There’s no doubt about it, homemade gifts are on the rise. As of December 31, 2014 Etsy had over 54 million registered users and Pinterest had over 70 million registered users. That’s a lot of people shopping for, selling, and trying DIY gifts! And it makes perfect sense. A homemade gift can be cost efficient, from the heart, and tailored to specific recipients.
But what starts as a well-intended idea for a handmade, homemade gift can often go astray. Here’s what we’re talking about.
But don’t worry! You CAN give a homemade, handmade gift that not only looks beautiful, but also is sure to please whoever receives it. Our nearly half pound cookies are made fresh by hand in 13 flavors. Need a gift for a cookie lover with a food allergy? We offer 4 different flavors in certified gluten-free and nut-free cookies.
So don’t rule out a DIY gift, just leave the Y to us. Whatever your budget or the level of personalization you’d like we have the perfect gifting option. Check out our wide range of flavors and packages and place your order today.
It doesn’t matter what new technologies have emerged or how much business has grown over the last four decades, Carol’s Cookies always has, and always will be handmade. We’ve grown from Carol’s home kitchen to now our fourth and biggest bakery yet, but we’ll never change Carol’s original homemade recipe.
We understand that there are a lot of cookies on the shelf, and we want to make sure ours stand out. We always use the best ingredients, from our Ghirardelli chocolate to the fresh hand-cracked eggs. Our cookies aren’t machine-driven or mass-produced. Each cookie is handmade by one of our bakers so you can taste the all natural ingredients in every bite. We take pride in the fact that no two cookies we bake look exactly the same. You wouldn’t expect identical cookies out of your own home kitchen. And that’s all we are: a home kitchen with a phenomenal one-of-a-kind cookie recipe that’s expanded over the course of years to a bakery with over 30employees.
One taste of one of our nearly half-pound, handmade cookies and we’re sure you’ll see what makes Carol’s so special. So, sit down, kick back and enjoy a Carol’s Cookie and let us know what you think and share with a friend!
We love this season (as you can see from our blog post last year: The Joys of Fall) there’s something about a crisp fall day, a glass of warm apple cider, and our snickerdoodle cookie that is what dreams are made of.
But our love doesn’t stop there. We love fall decorations, the holidays, and the flavors (pumpkin anyone?). And from our experience, so do a lot of you! We wanted to share with your some of our favorite tips, tricks, and ideas for fall-themed cooking and baking.
Use fall colored candies instead of chocolate chips in your baked good recipes. Same flavor you’d expect but with a little crunch and a very fall feel.
Add pumpkin to everything and anything! We like to substitute pumpkin for butter and oil in things like breads, cookies, and muffins. But we also can’t get enough of pumpkin chili, pumpkin hash and eggs, and pumpkin “noodles”! Poodles anyone?
Use pumpkins as a fun way to serve food and drinks! A cleaned hallowed out pumpkin takes a little work, but we think it’s worth it for such a festive serving option! They are great for dips (or to hold that pumpkin chili!) and even drinks.
What’s the color most associated with fall? Orange of course! You can use orange food dye in a variety of food items to give them a fall theme. Soft boiled eggs, whipped cream, cream cheese, cake batter, popsicles, water, ice cubes, yogurt…you name it, making it orange automatically makes it feel so seasonal.
Of course there are tools you can buy that make whatever you’re making into a fall shape as well. We love these pumpkin shaped muffin tins!
Or with a little imagination, patience and skills, you can make plenty of you favorite foods and treats look like fall things.
Have you tried any of our favorite ideas before? How did they turn out? Or do you have your own autumn inspired dish to share with us? We’d love to hear. Send us a message via facebook, twitter, or email!
Carol’s Corporate Gifts- The Ever So Personal Thank You!
After our busiest holiday season ever, we were so thankful that not only do so many people send our cookies as gifts to friends, families, and loved ones, but also that so many corporations do as well to thank their clients and friends. We wanted to reach out to the companies that come to us for their corporate gifts to get a better understanding of why they think of us and what we specifically deliver for them.
Why are Carol’s Cookies the perfect gift for your clients?
Carol’s Cookies is a personal treat to Flaherty’s Flooring- why would we not share this with our customers as a “Thank You!” for allowing us to be a part of their home.
-Flaherty’s Flooring America
The Carol's Cookies experience is amazing. Customers, coworkers and suppliers remember them for a long time! –Advanced Systems Group
While sometimes gifts are given during the holiday time, other companies choose to give a gift directly after a job was carried out. Forbes contributor John Hall makes no secret how essential it is for businesses to stay top of mind with their clients. So we asked,
Why is sending Carol's Cookies to your clients/customers such an important step in your customer appreciation strategy?
