It’s not every day that a bakery has its product featured at the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards in the same year. For Jaime Simmons, owner of cupcake business Tokens of My Confection, Kansas City, Mo., the opportunity arose out of both her professional connections and her determination to get exposure in her new venture. “I used to do PR for the music industry,” Simmons says. “I know the woman who does PR for the gifting suites for the Golden Globes and the Oscars. This year she wanted to do something different by holding a ‘Cupcakes and Cocktails’ gift suite. I asked her if I could be part of it, and she told me to come in as a sponsor.”
The gift suite is a two-day marketing event where companies can connect to celebrities, press outlets and buyers from Hollywood boutiques. Simmons flew to Los Angeles with 450 cupcakes for the pre-show event, which took place Jan. 13-14 at the W Hotel in Los Angeles. “The main goal was to get my product into the celebrities’ hands,” she says. She distributed assorted varieties of regular and mini cupcakes in boxes sealed with stickers bearing the company logo, as well as her business cards to celebrities including Vanessa Williams and “Biggest Loser” star Jillian Michaels.
Since appearing at the event, she has been invited to do several showcases and charity events around Kansas City. She hasn’t opened a retail location yet, noting that her main goal is gaining exposure. “The bulk of my business has been getting my product into people’s hands,” she says.
Simmons admits that while her background in music PR helped get her into the award shows, her determination to promote the business has helped build her brand.
“It really just so happened I had that background. I could have been anyone,” she says. “Bakers really need to get their name out there. I am on the computer all day long researching events–offering cupcakes for free, doing tastings all over cities. It’s not just who you know but really hitting the ground and shoving yourself into these events.”