About this project
“Eating a cookie should trigger a feeling…one that you cannot wait to repeat!” Tina Bennett
Hi there!! Thanks for stopping by!! My name is Tina Bennett and I am an Executive Pastry Chef. For nearly 9 years I operated a bakery in NY, called Vanilla Swirl Cakery, as the “Chief Cakeologist”. My favorite thing was creating unique cakes, cookies and pies for my customer’s celebrations year after year.
In 2012, I made a necessary decision to move to Scottsdale, Arizona, to be closer to my daughter. I returned to my “former career” in Sales/Marketing but I continue to ship cookies every year to my client base on the East Coast. I hear, “When are you coming back to re-open Vanilla Swirl?” “We miss you, there’s nothing like what you do here”. Or….”I have never had a cookie like yours!”.
With the support and encouragement from some amazing colleagues, I launched my cookie company Vanilla Swirl in February of 2016. But, this time I started the business with a “twist” so to speak. I personally have struggled with over processed flour and reacted to things that had too much sugar in them. So, I took my original Vanilla Swirl Cakery recipes that I have used for years, changed them up a little, and now use organic ingredients and less sugar. How can it get any better than that? One thing that was important to me when I adjusted the recipes is that my clients continued to tell me, “Oh my gosh this is the BEST cookie I have EVER had”!
Where did this passion come from?
My grandmother was my biggest influence when I was younger. She didn't live very far away from me, and my favorite thing to do was go visit her after school. The memories of the warm cookies at the end of a tough day in third grade are still etched in my mind. As I grew older I started creating my own recipes, which have now become Vanilla Swirl's signature products. I would frequently take those cookies into classes and give them to my teachers as gifts in hopes of getting a better grade. Most of the time that worked. I developed my marketing skills at a very young age!!
What am I trying to do?
My mission is to provide a solution for businesses and individuals looking for a spectacular alternative to routine treats, “thank-you” gifts, and rewards for events, meetings and special occasions.
My plan is to raise enough capital to build out a facility with equipment, staff, etc. here in the Scottsdale area. My goal is to eventually franchise Vanilla Swirl in other states. I would love to create the same warm atmosphere that I once had in the Village of Fairport, New York.
Some additional details, and my “why"
Most every business has a “why” they started. Mine is my son, Steven. He is 26 years old and is blind/autistic. Steven was born at 25 weeks, weighing in at 1.9. Due to lack of oxygen and 9 eye surgeries, Steven lost his eyesight completely at the age of 9 months. At the time we thought “that was it” as far as his disability. As he grew we discovered that he had another handicap. Year after year we attended his IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meetings at school to hear how he wasn’t progressing. As a parent you can imagine the sadness when you know something else is going on that no one is recognizing.
The “System” ended at 21 for Steven. He was “officially” diagnosed with Autism at the age of 22 - too late to do anything for him. Today, at the age of 26, he sits at home, only getting out one day a week, on the weekend, for an hour to volunteer. That's it.
Through the “New” Vanilla Swirl it is my goal to gain a reliable source of income to help provide for my son Steven and further ensure his well being in his future.
Our Minimum Goal is $25,000
To accomplish our goals as quickly as possible we are seeking a minimum of $25,000 in funding through this campaign. That amount will enable us to complete our e-commerce website, build our business infrastructure (accounting, merchant services, logistics), and purchase the basic equipment and inventory of ingredients that we need to be able to start handling a higher level of volume. At this level I will continue to bake out of my church’s commercial kitchen.
$50,000 will get us our own kitchen!
At the $50,000 level in funding through this campaign we will be able to secure a designated facility and build it out with our new Vanilla Swirl design.
With $75,000 or more we can hire a team!!
When we reach $75,000 in funding through this campaign we will be able to have enough working capital to afford to hire a full staff. This will get me out of the kitchen so I can focus on the sales and marketing of Vanilla Swirl full time..
At the $100,000 in funding level through this campaign we will have enough working capital to comfortably operate the business and begin to build the Organization to help others like Steven.
Your pledge will help me get this project off the ground. Thank you SO much for reading this and your support! I can’t wait to have you try a Vanilla Swirl cookie!!
A LOOK AT A FEW OF OUR CURRENT OFFERINGS:
Risks and challenges
If we could get our full funding needs we could hire staff and build out the kitchen immediately. We are currently baking out of a very small commercial kitchen at my church which means progress is slowed by capacity and other constraints.
Obviously the next biggest risk is the commodity nature of our product. It is, after all,” just another cookie”. But is it? Our cookies have had an amazing response in the marketplace with customers coming back for more all the time. Try some for yourself and let us know if you disagree!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.