Given that we have a very transactional business with relatively large number of customers, the gift giving process is an added assurance that the customer will hear from us after the (the transaction). Customers are delighted to receive a gift that they don’t expect. Both the quality and size of the cookies adds to the value of the unexpected gift. We frequently get thank you notes saying things like “you didn’t have to do that.” – Home Carpet One
Scott Hartley of Talk Business Magazine wrote his “5 Top Tips When Choosing Your Corporate Gifts” and his number one tip was to choose a gift that you would be happy to receive. So naturally, our last and final question to our corporate clients was to:
Pretend you’re opening up a gift tin of Carol’s Cookies for the first time. Describe your reaction in 20 words or less.
Overwhelming excitement at viewing the most delicious, inviting cookies I have ever seen. The hardest part is deciding which type to eat because they are so big you can’t take two (not every time at least). –Home Carpet One
Mind blowing. Memorable. - Advanced Systems Group
This will be difficult to do. First reaction is “Ah”. The tins are beautiful and the personal note is just that, “Personal”. Then you wonder if the cookies can be as delicious as what you see. That first bite is “Amazing!” So my 20 words or LESS are:
“Ah”; “Personal” and “Amazing!” - Flaherty’s Flooring America
Seems like they all would be more than happy to receive a tin of our cookies for a gift!
So, does your company send out corporate gifts? What have you sent in the past and have you ever considered sending cookies? Let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to order your own Carol's Cookies as a thank you gift or just for yourself visit our order page!
March 6th was National Employee Appreciation Day – did you celebrate all the individuals who come into the office every day to help work towards your company’ goals?
Of course employees definitely deserved to be recognized. But let’s be honest, recognizing them has its benefits for you as well! In a 2013 Glassdoor study, it was found that more than 80 percent of employees say that they’re motivated to work harder when their boss shows appreciation for their work. And we’re not just talking about big bonus checks! The same study found that 46% of employees would feel more appreciated if their bosses gave them an unexpected treat.
Did we just say treat? We certainly did. And is there a better #sweet treat than a nearly half-pound home made cookie from Carol’s?! But don’t just take it from us. Last month we were able to help out Ford Motor Companies surprise 2,700 hardworking employees with a custom gift.
And the feedback was incredible!
You don’t have to wait until March 4, 2016 to recognize your hardworking employees! We’re here to customize a gift that your employees will really love and that you’ll love giving. Reach out to us here to get started.
10. Have you ever met someone who honestly likes fruitcake?
9. You haven’t put the batteries back in your smoke detector since your last great baking adventure.
8. At a half pound each, you won’t need many to fill a stocking.
7. There’s no need for ties in a business casual world.
6. New Year’s resolutions haven’t started yet.
5. Who can eat an entire case of pears anyway?
4. Because Santa clears out the cookie stash every year.
3. Nothing goes better with eggnog and hot chocolate.
2. You don’t have to worry about your gift getting re-gifted.
1. Flowers die
Everyone knows this holiday is about two things. The first is, it’s all about the candy. Fun-size, over processed, nuggets of sugar. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish the tradition changed over to adorably dressed children ring doorbell, door opens, and a handful of Carol’s Cookies minis were handed out…But I digress.
The second part of Halloween, the most important part, is the costume. Basically, if you dream it, you can be it. It can be extremely overwhelming…where do you even start? Well, for us, it’s a bit easier. We eat, sleep, breathe, think, and live for cookies. So naturally, we favor costumes of the doughy, sweet treat variety. And we couldn’t encourage you more to take suit…and suit up as your favorite treat this holiday. And don’t forget to let us see!
Of course you wanted to help your favorite neighbor throw their first open house, but that was before your daughter got sick and your husband got called away to travel for work. Getting to the grocery store right now is as likely as winning the lotto without buying a ticket, but you can’t leave them high, dry, and dessert-less.
But have no fear: Carol’s Cookies has you covered. Whatever amount of cookies you need, we have the right gift for you. Our gift tins and packages can be ordered with 7, 12, 36 or 6 dozen of our 7-ounce cookies! We even offer gluten-free, nut-free cookies for those with food allergies. And if 7-ounces of cookie seems like too much, our 1.5-ounce minis have all the same flavor but at a fraction of the size.
