Weksberg began working for the Toronto bakery as a general manager, saying he was attracted by the technology that printed edible designs onto cookies and cupcakes for events like weddings and birthdays.
“But little did I know until I actually arrived, they weren’t doing extremely well -- and the owners, a few months after I got there, were speaking of selling the business, of getting out of it,” Weksberg said. “So I purchased it, and I decided to change it from a storefront to a business selling into the promotional marketplace.”
Corporate Confections uses a digital printing process to create the designs on its cookies -- with a machine similar to a textile printer that uses edible inks. Since shifting the business to the promotional products industry in 2016, Weksberg says they are now on their third generation of printing equipment, with regular upgrades to meet ever-growing capacity requirements.
When the company first entered the market at the PPPC National Convention in January 2016, its main offering was its signature customized cookies.
“That was our first product, that’s where we started and it’s also the most unique to us -- that ability to put a full colour, custom logo directly onto a cookie or onto an icing,” Weksberg said. “There’s no icing sheets, no bad taste or consistency in the mouth, so really a great quality product. I think that’s what sets us apart from any of our competition.”
From there, the product range has grown -- and now includes other flavoured cookies, candies and chocolates. But Weksberg says Corporate Confections is quite literally breaking the mold when it comes to promotional chocolate, opting for a colourful, artisanal approach to branded products instead of the standard shaped offerings common in the industry.
“Very often what we find is people come to us because of our cookies, (they) like our quality and like working with us, and then they’ll start using us for the other parts of our line,” Weksberg said, noting while the original branded cookie remains the most popular, their candy and chocolate sales are gaining ground.
And the company’s products aren’t just tasty -- part of Corporate Confections’ appeal is its ability to successfully produce dazzling creative projects. Every member of the customer service team has a background in design or marketing and uses their artistic expertise to bring a client’s idea into reality.
Weksberg says one of his favourite orders involved making shoeboxes for a popular shoe company.
“It was a life-sized box made out of gingerbread cookie, and inside they then kitted that with some shirts and some other items, and we sent these kits out to a hundred different influencers,” he said. “It was a fully edible gift box with their branding on it, with some extra design on it, and that was probably the most unique and fun, amazing project we’ve worked on.”
“If clients bring us something that’s unique and fun, we love doing it. That’s the most exciting time for our team, when we can get creative and try some new stuff.”
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Weksberg is optimistic about the coming months. The cancellation of events has impacted Corporate Confections’ sales, but the fast-approaching holiday season marks the company’s busiest time of the year.
“I think for us this year, we’re really excited to be bringing a few new items out -- in particular, our CandyPost line,” he said. “With most people changing to work from home now and having to drop ship things across the country, we can do that extremely affordably through standard Canada Post mail now.”
“But people also love food and what you’ve seen time and time again in the last hundred years is that when it’s a tough time for people, when there are recessions, when there are tough things going on in life, candy companies have always done well, chocolate bar companies have always done particularly well in that time,” Weksberg said. “And what we expect to see now, particularly over the holidays, is that our clients -- your clients -- still want to give gifts. You still want to show appreciation, we just have to change how we’re doing that.”
“I think people are going to be taking advantage of cookies and candies and chocolates to really send a positive emotion out to your staff at home or out your clients. That’s what we’re all looking to do now -- create that one moment of escape, of joy, from our very different lives working from home, and I think a lot of companies are going to take advantage of that.”
By Diana Foxall