Alex Copeland is raising funds to take his business, Plenty O’Cookies, to the next level. In 2020 he purchased a home and has plans to renovate the basement into a second kitchen. This renovation will help him take his business full-time, expand his bakes, revive his video show, and have an event space.
Copeland started the business about six years ago as a drag queen cookie artist and plans to continue to use his platform to raise awareness for the LGBTQ+ community. He holds cookie parties in drag as Plenty O’Smiles and loves that he is able to combine both of his passions in this way.
“When I do events people call me either Plenty O’Smiles or Plenty O’Cookies so I don’t mind either name, but my actual drag name is Plenty O’Smiles,” he says.
Copeland started baking as a young child by spending time in the kitchen with his mom and grandma.
“We didn’t bake all year so it was generally around the holidays,” he says. “We made sugar cookies and pumpkin bread. My favorite recipe was the pumpkin bread and I still bake this recipe to this day.”
For Copeland, baking is more about the nostalgic and happy feeling the kitchen brings, not necessarily a specific recipe, although his favorite cookies are chocolate chip and snickerdoodles.
“One of my favorite baking memories is a flour fight with my mom and sister,” he says. “We spent hours baking sugar cookies and started to get slap-happy so we started throwing flour. It was just us laughing and enjoying the holiday baking together.”
While flour-throwing events are not on his upcoming list of plans for the kitchen, Copeland would like to create an event space in his renovations that will bring people together for cookie decorating workshops, and create some of those fun memories for others.
Copeland has been making thousands of cookies a year and is looking forward to a dedicated space to grow the business. Being a self-taught baker and not very experienced in the business side of things has been a challenge, but plenty of practice, tutorials from YouTube, support from family, and leaning on entrepreneurial friends for advice has helped him continue to grow.
He knew he had a business when after launching the website, orders were coming in every day.
“Some of my favorite requests for custom cookies have been Halloween scary movies, any cookies that look like foods, and any cookies with a fun story,” he says. “One time I did cookies that looked like a bunch of different items. They were for a celebration of life for a dog who had eaten all of those different items and lived to tell the tale. The explanation was amazing and it was so nice to celebrate their beloved dog with cookies that told a story.”
When Plenty O’Cookies was only three years in, Copeland made an appearance on the Food Network’s Christmas Cookie Challenge (Season 3, Episode 1). He competed against four other bakers for a $10,000 prize.
“It was the experience of a lifetime and I was so happy to be part of the show,” he says. “It held extra meaning because it was around the holidays and I really got to feel nostalgic and create even more holiday baking memories. I was able to give the judges a little razzle dazzle with my recipes and have fun with it. It was nice to showcase where I started and how I had grown into my baking life.”
Copeland is excited to restart his time on screen by creating a dedicated space for filming Plenty O’Smiles’ cookie videos and live tutorials.
Throughout this entire journey, Copeland has felt loved and supported by so many people. The appearance on the Food Network brought national attention to Plenty O’Cookies and Copeland’s message of inclusivity.
“I just love bringing joy to everyone. If I can bring joy with cookies then that’s just the cherry on top.”
Plenty O’Cookies has an upcoming virtual event through the Franklin Park Conservatory. On Wednesday, January 20, 2021, tune in for some cookie decorating lessons with Plenty O’Smiles. She’ll be instructing and guiding you on decorating your prebaked sugar cookies. Tickets are $25, or $20 for members, and ticket purchasers will receive their ingredient list in advance.
Help Plenty O’Cookies grow by supporting the GoFundMe, Plenty O’Renovations.