Jenn Jordan Leslie’s Weymouth, MA home kitchen is pretty much spotless.
The countertops shine and the newly installed cabinets are streak and smudge free, a fact that sits in direct contrast to what happens inside the pristine, white space. The recently refreshed, modern kitchen looks like it belongs in a model house, but it’s actually home to the colorful, messy and whimsical Tiny Kitchen Cookie Company.
“Yes, it does usually look like this,” Leslie said with a laugh on a recent afternoon. “Having a clean space lets me focus entirely on what I’m doing.”
It was about two and a half years ago that Leslie started making the highly detailed custom cookies that have made her must-have South Shore party vendor. She’d never really seen the style of desert that is now all over Instagram and TikTok, but says it was social media that first drew her in.
“I had never thought about custom cookies or how they were made, but then I was watching, watching watching these videos on Instagram and I found myself at Michael’s having spent $100,” she said. “It felt really natural. I’ve always been a little creative and it was therapeutic. Everyday after that, I was making cookies.”
Now, Leslie boasts her own Instagram following of nearly 4,000 people and posts the kind of videos and photos that first got her hooked. She quit her job in the fall of 2020 and officially Tiny Kitchen Cookie Company just a month later.
“I couldn’t take the sitting at a desk anymore. I wasn’t enjoying it and I was loving this,” Leslie said of her big move. It felt really good to do this, I felt like I was good at it and I was really getting busy.
These days, Leslie makes brightly colored, completely custom cookies for up to seven events per week depending on how many she needs to make and how detailed she needs to make them. She sells three different “levels” of cookie, from more basic designs for birthday parties to intricate works of art for weddings and bridal events.
It takes two to three hours for a simple dozen, but really complex sets can take her up to 16 hours. At her busiest time of the week, usually Wednesday through Saturday, she spends up to 12 hours per day making cookies. She also designs most of her own cookie cutters and uses a 3D printer in her home to make her ideas come to life.
“I was doing such boring work for such a long time and there was no room for creativity in accounting, It really excited me to take customers’ inspiration and make it comes to life. It was that creative outlet I was so desperately searching for.”
From the get-go Leslie said the act of cookie decorating came naturally, but it took time to develop her own style. Some bakers use detailed earth tones, others take a minimalist approach and others still, like Leslie, lean toward bright colors that spark joy.
“It starts out as you copying what you see and, overtime, it just evolves,” she said. “I would like people to be able to see my cookies and know they’re made by Tiny Kitchen.”
In addition to custom events, Leslie has found her completely-from-scratch cookies in high demand near the holidays. When she first sold holiday cookies — in Thanksgiving of 2020 —she made and sold 1,600.
“I basically just didn’t eat or sleep for a week,” she said.
Now, she has it down to a science. This Valentine’s Day, for example, she’ll launch pre-orders for the holiday on her website — tinykitchencookiecompany.squarespace.com — Monday, Jan. 31. She will sell paint-your-own cookies and DIY boxes alongside clever gift sets.
One set, for example, is painted to look like Nintendo Switch controllers with a heart cookie that says “I wouldn’t switch you.” Another three-some has one cookie that looks like a stack of pancakes, one shaped like a syrup bottle and one that says “We go together like…” Valentine’s Day is one of her biggest holidays, and Leslie says she’ll sell between 500 and 800 cookies. Sets will cost $10 to $12.
Photos in this post were taken by the wonderfully talented Greg Derr. They were originally published in The Patriot Ledger.