So fear not, you have it all under control (with a little help from Carol’s.) On average, we need just 3 days lead time to bake your fresh batch of cookies and we ship every Monday thru Wednesday from our new bakery in Northbrook, IL. Or, if you’re in the area, you’re always welcome to come pick up at our bakery (phone first). We’ll make sure that you will save the day with our giant cookies, whether it’s for an open house, thank-you gift, or just an after school snack– we’ve got you covered.
Order your specific cookies needs by visiting us at http://www.carolscookies.com/order-cookies/
We love to hear from our friends, fans, and those just learning about our cookies. We try to be helpful and provide answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions here (http://carolscookies.com/faq). But the one question we get asked the most is, “How do you make your cookies so big?!” We get it. This question comes from the same mind-boggling, inconceivable place where we wonder, “How does the Tooth Fairy get under our pillows while we sleep?” and “What type of Spanx does Santa put on to shimmy down the chimney.” They are the universal questions that keep us up at night.
But you’re in luck! Tonight you can sleep easy and save the worries of the world for another day. Creating our cookies should be a snap after reading this.
To make our cookies so big, we start with using just the right amount of fats to form correct cohesion and adhesion of ingredients. This allows our cookies to be dense, yet cooked through, chewy, yet melt in your mouth. The molecules must be solidly brought together to form the base. Without it, we would be left with neat little piles of eggs, flour, and Ghirardelli Chocolate.
Speaking of eggs, you want to add your eggs whole, one at a time. But that makes the mixing a little more difficult. Egg whites are largely water and they don’t mix well with cohesion agents. But we warn you, too much mixing and you’re in danger of over-mixing. Over-mixing results in a holey mess that falls apart as soon as it’s lifted off the cookie sheet. And if you’re not using the right flour, well that totally throws off the protein structure and gluten levels and the ingredients won’t be able to bind.
You’ll need acidity and carbon dioxide to create a strong protein bond with the correct flour. If your bond isn’t strong, all the good stuff is evaporated away. A strong bond keeps our dough stiff, and the right level of acidity firms our cooking dough faster, which results in our thick cookies (not spread thin like you so often find). But that all goes to waste if you don’t mix enough. The importance of the mixing time of the dough is everything. Mix too little and you won’t get enough air pockets to be filled with CO2, mix too much and your cookie looks like meal worms invaded.
The last step to consider in making Carol’s-Cookie-sized cookies is temperature. You want the kinetic energy of the particles to be just right. You want to be right where the energy within the plasma collisions is high enough to overcome the Coulomb barrier and the cookie particles fuse together into one massive cookie without cracking.
And of course, the perfection of dough you just created is nothing unless you’re dropping 1/2lb softball-sized scoops of it on your cookie tray.
Now you should be set to go ahead and recreate your own version of Carol’s Cookies in your fridge.
What? You’re confused? Well, you didn’t really think we were going to divulge our most sacred secrets, did you?
While it’s tempting to focus all of your marketing efforts on acquiring new customers, research shows that there is far more opportunity in marketing to your existing customers. How have you expressed gratitude to your customers lately?
A study by Flowtown shows that it is 6 – 7 times more costly to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer. In addition, the study showed that profits could increase as much as 95% by boosting customer retention rates by even 5%. Check out the infographic below for more interesting stats on the value of an existing customer!
There are several easy and meaningful ways to show your customers you care. Here are a few ideas to help you get started!
Always say thank you
In today’s digital world, many businesses forget the rules of old fashioned business. One of the easiest ways to show gratitude is by simply saying, “thank you.” Whether it’s through a handwritten note, taking clients out to dinner or sending a sweet treat, saying thank you is a simple, yet often forgotten, gesture that goes a long way.
As they always say in business school, 80% of your revenue often comes from only 20% of your customers. How do you stay focused on the top 20%? Create a customer loyalty program that rewards your best customers. If your rewards program delights your customers enough, they’ll even tell others about your business in the process. Your customers will look forward to receiving their gift protecting your business from losing customers to the competition. For example, check out how this Iowa car dealership used sweet treats to keep their customers coming back.
Share your customers’ successes on social media
Social media allows us to find out about exciting news in real time. Be sure to follow your customers on social media and congratulate them when something big happens. Your customers will appreciate that you are listening to them both online and in person and will be grateful for the additional exposure you give them too!
Send something sweet!
We built our business around gratitude and have worked with several other leading businesses that have been successful doing the same. Therefore, we couldn’t end this post without mentioning that there’s nothing better than receiving Carol’s Cookies as a corporate gift. We receive daily emails, phone calls and photos from people who have experienced the pure surprise and delight of receiving the gift of Carol’s Cookies. Check out our corporate gifts page for more info on how to pass this on to your customers!