Drew Koven Interview
Geoff And Drew's
Are you looking for some great tasting cookies for that special occasion?
Or maybe you’re just looking for great tasting cookies, period.
Well, look no further.
Geoff and Drew’s is where you’ll want to go.
You’ll find them online at: www.geoffanddrews.com
This company has received national recognition.
The Today Show calls their cookies, “unbelievably delicious and creative”.
The National Press And Food Critics say Geoff And Drew’s cookies
are the most delicious cookies in the world!!
I can personally attest to the fact that Geoff And Drew’s cookies
are so good-----they’re beyond delicious!!
How did this company get their start?
Co-founder Drew Koven talked with us about his company’s beginnings.
Q – Drew, what’s your connection to Syracuse,
A – I’m an S.U. ( Syracuse University) alum.
Q – Is that in your online bio?
A – No. I do not have that in my bio.
Q – Why would that be?
A – We actually have to put some time and energy into that. That’s
something we’re probably going to do in the next year or so. We’re
gonna update the website with pictures and bio pages.
Q – What year did you graduate from S.U.?
A – I graduated in 1990.
Q – How’d you like it in Syracuse?
A – I loved it! We had terrific mild weather.
Q – Would you remember any bars or restaurants you’d
A – There was a place called Phaegen’s that I used to go. They
had really, really good food. I had a buddy who worked there. Varsity obviously
was a big place to go eat. Cosmo’s was a place. I used to go there.
Best cinnamon rolls in the world. Syracuse a little bit different in terms
of the variety of activities when I was there. Now with Carousel Mall and
everything going on…..I had a great time. I love Syracuse. It was
a great school.
Q – What did you major in at S.U. -----marketing?
A – I majored in finance and had a minor in marketing.
Q – How did I know that?!!! Who taught you
about making cookies? Did you take a Home Ec class in high school? Did
you pick it up from a family member?
A – Well, I got involved in the food business early on, in the mid
90’s. I launched a co. called Jones Soda in the United States, and
really got interested in different types of brands of food products and
marketing. So, I kind of got the business of food bug at an early stage,
and really had some tremendous business partners who were involved with
me who are very talented with food and have very well-developed taste buds,
and sensibilities. It’s really been a team effort. I had been involved
in the food business first with the Soda co. and then moving forward I was
in the Internet grocery business and worked with professional chefs and
had an opportunity to gain direct access to the creative process and really
recognized it was really an incredible business, the business of food and
surrounded myself with some amazing people who work with me in the business
to try to make our mark, if you will.
Q – Where’d you get the money to launch
a soda co.?
A – The soda co. was in business. They had the product and they partnered
up with us to get it out to the people.
Q – The marketing thing…..
A – Yup, the marketing. How do we sell this product to consumers?
How do we get it out on the street and get people to try it and buy it and
all that good stuff.
Q – How successful were you?
A – Very successful in launching the product.
Q – Didn’t Regis talk about Jones Soda
on his morning program?
A – Possibly. You can see it pretty much at any Panera Bread store,
those kinds of places. That’s who’s selling it.
Q – Geoff and Drew’s is based out of
A – Correct.
Q – So, how much of a market place is there
in Boston or the world for that matter for a cookie and brownie co?
A – The world market place is a multi-billion dollar market place
for our products. We’re a mail order gift of cookies and brownies.
So, we only sell via mail order. Really the claim to fame of our product
is it’s very fresh. Very high quality. It’s not something you’re
gonna pay for a high end gift and see it showing up in the supermarket.
We protect the product. We protect the brand and we protect our customers.
Q – Wouldn’t you like to see your product
in specialty stores?
A – We have no plans on the bulletin board to be there. We don’t
want to compete with ourselves, because a lot of people purchase from us
to send a wonderful gift and we think our customers would be disappointed
if they saw our stuff show up at convenience stores that they’d just
given as an important client gift.
Q - You make the claim that your cookies/brownies
arrive from the oven to the customer’s door within 24-48 hours of
being baked. What happens if New England gets one of its famous snowstorms?
What happens to that guarantee?
