BIE Feature: June
Submitted by Kathy Leskow, Chief Cookie Eating Officer
What’s your story?
I was a stay-at-home mom with a sweet tooth and big ambitions!
I left my corporate job working in the hospitality industry to stay home with my kids when they were little. As awesome as that was, I found myself needing to do something more. I loved baking cookies and decided to try something new and sell them at my local farmer’s market.
I looked forward to my weekly market night out, and I enjoyed my side gig. But that wasn’t enough, so I expanded to a few more markets. Soon my home oven, mixer, and pans couldn’t keep up with the new demand, so I sought out commercial equipment. Before I knew it, I was running a fully functional, health board-certified bakery out of my home.
Within a few years, my business expanded again: I secured a storefront for Confetti Sweets in Sherwood Park in 2014. Since then, we have expanded into more than just cookies, and have also started selling into grocery stores across the province.
I am no longer found scooping cookie dough but am instead working on growing the business and seizing all opportunities that come my way. I can honestly say this is my dream job. It also helps to get to work every day with an amazing team. They make “work” fun!
When I’m not working, you may find me glamping with my spouse Mike and my three beautiful children, drinking fine wine, and eating cookies, of course!
What do you enjoy most about being a member of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce?
I love getting the Chamber newsletter and finding out what is happening in and around the city! It always showcases cool things to do on a weekend, as well as the business side of events.
The many learning opportunities the Chamber hosts are truly invaluable and makes for a stronger community here in Edmonton. Getting to learn from other members and having a resource to turn to when needed is also awesome.
One of my favorite activities the Chamber puts on is speed leads. As I am an introvert, I really enjoy opportunities that help you network comfortably and efficiently.
What is one thing people are surprised to learn about your business?
People are always surprised to learn that we are way more than just a cookie shop! Whenever someone steps into our bakeshop for the first time, they are excited to learn that we sell more than just cookies, but have grown to include cakes, cupcakes, scones, squares, and more on our menu alongside the many items we carry in our Confetti Collective!
Right before the pandemic hit, we expanded our space to triple its size with plans to offer a seating area and cafe. While this was a tumultuous time for many small business owners alike, we decided to pivot from our original idea and began what is known today as Confetti Collective! Covid meant that a lot of our favorite local brands could no longer sell their products at the farmers markets while things were shut down. So, we invited our friends to join us and sell their goodies in our space throughout the pandemic. It has been such a hit that to this day, we dedicate the entire front end of our storefront to showcasing over 75 local and Canadian made brands that Edmontonians know and love!
What has been your biggest challenge in business, and how did you overcome it?
Knowing when and where to expand has always been a challenge. I like to dream big (I always tease that I want to achieve World Cookie Domination), but I have learnt that bigger is not always better. Sometimes it simply amounts to more stress and a heavier cash flow crunch.
At one time I did have a second location, it was fun and exciting, and it was awesome to get our cookies into the hands of new customers. But as time went on, I wasn't getting to the second store as much as I wanted, and my focus was on other projects. We eventually formed a partnership with another bakery who took over the space and it was a win-win for us both!
When I have big ideas and want to jump in with both feet, I really think about whether it is going to increase my bottom line. Now, I am way more experienced, and when I take another leap, it will be more methodical.
Edmonton has a unique business community and we want to highlight hardworking Edmontonians who have a story to tell. Each month, we feature a member or two in the Business In Edmonton Magazine and take an opportunity to share their story and find out why they enjoy doing what they do. Follow along each month as we feature members while helping amplify their stories on our website and social media platforms.
If you are interested in this opportunity to be highlighted as a Chamber Member, please contact our Member Services team at firstname.lastname@example.org