Kitchen Collectables, Inc. began with a need. Lesley Roubicek, the founder and President of our company needed cookie cutters for her son's birthday treats at school. As a teacher herself, she knew that cookies were much neater in the classroom than cake or cupcakes. She also thought it would be a fun family activity to bake and decorate cookies with her son.
Naively, Lesley went to her nearest kitchen supply store to purchase a large "7" cookie cutter and an equal sized "M", for Michael. She found neither. Undaunted, she went to another store, then another. The only time she came close to finding what she was looking for was when she found a small metal tin containing the entire alphabet, unfortunately, the cookies cutters were all less than an inch tall.
Lesley began to ask around. Friends and acquaintances confirmed her experiences. Good quality cookie cutters that were large enough to decorate but not too big to eat were just about impossible to find. Small plastic Santa's and Christmas trees were easy to locate, but unfortunately she didn't have a need for either of these. Lesley made phone calls to friends and relatives in different cities and asked them to check, still no luck.
Lesley and her husband, Al Turman took a trip to Napa Valley later that same year. While visiting the Culinary Institute Lesley found some cookie cutters that were, except for the design, exactly what she had been looking for. They were big enough to decorate but not too big to eat. They were made of sturdy, beautiful copper. She showed them to Al and, as they remember it, "Lights went off and bells chimed."
At first Lesley and Al looked for cookie cutter manufacturers to represent. Their thought was they would find a quality manufacturer and dabble at marketing their cutters. They found several but none had the variety they were looking for. Also, as the business grew, none were able to keep up with the supply they required.
Al, has always been a pretty handy fellow. One Saturday he left the house early saying he was going to the hardware store. He was gone most of the morning and early afternoon (this was not an unusual length of time for Al to be gone when he went to the hardware store). When he returned, he had several bags of "stuff". He retired to his workroom to, "try something". After many hours of puttering, he came out of his workroom and handed Lesley a piece of copper that he had bent and riveted into the number seven. It was about 5" tall. "Is this what you're looking for?" he asked Lesley. It was indeed.
Al continued to work on and improve his cookie cutter making skills. He increased his repertoire to include animals, holiday designs, vehicles and vegetables. For Valentine's Day he presented Lesley with a beautiful stemmed rose cookie cutter. Lesley had all the cookie cutters she could ever want; it was time to take their own cookie cutters on the road. Kitchen Collectables, Inc., manufacturer of handmade solid copper cookie cutters was born.
As people discovered what Al was capable of, the orders and requests for additional cutters began to pour in. The Internet had become a viable place for small businesses to sell their wares so Al and Lesley developed a web page and began to market their cutters internationally.
At this point Al had to decide whether to keep his job as the national sales manager for a computer software company or go to work full time making cookie cutters. He took the leap and in 1997 and became self-employed.
An interesting note about Kitchen Collectables is that most of the cutters are now shaped by stay at home moms. Because of a worker shortage in their area, part-time employees are almost impossible to find. Al had solved his problem and created many jobs for women who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford to work. These ladies shape at home, working at their own pace and on their own schedule.
During their first summer in business Kitchen Collectables received an order from catalog company J.Jill for 21,000 cutters. They worked long hot hours in their basement and garage to fill their first "big" order. At the same time Al was frantically looking for space in an industrial area so they could give their neighbors a break from the hammering, compressor noises, and
constant coming and going of shapers. On Labor Day, still knee deep in the J. Jill order, they moved to their current location at 8901 J Street.