Butterwinks! is sweet art
KIM DAMENot too many little treats have the power of the classic cookie. They can cheer you up, comfort you, test your diet and act as currency for better behavior in a child.
Published: December 26, 2012
Published: December 26, 2012
But provide the canvas for a young fine artist's creative expression?
Absolutely, said Mallory Chaivacci, whose unique artistic style makes Butterwinks! cookies like no other. Any character, scene, logo or picture has the potential to become the décor on a tasty butter cookie.
The combination is perhaps the sweetest work of art.
Butterwinks! is the creation of a mother and daughter team whose ambitions took them out of the traditional workforce and into the kitchen. Mallory Chaivacci and her mother, Shelley Brown, came up with the perfect butter dough that lays the canvas for the unique, whimsical and endearing designs.
Butterwinks! is exclusive to cookies, with an occasional cupcake order to please their customers.
They did the cake thing for awhile, Chaivacci said, when they started the bakery. But the sugar cookie, with its perfect decorating surface, opened the window into an unlimited variety of options, making each order unique.
Chaivacci's creative ambitions were sent into overdrive. The company's Facebook fan page is filled to the brink with her creations. "She makes it look so effortless," said Brown.
Using a home kitchen and small appliances, Chaivacci and Brown fill orders, most of which come from their Facebook page or word of mouth.
"It allows us to make or bake nonperishable items in our home without a license," said Brown.
The Florida Cottage Food bill, enacted in 2011, allows individuals to manufacture, sell and store certain types of "cottage food" products in an unlicensed home kitchen. Vendors are then able to sell at street markets, on the side of the road or outside of their homes.
"We cannot ship or wholesale or sell to businesses," said Chaivacci. "We can only sell person to person."
Cottage food laws require labels on every item, disclosing that they are a cottage food business and not a commercial bakery.
Butterwinks! has become so popular that Brown and Chaivacci have been approached by recognized businesses like Georgia Aquarium and Universal Studios to provide their cookies. "We had to turn them down," Chaivacci said.
Their dream might take them to that point as their orders continue to increase at an exorbitant rate. Ideally, they would love to find an industrial kitchen they could rent to prepare their orders. "But that's in the future," Chaivacci said.
For now, the mother-daughter team scrambles to meet the demand for the holidays. Cookies are sold individually for $2.50, or 10 for $20. They can be bagged in individual packaging with curled ribbon for $3.
Nothing is off limits in terms of design. For instance, Chaivacci has created cookies for birthday parties, weddings, anniversaries and holidays with characters like Teanage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, even company logos and caricature renditions of popular figures.
Chaivacci knows how to attract attention to Butterwinks!. The company's Facebook fan page is filled with their art, opening the window to so many possibilities.
Butterwinks!, whose name was inspired by a cookie the women had seen in a cookbook, stuck even after they transitioned from cake baking into cookies.
They do cupcakes on a much smaller scale, mainly to give customers an option. But cookies are their specialty.
Orders have increased to nearly triple their workload in just a year.
For now, Chaivacci and Brown are content to spend nearly every day either mixing dough or cutting, baking and decorating cookies.
"We aren't getting rich," Brown said. "But we do pay for our coffee addiction."
Butterwinks! is booked solid for Christmas, but is currently taking orders for New Years.
Visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/ButterWinks.