This is from a biweekly advertiser-sponsored feature called the "Seafirst Business Profile" in the Northwest Asian Weekly. This is the original, unedited version. I'm not certain what date the article appeared but it was during summer 1996. I'll try to include the date of publication and make the alterations that appeared in the published version.
"Everyone always has great ideas but no one ever follows through with them," says Mae W. Lee, founder of Mei Mei, The "Original" Chocolate-Dipped Fortune Cookie and Confection Company.
Now in business for over 12 years, Mei Mei demonstrates what can happen when people follow through with their ideas. Since Maes modest beginnings, her client list has grown to include Nordstrom, Uwajimaya, Louies Cuisine of China restaurant, and a number of corporate clients.
Mei Mei doesnt make your typical fortune cookies. They can be dipped in white, dark, or milk chocolate. Mei Mei customizes the cookies with messages appropriate for the occasion. Companies have ordered these cookies filled with motivational messages for company seminars; a math convention once ordered cookies with math problems to solve. She has also filled orders customized for weddings and promotional events. Clients only have to provide a list of fortunes and Mei Mei puts them inside the cookies.
Mae, who worked as a clothing designer for 15 years before developing her chocolate-dipped fortune cookies, designed the original Jim Whitaker clothing line. Her design experience has also contributed to innovative packaging and presentation of her specialties. The cookies can be bought wrapped in colored foil, packaged individually in a designer plastic wrapping, or sold in beautiful boxes.
"Being a designer you always have ideas," said Mae.
Twelve years after introducing her special cookies with Valentines day messages, the concept is still novel to many peopleand one often imitated. But while a number of other companies have begun to offer their own versions of Mei Meis signature treat, most skimp on the quality of the chocolate, Mae said.
Never short of new ideas, Mae is introducing new products to her product line, including designer taffy and molded chocolates with an Asian edge. Companies can order taffy customized with their company logo. Soon, she will offer chocolate-molded Japanese Daruma dolls, a Japanese crane, a maneki-neko ("beckoning" cat), and, for Chinese weddings, molded chocolates in the shape of the character for "Double happiness."
Mae is also planning expanded sales efforts, and has hired her son Lawrence as Sales Director. She hopes to gain an expanded clientele and much wider exposure.
With her track record at innovation and implementing new ideas, Mae is sure to achieve her goals.
© 1996 Northwest Asian Weekly.