads, then SNAP! We've got a customer. Selling bottles of Cookie Nip is reason enough to go but the people we meet, the bakers we connect with, the vendors we share emergency provisions with....THAT is the whipped cream and sprinkles on top of the frosted cookie. We played a game where we hid small bottles of Cookie Nip in plain sight all over the venue. Many people picked up the bottle and put it back down. But those who read the sticker attached were declared a winner and instructed to come to the Cookie NIp booth to claim a prize. We had each winner draw an envelope that contained prizes like bottles of Nip, t-shirts, rolling pins, cookie cutters, and an airbrush machine. We didn't announce the contest. We just waited for the bottles to be found. It didn't take long until the place was teeming with bakers searching for Cookie Nip like it was an adult Easter Egg hunt. It wasn't the size of the prize that perpetuated the fun. It was just connecting with other people who like the same things you do. Our mascots walked around the venue taking photos with participants. We added two new retailers and two new brand ambassadors.

The cookie decorating competition was just as crazy as always. The talent in the baking world is amazing. Those competition cookies will never be eaten. They are just beautiful works of art and showcases of talent. Don't even think about walking by and taking a bite out of one. If I were to spend that much time decorating a cookie like those, I would skip the sugar and just do it on a canvas. I do love seeing all of the talent and things that are possible on the cookies so I am glad everyone does not feel the same way I do.

Marc is typically very agreeable if we are traveling somewhere and I want to stop somewhere special when we are in the area. But, he drew the line at driving me a mere 84 miles over to Tampa to see about Carole Baskin and those big cats. We are usually too exhausted at the end of a day to go on any field trips anyway so I didn't kick up too much dust but I still think he was wrong for that. If you think he should have been more accommodating, feel free to text him and tell him as much. We did, however, drive in the rain to Crumbl to research what that commotion was all about. Yeah, those cookies were amazing. The only thing I think could improve them is making them smaller (it takes about three days to eat a whole cookie) and of course, involving Cookie Nip.

The last day, we received an online order from a customer in Winter Park (which is more in the neighborhood than Tampa). Instead of shipping it to her, we like to drop it off in person. It is not really an ambush, it is exceptional customer service. We were only delayed a few minutes but we met the nicest baking OBGYN and had a couple of minutes to connect with someone who supports us and our product. That's always fun. Hey, maybe if I could get Carole Baskin to place an order for Cookie Nip....... anyone know her personally? I could whip her up some Tiger Butter and send it too! Now I can't wait for Cookie Con Dallas.

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