“Jimmy always encouraged our kids to play with their food,” explains Andrea Zeilinger, relating how the company came to be. Andrea is one half of the husband and wife team that created Crafty Cooking Kits® and launched Brand Castle® in 2005. “It’s very much a family affair,” continues Jimmy. “First it was me, Andrea and our daughters, and now it’s grown to include our partners and their kids.” By partners, Jimmy means Brand Castle® employees, which can number more than 60 during their busy season. “Our goal with Crafty Cooking Kits has always been to create lasting memories through a shared baking experience,” explains Jimmy.
Since selling their first Crafty Cooking Kit in February 2005, Brand Castle® has become the leader in interactive baking kits for children and adults. What started with six products ranging from paint-your-own-brownie to a rainbow cookies kit has grown into a portfolio of over 300 items sold under four different brand names and numerous licenses.
During the holidays especially, consumers can find Brand Castle products at virtually every retailer in the United States and Canada in nearly every class of trade. Brand Castle products can also be found at retailers in South America, Europe and Australia. Brand Castle also operates an office in southern China for sourcing its housewares products.
The Zeilingers credit a lot of their success to their employees. “Andrea and I are very lucky to work with such creative and dedicated individuals who share our vision. We spend so much time together; it really is an extended family,” says Jimmy.
And food quality takes center stage. “From the beginning,” Andrea explains, “We’ve spent a lot of time searching for the best chocolate, the best marshmallow, the best candy decorations. We test our mixes over and over again. So much tasting that we brought a treadmill to the office!”