A – We haven’t had that problem. If the customer has any issue
for any reason, we’ll automatically re-ship.
Q – Fair enough. You launched Geoff and Drew’s
on September 9 th, 2001, a Sunday night, in Boston, as a milk and cookie
delivery service. Explain what that was all about.
A – Well, it’s pretty much what it says. Late night cookies.
We delivered the cookies hot out of the oven, fresh-baked and those were
coming to you in one to two hours. So, it was like you were baking them
yourself. We were delivering to college students all throughout Boston.
We were delivering to people who had the late night munchies all around
Boston, and the surrounding suburbs. That was the first version of the business
if you will. The people were going nuts! They loved the products.
Q – What kind of cookies were you baking?
A – Oh, chocolate chunk. Oatmeal Raisin. We have a Double-Fudge cookie
which is kind of a cocoa colored cookie. Two chunks of chocolate. Peanut
butter cup cookies. Black chocolate and white chocolate mixed. Real amazing
cookies. Homemade style cookies. The kind of stuff your fondest childhood
memories would call back. That type of product.
Q – And-----the brownies?
A – The brownies similarly. Just unbelievably fresh, delicious: chocolate
chunk, peanut butter cup brownies. Today we do a variety of brownies. Back
then we were doing chocolate chunk and peanut butter cup brownies.
Q – Were you doing the hands on baking work
A – Yes. Back then Geoff and I did that stuff. Today we have a team
of people that work on that stuff. But, I still am very personally involved.
We have a President of the co. that’s personally involved. A couple
of partners. They’re all intimately involved in the business. I have
an unbelievable team of people. I’m very lucky. I have a great, great
team of people at every level that do a tremendous job for us.
Q – That first day of business, you baked a
thousand cookies. How many cookies did you sell that day?
A – Every cookie sold. We don’t bake ‘em until they’re
ordered. The unique part of our business is the cookie is not waiting to
be purchased. The oven runs when the order comes in. We produce to order.
Q – You say, “The greatest lesson I could share is not to confuse
the hobby of baking and a passion for doing it with the business of baking
and the commitment required to be successful at the next level”. What
does that mean?
A – There are a lot of people out there who aspire to be everything
from a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star to a Rock ‘n’ Roll Chef
to a successful business person in whatever endeavor they choose. The business
of baking is very different from the hobby of baking. There are a lot of
great bakers out there, but understanding how to sell it, how to package
it, how to present it, how to negotiate the shipping, the marketing, the
complexities that go with taking a passion and converting into a business
and building a good team of people around yourself, is an art form in and
of itself. That’s why you’ll frequently hear me say I’ve
got a wonderful team, a balanced team of people who are very strong in different
areas from baking to marketing to business management, business development.
When we all come together, much like a great cookie, all the ingredients
are there for us to be successful. I get lots of calls from people asking
about baking and wanting to be involved. The need to have a passion is a
big part of it, but to combine that passion with a plan to how you make
that passion into a successful enterprise is where a lot of people can lose
their passion, because they can find that making their passion into a business
is very difficult. When I talk to people about the business, it’s
always my point to make to them that I don’t want you to lose your
passion, but if you try to make your passion into a business, you need to
think about these things. It’s a completely different situation.
Q – Did it require a lot of money to launch Geoff and Drew’s?
A – It required money and it required forgiving making money for
awhile to launch Geoff And Drew’s. Sweat capital in and sweat equity
in. We all had to kind of tighten the belts and that is what ensued. Everybody
basically went from well-paid, well-positioned jobs to saying this is something
that is meaningful. We feel very strongly about customers. We feel very
strongly about we can make great products. Everyone took a major leap of
faith if you will.
Q – How much would you like to see the co.
A – I believe Geoff And Drew’s can come to represent what cookies
are within the next 15-20 years. I think we will be the cookie co. of choice
in the United States for specially when one wants to send a great gift of
cookies and one wants something that tastes delicious, is packaged exceptionally
well, second to none. I think our potential is unlimited because our values
are very secure. We really have the ingredients for success from our customer
service positioning all the way through to our passion for our customers,
our passion for our products. I think the sky is the limit with this business.
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