“My love of my life right now is cookies,” Marquel Martin said, probably the most sincere thing ever uttered on The Bachelorette. The Las Vegan made a lasting impression on the hit show’s 10th season, romancing Andi Dorfman with a serious cookie tasting and earning the nickname “Cookie Monster” through fans of the show who went nuts on social media.
As his reputation grew through Internet chatter, it dawned on Martin that such chatter could be the not-so-secret ingredient for a startup dedicated to his first delicious love. Called Marquel’s Social Cookie, the concept is a modern dessert lounge with a menu category directly tied to the shop’s online presence. Next to classic, fusion, lifestyle and signature flavors, a “social cookie” might come from customers' favorite recipes, trending topics, good causes people are sharing, or the Instagram feed of a famous chef or food writer. Cookies will have their own profiles and comment feeds, so you can leave your mark on an in-the-works flavor inspired by the UFC’s Dana White or Martin’s personal creation—French toast stuffed with bananas and almond butter.
“Even the chocolate chip cookie, we can bring it to life by giving it its own social media profile with ingredients, hashtags, likes,” says Martin, who is bringing his background in advertising and marketing to the table, while partner Robbie Tripp has the tech savvy to make sure the interactive piece isn’t just a hollow gimmick. “It’s a sense of ownership,” Martin says. “We want you guys to create this cookie.”
And that doesn’t just go for the public’s influence on the menu. Martin and Tripp launched a Kickstarter campaign in November hoping to raise seed money for a brick-and-mortar sweet shop somewhere in Las Vegas. They have just one more day to reach the $50,000 goal (the tally was around $7,200 when this posted). Even if the campaign doesn’t deliver, Martin believes Social Cookie’s supporters will stay tuned and help the vision manifest. He just hopes they don't expect to find him wearing an apron when it does.
“Some people are passionate about baking. I’m passionate about eating cookies,” he says with a laugh. “Being a cookie connoisseur, enjoying a glass of wine and having a cookie on the couch—I don’t think it gets better than that.” But Martin can see the sleek cookie bar now, with soft-serve and maybe a glass of something stronger than milk. It’s the first date of his dreams. From the campaign page: A cookie connects, a cookie speaks, a cookie is social.