Ontelaunee woman's businesses sound, look and taste good
David A. Kostival Reading Eagle March 2011
Ten years ago, Kelli Fusaro, 48, of Ontelaunee Township was a music teacher and an aspiring songwriter.
Today, she is the owner of two successful Internet-based businesses that sell musical greeting cards and sugar cookies that are personalized with art and photographs.
But the change in career wasn't really all that drastic. Her focus simply evolved.
As a musician, Fusaro would perform her original inspirational music during Mass at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, 1018 N. Eighth St.
Reading Eagle: Ryan McFadden
She decided to pursue her music dreams and went to Nashville, Tenn., to make a CD of her original music.
In order to market her CD, she started a website.
"Many of the songs I had written seemed to meet the needs of different occasions, so I began to market my music with personalized greeting cards," Fusaro explained. "As time went on, I got phone calls from businesses around the world that wanted personalized cards with their own choice of music. It was then that I developed custom sound greeting cards for a new business, Sound Expression Greetings."
Fusaro started getting e-mails from factories in China asking her to use their manufacturing services.
She then traveled to China and found a factory to manufacture the sound cards.
"Then, in 2005, I was contacted by a woman in Florida who owned a website that sold personalized photo cookies," Fusaro said. "She wanted to retire and asked me if I wanted to take over her business."
Fusaro met the woman in Pittsburgh for a weekend training session.
She then started her second business: Kelli's Picture Cookies.
A local bakery makes the sugar cookies, and Fusaro edits and crops photos to have them printed onto fondant with edible inks. The fondant then is placed onto the icing on a cookie.
The cookies are popular favors for birthdays, weddings and special occasions.
The concept has been successful and has attracted big-name clients.
Fusaro said she once made 1,000 Yoda cookies for George Lucas, who was hosting a party in celebration of a "Star Wars" anniversary.
"People just tend to find us online," she said. "You never know who is going to call to order these cookies."
Fusaro recently started offering smart cookies - cookies that look like iPhones, complete with apps.
The iPhone cookies are finished off with a personalized photograph and are becoming very popular favors for teen parties.
Later this year, Fusaro plans to conduct training classes to help aspiring entrepreneurs realize their dreams.
"I want to offer classes to empower upcoming entrepreneurs to start their own businesses," she said. "It's a great adventure, and there are a lot of opportunities for businesses in this country."
Fusaro said the problem most people have is that they have an idea for a business, but then just stop before it gets very far.
"People tend to listen to the voice in their head that's always saying something negative," Fusaro said. "Sometimes if you take a walk in your own mind, you're not always in a good neighborhood."
"I'm totally blown away by how this turned out. I feel blessed, because this is beyond my wildest dreams. I'm thankful and excited, because this is always an evolving process."
Fusaro has also set a goal for this year to open five Picture Cookies franchises in the eastern United States.
The stores will feature custom photo cookies made on the premises and also offer recordable party products such as invitations, thank you notes, gift bags and greeting cards, Fusaro said.
Berks County Living
Picture It! You could try gnawing on any old picture, but we wouldn't recommend it. Instead have a photo of the bride and groom or any picture, inked onto icing with edible food coloring to commemorate the day and give friends and family something to nibble on. The shortbread cookies dipped in royal icing can also be saved as a keepsake, if you can keep yourself from devouring them.
Custom photo cookies $25.00 per dozen plus shipping at www.Party-Photo-Favors, Reading. 1-877-545-2343
You Look Good Enough to Eat!
Compiled by Emily Hoch & Kristin Kramer (April 2006)
Picture your sweetheart's face on a cookie or cake for your next celebration. Berks resident Kelli Fusaro, listed on her website as a "former music teacher turned singer and entrepreneur", operates www.Party-Photo-Favors.com, and can transfer photos in edible ink onto sweet treats for any event - weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, and even corporate occasions like office parties. For example, Estee Lauder used Kelli's cookies as a promotional item for the launch of their new perfume, Intuition. Photo cookies are also a popular new way to personalize wedding favors. Kelli says that, although it's "brand new to this area," many orders have already come from brides and grooms in New York and New Jersey.
Customers can visit the website for the order form and email photos to her, and Kelli then transfers the images onto cakes, cupcakes, and shortbread cookies, which she gets from a local bakery. Order forms can also be printed out and mailed in with photographs. In addition, Kelli can add messages or print logos, and even get custom shapes for customers with a special idea.
Modern Dog Magazine -
The following ad appeared in the Modern Dog Magazine.
Say cheese! Party-Photo-Favors custom photo cookies are a great way to commemorate a special day in your pup's life, celebrate a birthday or say thank you. Send in a photo and your personalized dog cookies will arrive at your door. See our dog biscuit website for more details.
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