Eleni Gianopulos loves her Kate Spade bag. It’s so stylish, so colorful—and, best of all, so edible.
The bag is just one of the whimsical items in Gianopulos’s line of Eleni’s Cookies which, even though some cost upward of $10 each, sell like hotcakes to celebrities and regular noshers alike. “My cookies make people smile,” she says.
Among the amused: Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, who doled out New York City-themed iced sugar cookies as party favors at their November 2000 wedding. Other memorable custom orders: 800 miniature dancing legs for The Producers’ producers and a gingerbread replica of Elton John’s English manor house, given to him as a 1997 Christmas present. “I had to peer in every tiny window to make sure the candy was in place,” says Gianopulos. “And we hand made every brick.” “Gianopulos,” says designer Spade, “takes an ordinary dessert and turns it into eye candy.”
The daughter of real estate developer Dan Christopoulos and homemaker Jeanie, Gianopulos, 38, grew up in Piedmont, Calif. In 1991, wed to commodities broker Randall Gianopulos, 7, and living in Manhattan, she began selling oatmeal cookies to gourmet shops. “Business,” she says, “just started picking up.”
Now Gianopulos sells more than $1 million worth of cookies a year from her Manhattan shop and in stores like Neiman Marcus. “I want to create a cookie empire,” she says. “Willy Wonka is my inspiration.”