Life Is Just A Jar Of Cookies
Wednesday - December 15, 2010
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By Wally Amos
President & CEO of Chip & Cookie
Having been in the cookie business for 35 years since I founded Famous Amos and moved to Hawaii, I’ve learned that cookies, like any other business, will go through a process of evolution. As in life, things just don’t stay the same - markets and economic conditions change. To survive these or any challenges, you must stay flexible and positive.
Our Chip & Cookie brand has recently gone through a transition from a retail, store-based business to a wholesale operation.
Designing, accessorizing and running the retail stores was a phase of the business I found very energizing - it’s how I started in Southern California after a career as an agent in New York and a personal manager in Hollywood. This was the basis of my concept of personifying the cookie, promoting it the same way we promoted talent.
Creative marketing is still the key, but with radical changes in overhead it made sense to streamline the operation and wholesale the product. Our Chip & Cookie brand is now well-established, and we are getting the message out that the cookie is made according to my “pure, unadulterated recipe,” the same one that made me “famous” back in 1975.
But it takes more than clever promotion for a product to succeed - quality is the key to longevity. If the quality isn’t there, the consumer will eventually make other choices. When I set out to create “America’s best-tasting cookie,” I never settled for anything less than the highest quality ingredients, and that’s still the case.
Another important feature of my recipe is that the amounts of the ingredients are specified and cannot be altered. The chocolate chip cookie, for example, is 33 percent chocolate. I personally stand behind the recipes and serve as spokesman for the company.
I have the support of a great team: well-known Honolulu businessman Jack Schneider serving as my new CEO, and Scott McKenzie, my longtime COO, who handles our fundraising activity. Hawaii Candy Inc. started distribution of Chip & Cookie in 6-ounce bags to Longs Drugs islandwide last month and to Foodland in December. We are doing very well with sales at the military exchanges, and over the past three months thousands of pounds of cookies have been purchased for fundraising projects.
My books and personal appearances as a motivational speaker and champion of literacy also serve to keep the cookie out in front of the public. My 10th and most recent book, Watermelon Credo: The Book, spells out my business philosophy using the 10 letters in “watermelon,” which is a Wally Amos symbol: for example, “O” for “One day at a time” and “N” for “Never give up.”
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