Stephanie Schneiderman, who founded Newtown-based Biscotti Etc. just two years ago, was skeptical when she was asked to serve up her tasty treats at the 2014 Emmy Awards. But after doing a little detective work to determine the offer was legit, she quickly agreed.
A recent visit by The Newtown Bee found Ms Schneiderman packing for the weekend adventure and preparing to ship several cases of her homemade biscotti out to Los Angeles.
“I thought it was a scam,” she said after receiving an official-looking e-mail inviting her to be among 20 to 25 companies to supply “swag bag” items at a pre-Emmys red carpet event August 23.
“It was the real deal,” she said excitedly. “And when I talked to another participant from upstate New York who had supplied some painted wine glasses for another awards event, she said the opportunity changed her life.
“All one celebrity has to do is tweet about your product and you’re set — I can only hope,” she added.
Once all the paperwork was signed and delivered, Ms Schneiderman began packing 150 gift boxes of her biscotti to ship out, ensuring the crispy cookies would be there when she arrived August 22.
“I’m also bringing my own photographer, because any photos I get with Emmy celebrities eating or holding my products I can use in any of my own future marketing,” she said.
Along with dozens of entertainment celebrities that will be attending the pre-Emmys gifting event, Ms Schneiderman was told she would be rubbing elbows and sharing biscotti with other entertainment industry leaders. The gifting event is being held in the Nokia Theater, the same venue as the evening main event, which will be broadcast on ABC Monday evening, August 25.
“They described the event as something like a celebrity trade show,” she said. “I’m so excited I’ve been beside myself all week.”
Ms Schneiderman was told that each celebrity attending the gifting event will receive at least one sample of Biscotti Etc. products.
“I was so honored to be chosen for this, although I understand my samples weren’t even tasted before they offered me the spot,” she said. “But once the selection committee opened up the boxes, they loved them.”
Those samples will include Ms Schneiderman’s latest offering, classic chocolate chip biscotti. She is also experimenting with other new flavors that she expects will be perfected in time for an expected onslaught of holiday gift orders.
“I’m almost ready to launch my carrot cake biscotti, and I’m close to what I call the ‘pesto,’ which is a combination of lemon and pine nut flavors,” she said. She is also developing an orange-blueberry and Peppermint Patty biscotti, the latter featuring York Peppermint Patty morsels.
While her biscotti orders are popular as one-on-one gifts, Ms Schneiderman has been experiencing a significant increase in business from corporate clients who purchase cases at a time to use as employee incentives and client gifts.
She customizes those orders with signed gift cards and client branding or logos, and ships to business accounts across the country. Ms Schneiderman is also fulfilling orders she gets by the dozens at her website, biscottietc.com.
The local entrepreneur started her business in January 2013 after providing limited runs of her biscotti as holiday gifts to family and friend for years. Prior to that she was an educator for 20 years.
Ms Schneiderman credits a number of Newtown business owners who helped her get started by featuring or selling her biscotti. And she said advice from local SCORE volunteer Wes Thompson was invaluable as she launched her product line.
Her recipe was handed down to Ms Schneiderman by her mom, and has since been modified into a “no oil, no dairy” formula — except for the peanut butter flavor which uses peanut oil.
While she would have loved to stay for the main event Monday evening, Ms Schneiderman opted to fly home and hopes to be back in time to watch the live broadcast.
“I want to see if I can spot any of the celebrities who tried my biscotti,” she said.