A few years ago, Kathy Leskow (Management ’96) sold her cookies exclusively at farmers markets. These days, the owner of Confetti Sweets hands them out to Hollywood stars.
This February, like she did in 2015, Leskow took her treats to Tinseltown, partly for fun, mostly for marketing. She and her husband tied on Confetti’s signature pink aprons and shared roughly 80 dozen cookies during a 2-day stint in a “gifting suite” in the swanky London Hotel as part of pre-Oscar festivities. She got the gig by reaching out to event organizer GBK Productions.
“How many people get to do this?” asks Leskow, adding that the effort – all at her own cost – “gets our name out in Edmonton. It kind of validates how good the cookies are.”
That makes the trip part of a growth strategy that has helped create a company with 17 part-time employees and two retail locations. It has the added benefit of helping her catch up on who’s who in the movies. “I don’t know who they are – until after, when I Google them,” Leskow admits of the stars she meets.
Here’s a look back at her time among those who are famous to most of the rest of us.
Hollywood’s favourite cookie
Leskow brought an equal number of her 2 personal favourites: chocolate chip and coconut. “The chocolate chip were gone within the first day,” she says. Coconut (this writer’s favourite Confetti cookie, incidentally) was left for latecomers, “which most people didn’t mind.”
What she told people about her cookies
“That they were cookies just like you’d make at home with fresh ingredients, real butter, high-quality chocolate, and they were from Canada. Any Canadians that came through were really excited about that.”
Some stars she met
Olivia Cheng (Radio and Television ’00), actor for film and TV, including Marco Polo – Here’s proof that it’s still a small world: 2 NAIT grads meet in Hollywood over cookies. “We had a long conversation,” says Leskow of the Edmonton-born actor. “Hopefully her parents will come to the store and get some cookies. She said she’d put a good plug in.”
Jamie Foxx, Oscar winner for best actor for Ray – “He had his daughter with him and she was anxious to get going because she was hungry,” says Leskow. I said, ‘Well have some cookies.’ She said, ‘I’d rather have steak.’” The seven-year-old (Leskow guesses) didn’t have a cookie in the end but she did take one for the road.
Luis Guzman, actor for film and TV, including Narcos – “Hilarious. He was posing with my husband, making gangster faces – just so much fun.”
Richard Kind, actor for film and TV, including Inside Out – “He was probably my favourite,” says Leskow. “He was super friendly. He was coming from golf [and] wearing a pink shirt, so he was like, ‘I should come work for you!’ He loved the cookies.”
(Leskow met even more actors and such. Check them all out at her blog.)
Impressions of Hollywood’s elite
Here’s proof that it’s still a small world: 2 NAIT grads meet in Hollywood over cookies.
Not being a movie buff certainly helped Leskow see the actors, writers and producers in the same light as she would anyone else. But she was struck nonetheless by how easily she could relate to them.
“You meet the actors and actresses and they’re just normal people. Just like if I was at a farmers market talking to a customer; it’s exactly the same.”
What the trip meant to her as an entrepreneur
Hopefully, growth. Leskow would like to open another Confetti Sweets location in the next couple of years. As for next year, she and her husband are exploring the possibility of handing out cookies in gifting suites at major sporting events, such as the Superbowl.
In the meantime, she takes her latest visit to the Oscars as a sign of progress and the promise of more to come. “Starting out making cookies in my basement and now bringing them to Hollywood? I’m pretty proud of that,” says Leskow. “It shows me that anything can happen. Who knows what’s going to be next, really?”