When Confetti Sweets owner Kathy Leskow was asked to serve her cookies at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards (CCMA) in 2014, she didn’t say yes right away. Although Leskow wanted to support the event being held in her hometown Edmonton, she worried about giving her cookies away for free.
Confetti Sweets, which started out of Leskow’s home kitchen in 2008, was still a new business and without knowing anything about the CCMA Awards Leskow says, “it felt like a lot of free product for possibly no [business] gain. When I give away free product, it’s usually to local charities, the food bank, or local homeless shelters.”
While Leskow didn’t attend the Awards, she opened up to the opportunity and sent one of her team members to deliver cookies. “She’s a big country music fan, so she knew all of the stars and the gentlemen putting on the gifting lounge; he [one of the Harris Brothers] was on the show Storage Wars, so she totally hit it off with them,” said Leskow.
The Harris Brothers, who are known for organizing gifting suites for major celebrity-studded events, emailed Leskow months later to sweeten another deal: they asked if Confetti Sweets wanted to serve cookies at the Oscars, “I was like, ‘hell yeah.’ I always say, if I had delivered the cookies myself, we wouldn’t have gotten anywhere.”
In 2015, Leskow and her team arrived in Hollywood to serve 1,700 of the company’s most popular cookie flavours—chocolate chunk and coconut—at the pre-Oscar party for nominees, press, and other attendees. “People would come and ask, ‘What makes your cookies special?’ We’d say, ‘they’re full of fat, sugar, and flavour.’ They’d taste the cookies, and their faces would light up; it was pretty cool to see people in their gowns going to the Academy Awards and say, ‘I’ll just have a taste,’ and then have a bite, eat the whole cookie, and ask for another one. Jamie Foxx and his daughter, as well as Joan Collins, and Luis Guzman were quick to approve."
In 2016, Confetti Sweets was asked to serve cookies again at one of the pre-Oscars celebrity gifting suites, and while the common perception might be that Hollywood actors would shy away from real baked goods, Leskow says it’s one of the reasons her company stood out, “They wanted us to come back the following year because our product showed well in Hollywood. We were different than the other brands and the celebrities absolutely loved the cookies. Amongst us was jewelry and clothing and health foods, like a brand called Skinny Cookies. People would come to us and we’d tell them we’re from Canada, and they all really liked that.”
Confetti Sweets’ presence at the Oscars prompted greater traction in the local Edmonton community, “When the news came out, we had insane lineups out the door; everyone wanted to try the ‘Oscar cookies.’” For Leskow, serving her cookies at the Oscars reinforced the value of a great product, “It made us proud to be Canadian, and proud that our cookies are made of real ingredients.”
As for her advice to fellow entrepreneurs, who aspire to an event like the Oscars, Leskow cautions, “do it for the right reason. If the only reason you’re doing it is to gain traction for your business, that might not happen. So, go enjoy and treat it as a business holiday.” So, will cookies be available in Hollywood anytime soon? Leskow says that US distribution is “probably on the radar for 2019.”