Today we’d like to introduce you to Paolo Andino.
Hi Paolo, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
20 years ago, I became obsessed with creating a recipe for the perfect cookie. Equal parts crunchy & chewy, sweet & hearty with all that buttery-chocolatey flavor packed inside.
After a ton of research and several recipe tweaks, I came up with this cookie dough and it was so good I wanted to sell it! At the time, there was no Instagram and after I exhausted my friends and family, I really didn’t know what else to do. So I gave it up, but I kept baking the cookies as gifts every once in a while. My cousin Liza has always been a big fan of the cookies and one day in late June while enjoying a well distanced (13 feet… measuring tape included, lol) picnic in the park she was determined to get the cookies on Instagram and created a special account just for them. With only a few pictures and her endorsement the cookies began to get noticed by her friends who wanted to get some. She told them I sold them and to contact me to buy some! So I started baking and selling and soon Liza began envisioning a brighter future for me and these cookies….! She made a gorgeous website, got us the LLC, and within two months we had every permit, license and inspection under the sun required to run a small business in West Hollywood. We were so excited watching it grow it didn’t even feel like work. We would be texting at 1 AM with new ideas and became completely committed to this venture while discovering that we worked together incredibly well!
Now the bright future was for both of us 🙂 She is a producer and I am an actor by trade so together, we created everything from jingles to commercials to Yelp! accounts. We were off and running. Then one day while brainstorming about a new delicious Cuban cookie, we invented the Guava Chocolate Chip Cookie. This cookie is magic! It has been a huge hit, surprisingly not just with Cubans but folks who never tried guava before and fell in love. Now we just finished our first holiday madness rush which included the cutest gift box you ever saw (sold out of those!) and we are shipping to every state and Puerto Rico. ❤️🍪
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
From the beginning, we said that this cookie company was creating itself and using us to do it because things just kept happening at just the right time. That’s not to say there haven’t been challenges. Dealing with not only LA county but the city of West Hollywood to get the permits and licenses gave us many brain fried moments. Surprisingly one of the biggest challenges was shipping and finding the right sized box! It was daunting. We searched and searched, started out shipping in Tupperware containers, and then finally found a box company that made the perfect size. Then figuring out the weight of everything and how to integrate it into the website to work with USPS nearly killed us! Too much math and conversions into pounds and ounces… we needed a fifth grader! Not to mention that the pandemic had made shipping a nightmare so we had to switch carriers and then go through the whole process again for UPS with new requirements and different boxes. Ugh! Now we flow easily between the two carriers to suit our customer’s needs, but it was a steep learning curve. ❤️🍪
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I have always been a creative person. Liza calls me a Renaissance Man because I also cook, make furniture, paint, do voice-overs and act. I went to school for acting and have been working professionally since 1997. My involvement in the world of commercials, both on camera and radio in Spanish and English has given me a big advantage in knowing what products go through in the advertising process. This along with Liza’s production background really sets us apart as a dynamic duo and makes the content we create extremely on point. Sometimes we look at each other and say that our lives have been preparing us for this moment! Personally, my greatest gift in this venture is working with my cousin Liza. Not only has she been a great friend since childhood, she is like a spiritual partner for me as well. She always gives it to me straight and cares deeply for me. To get to be in business with someone who is so accomplished and good at what she does and that loves me this much and who makes me laugh this much is just pure joy joy joy 🙂
Have you learned any interesting or important lessons due to the Covid-19 Crisis?
It’s interesting how people have dealt with Covid-19. At first, I thought no one is gonna buy cookies when we are going through this hardship! But then I realized the power of the cookie… It’s literally and figuratively a sweet little joy maker for the senses and the soul. It’s affordable and delicious so it’s perfect for yourself or anyone else you want to bring a little happiness to. That aspect has been a revelation, and it has been so satisfying for Liza and I to be on the “giving” side of that equation.
- $14 for half a dozen cookies of your choice
- $58 for our unique retro tin lunch gift box with glass milk bottle.
- Email: DTMCookies@gmail.com
- Website: www.donttouchmycookies.com
- Instagram: @dont_touchmycookies
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wwwDontTouchMyCookiescom/
- Youtube: https://youtube.com/channel/UCgihn3WnVrB7IpD4BfpajMQ
- Yelp: https://yelp.to/GXzRaH82tcb
These were all taken by Paolo Andino.