I’m still shocked when an Austinite tells me they’ve never tried cookies from Tiff’s Treats. C’mon people, we’re talking about a local icon! If you’re currently hiding your face in shame, stop it and go order some cookies for yourself.
Yes, Tiff’s Treats is known for hot cookie deliveries, straight to your doorstep (you can even get them with Blue Bell ice cream). Bakeries around town may have half-decent cookies, but where else besides Grandma’s kitchen can you get them hot and meltingly delicious?
Even if you consider yourself versed in the yumminess of Tiff’s Treats, you may not know how the company came to exist, or the adventures and surprises they’ve experienced over the past few years. So for your sake, the Austinot sat down with founders Tiffany Taylor and Leon Chen to hear the whole tale. During our enjoyable time together, I unearthed 8 facts you probably don’t know about Tiff’s Treats, including heretofore unreleased info (yes, I said heretofore).
How many of these facts did you already know? Tell me in a comment!
1. Tiff’s Treats Was Founded by College Kids
Founders and owners Tiffany Taylor and Leon Chen have known each other since high school. They both grew up in the Dallas area, and they both came to Austin to attend The University of Texas. During their sophomore year of college, Tiffany baked Leon cookies as an apology (even talented bakers make mistakes!). Apparently Leon accepted the apology, and apparently he was impressed by the quality of the cookies, because he insisted to Tiffany that they start a cookie business.
When Tiffany and Leon were only nineteen years old, “Tiffany’s Treats” was created. The two friends shared the baking and delivering tasks. They bought a cell phone for the business and started putting flyers out on the UT campus to advertise. They didn’t pay themselves for 4 years, but the business and the buzz surrounding it kept building. Regular orders from UT for 75 dozen cookies didn’t hurt any!
2. “Only Cute Boys Deliver for Tiff’s Treats”
The company’s first two employees were the younger brothers of a friend. By this time, Tiff and Leon were out of college, but their young delivery drivers were good looking college guys who were very involved in the UT fraternity scene. So good looking, in fact, that they gave Tiff’s Treats a reputation. “Only cute boys deliver for Tiff’s Treats” was the common opinion, and jokes were even thrown around about making a calendar to show off the employees.
3. Flagship Location Is Still on Nueces at MLK
Tiff and Leon cooked their first batches of cookies in their small Hyde Park apartment. After outgrowing that space, they found a business on the Drag that let them split space. They were there for a year before the business went under. Desperate to find a new home, they met their new landlord, Dr. John Schneider, and founded their flagship location at 1806 Nueces Street. Dr. Schneider became a supportive friend and he even attended Tiff and Leon’s wedding three years ago.
4. The Company Was Once Sued by Tiffany & Co.
In 2003, right around the time they were moving into their first space on Nueces, Tiff and Leon received a letter that made their hearts stop. They were being sued by Tiffany & Co. for copyright infringement. Remember, up until this point, the company was called “Tiffany’s Treats.”
As college kids, they hadn’t put any thought into their company name. They had to spend $20,000 on the lawsuit, but they agree they were lucky to come out with the name “Tiff’s Treats.”
5. Tiff’s Treats Now Has 13 Locations in 3 Cities
The second location launched in 2006, when Tiff and Leon expanded to their hometown of Dallas. By 2008, their Central Austin location “was going to burst,” so they found a space in North Austin at 11011 Research Blvd.
In 2008 at the beginning of the recession, they weren’t able to get a loan like they had before. Fortunately by this time, the Tiff’s Treats brand was known and they had interest from investors. Their team of investors believed in them and has helped them to expand across Austin, Dallas and Houston, with a total of 13 locations.
The company now has over 250 employees.
6. New Locations Are Based on Data, Not Bias
“Some people get mad at us for not going into their part of town,” Leon told me. “But we go into each area based on demand. We have data we use to track demand.” Tiff’s Treats bases their new locations on demand for delivery and access for pickups. Parking for customers is also a priority. They’re excited about their brand new location in South Austin, at 4301 W. William Cannon. “There’s a lot going on in this area,” said Leon.
7. Tiff’s Treats Is Expanding to San Antonio
When we asked Tiff and Leon what’s next for them, they let the cat out of the bag: San Antonio is the next stop on their journey of expansion. Though there’s no specific timeline available yet, the couple confidently told us that their mind was made up about this choice.
8. Austin Is the Perfect Home for Tiff’s Treats
A theme dominated our time with Tiff and Leon: the Austin community has always supported Tiff’s Treats and that support has been indispensable. “There’s no way this company could’ve grown in any other city in America,” Leon declared. “Austin people are just so accepting.”
Tiffany added her words of thanks to the community: “Thank you for your support and excitement. It was the reason we continued [to work on Tiff’s Treats] after we graduated.”
It’s no secret that Austin loves its local businesses, and Tiff’s Treats is a great example of the hard working folk we love to accept and respect, and the outstanding products we love to enjoy.
How many of these 8 facts did you already know?