Building Connections One Cookie at a Time
April 14, 2021 - by Mason Luvera
Building Connections One Cookie at a Time
Tiffany Lewis didn’t set out to start a cookie company. But sheer passion and a few twists led her to doing just that. This dynamic entrepreneur launched her namesake business, Cookies with Tiffany, last August, and quickly turned her love for baking into a new adventure built on the ethos that even a cookie can connect people.
Since opening her oven doors, Cookies with Tiffany has quickly amassed a cult following of fans. Her signature S’Moores cookie has been known to lure customers across the region in search of a batch, with customers lining up at her “pop-up cookie shops” to snag the latest dozen. As business has grown here in Bellevue, so has Tiffany’s love for Downtown. We sampled the latest flavors while chatting her up to learn more about her journey to entrepreneurship and why she sees Bellevue as a great place for the future:
BDA: Tiffany! Oh my, these cookies are divine. But we’re curious: walk us through your story and how you found yourself starting a cookie company...
TL: Well thanks! I’ll start from the beginning: I was born and raised here in Seattle and graduated with a communications degree from Chapman University, where, fun fact, I also played tennis. I spent summers working at Nordstrom which taught me “The Nordstrom Way” but I eventually continued my studies and found myself working in the financial industry, at WaMu and Chase in corporate marketing. A job transfer to Columbus, Ohio in the middle of winter brought me back to the kitchen as I looked for ways to build community without a single local contact in my rolodex! Cookies quickly became my calling card as I called it… “a cookie for a handshake.” This is where I understood just how truly special a cookie was.
BDA: Awesome, so what brought you home to start Cookies with Tiffany?
TL: A few years later, I decided to leave corporate America for culinary school and enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena, California! Big change… My internship introduced me to celebrity chef Curtis Stone and after completion, landed me a full time position on his culinary team, it was an incredible experience. So fast forward two and a half years later, I ventured off on my own in the hopes of one day having a cooking show of my own. I made it to the final rounds of auditions for Next Food Network Star, freelanced for other celebrity chefs, taught cooking classes at Sur La Table, started a cooking blog and served as the culinary director for two critically-acclaimed food festivals. BUT, after 10 years I came back to Seattle with the genuine desire to return home… and for my mother’s cooking!
BDA: You were a food stylist on the Food Network and competed to be on a show? That’s awesome! We imagine that helped you launch your own business?
TL: Working for celebrity chefs was an incredible experience! It taught me recipe development and the importance of attention to detail; refined but not fussy, ya know? From the ingredients we source to the relationships we form with our partners and customers, how we hand scoop and adorn each and every cookie, and our neat and thoughtful packaging (always secured with a bow and personalized note).
BDA: So what was the point where Cookies with Tiffany came to be? And your connection to Bellevue…
TL: I always dreamed of starting a cookie business. I remember as a young child my parents saying, “That’s great. But, let’s finish school and attend university first.” And that’s what I did. When I, like so many people, lost my job due to COVID, there was no question this was the perfect time to launch my dream. During a time where we can all use a little joy and cheer, Cookies with Tiffany was founded on the notion of forming community while uplifting spirits, one cookie at a time. We started last August with a cookie dough concept for grocery, which due to overwhelming feedback, also became a baked cookie concept! We then started shipping cookies nationwide, and had deliveries to over 30 states (and counting) in our first few months of business. This then lead into wholesale with coffee shops and even catering. We love the diversity of offerings.
We’ve had a ton of customers in Bellevue and we’ve started to do pop-up shops to create a place to connect. We just did one at Williams Sonoma at Bellevue Square for Easter which was a hit! We are even returning there on Mother’s Day weekend. I have so many ideas for my business in Bellevue. We have a really great gifting program for businesses looking to send a little something sweet to their employees or clients. I’d also love to partner with local businesses and retailers as well as growing our wholesale footprint and pop-up shop calendar. I can’t wait to introduce our company, meet the locals, connect with other business owners. Anyone reading this, reach out! I'd love to hear from you.
BDA: Is part of that a response to the pandemic?
TL: Yes! Cookies have this way of bringing people together. They are nostalgic, comforting, uplifting and perfect for sharing and enjoying with others, even from 6-feet apart. This is the very reason I started Cookies with Tiffany. During a time where we are encouraged to distance ourselves from one another (because of COVID), my hope is that cookies can help fill the gap.
BDA: And what do you love about the neighborhood? Where can we find you hanging around Downtown?
TL: I love Downtown Bellevue, and so does my golden doodle, Charlie! You can often find me at Whisk, saying hi to my friends at Williams Sonoma (I can never seem to leave empty handed) or having dinner at Wild Ginger. I also enjoy walking through Old Bellevue using my current mood for inspiration. On a warm sunny day, Charlie and I enjoy a coffee and pastry at Downtown Park. For a real treat, I enjoy making a visit to Noreen Skincare for one of her signature custom facials. Now that, is the cherry on top.
BDA: Ok, we know it’s unfair, but we have to ask… what’s your favorite cookie flavor?
TL: Our most popular cookie is by far the S’more cookie. My favorite? It’s like asking who my favorite child is! But if I have to choose, it’s our molasses cookie. So good.
To be safe, we tried every flavor (sssh, the molasses really is so good)! Keep up with Tiffany and see when the next pop-up cookie shop will be in Bellevue.
This blog is part of the Heart of Bellevue: our campaign to showcase local businesses while connecting you with stories of activity, creativity and recovery. Find out about our campaign and explore more of what’s happening around Downtown.