Ashley Fischer – Tiff’s Treats Cookie Delivery
In 1999, when University of Texas sophomore Tiffany Taylor accidentally missed her date with Leon Chen, she baked and delivered a batch of cookies to him as an apology.
Inspired, the sophomores took a $20 budget, a cell phone, a recipe they created, and Leon’s college apartment oven and started Tiff’s Treats Cookie Delivery. At the time, it only delivered at night and to other college students with a sweet tooth.
By 2017, the couple, by that time married, had expanded the business to 36 stores. Currently, deliveries of over 200 million warm cookies go out from 68 retail locations across five states, provided by more than 1,700 employees. Customers not near these locations can order cookie dough online.
Even though Ashley Fischer didn’t experience the warm cookies as an undergrad student at Texas A&M University in 2005, she discovered them in 2014 when she walked past a storefront on its opening day in a San Antonio shopping center. One bite and she became a loyal customer, not only buying warm cookies for herself, but sending boxes to friends and family as well as to clients and coworkers.
In a fun twist of fate, the company came across her LinkedIn profile in 2021. Looking to expand, the owners were searching for an in-house general counsel who could handle a wide range of legal matters related to retail and e-commerce, and who could work with all the different departments.
Fischer, with nearly a decade of legal experience working in-house—in industries from petroleum to groceries—says she was a perfect fit. She was hired in May of 2021.
“The collaborative culture and their speed in expanding, both digitally and physically, means Tiff’s Treats has what it takes to become nationally recognized,” says Fischer. “My affection for the brand only makes me more excited.”
Baking in legal expertise
No in-house counsel at Tiff’s Treats existed before Fischer’s arrival. While the outside counsel was knowledgeable—and is still used—the process of contacting them for each legal issue was not centralized. Now, if legal counsel is needed, Fischer’s the point person.
Additionally, Fischer created a digital intake form that allows all Tiff’s Treat’s executives and other staff to quickly communicate their legal questions to her. It also helps her keep track of all requests. Stakeholders can also contact her via e-mail, messages or by directly calling her. She’s even resolved legal matters at 10 p.m.
Partnering with the company’s chief technology officer, Jocelyn Seever, Fischer’s helping develop a digital platform and an employee repository. It will house the intake form, facilitating legal requests.
The two are also building a contract management system to house all files and data about a deal. Currently, different departments own different portions. If Fischer and Seever’s plan is implemented, information—from lease and equipment to employee benefits—will be in one digital location. This also means Fischer can more quickly answer any legal questions or concerns brought to her.
“The business team and executives mentioned to me how nice it is having an in-house attorney. It was so quick for them to just turn and ask me a question and receive instant feedback and legal guidance,” Fischer says.
Spreading warmth and cookies
In addition to sitting in on those deals, Fischer helps the team after they find physical locations and manages the legal matters pertaining to investors, which range from major financial institutions to celebrities like Andy Roddick, Brooklyn Decker, Kendra Scott and Dirk Nowitzki.
By 2022, Tiff’s Treats hopes to open ten new locations across Texas, North Carolina and Florida. A challenge with national expansion, however, is applying the laws and regulations of each state, particularly as they relate to labor, employment and general store operations. For that, she’s working with the key business stakeholders, including the human resources department.
She’s also drawing from years spent as an in-house attorney for a Fortune 100 company where she worked on supply chain and compliance matters, including cybersecurity and providing training to heads of different departments.
To tailor her services to Tiff’s Treats, Fischer also needed some training. She says the founders had a unique way of showing her and other company leaders how the business works, so they can understand the business and its employees’ needs.
In her first month, she did two full days of in-store training, which included making warm cookie deliveries. She learned about dough placement while she baked cookies, and she even put ribbons on deliveries.
“I handled the supplies, went into the freezer, and really had the whole experience,” says Fischer. “It provided me with great insight into how the business works on the store level.”
Chocolate and computer chip cookies
Fischer saw that with a tagline of “warm cookie moments,” speed is essential. Cold cookies just won’t do.
Data cookies require just as much attention, she says. With Tiff’s Treats providing its customer with a mobile app and a website to place orders, Fischer ensures that the company’s digital presence is compliant with all state and federal rules and regulations.
The logos and colors Tiff’s Treats uses? Fischer has those covered too. If certain colors are being used repeatedly, for example, she’ll facilitate getting a trademark filed to help protect the brand. She also ensures that already trademarked logos are protected.
“Our creative, marketing and products teams work hard on our brand positioning, and I ensure their work is protected as we expand into new markets throughout the U.S.,” Fischer says.
Same footsteps, different paths
As for Fischer’s smiles and warm cookie moments, a lot of them revolve around her father, Steven Price. He raised her on his own, becoming a role model for her.
“He laid the foundation for my wanting to become a corporate attorney. In fact, he was an attorney and I worked alongside him at his firm at the beginning of my career where I litigated contract disputes and tried cases in court,” Fischer says.
Although she says she misses the juries, she prefers corporate work because it allows her to work directly with a business and its people. In essence, she’s working with them to write the contracts she previously litigated.
That’s why, in 2015, she shifted from her role as a contracts attorney to a corporate counsel at a Fortune 100 company. Apart from providing legal guidance on tech related deals, Fischer was also able to guide that company’s supply chain matters. Joining a Texas loved grocery chain, H-E-B, four years later as first corporate and then as managing counsel, she provided a wide range of legal expertise.
Yet, no negotiation can be quite as difficult as those with twin five-year-olds—except she doesn’t mind her children winning against her. In fact, she takes them out bike riding to one of their three favorite playgrounds a few times a month.
“I also coach their soccer team, which means I’m often negotiating with a group of very determined five year olds,” says Fischer. “Those negotiations may not be as high-powered as the ones for expanding a delicious brand nationally, but they can be just as challenging—and lots of fun.”
View this feature in the Vanguard Fall III 2021 Edition here.
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