From Storyteller to Fortune Teller
All those funny sayings that Ray Richmond wrote down and tossed into a file throughout the years are finally being put to good use.
Richmond, a Studio City resident, has worked as a columnist, reporter and television critic for various publications for nearly 25 years, but when the print market began drying up, he pulled out that folder and launched into the cookie business.
“It became more difficult to make a living,” says Richmond, who has written for the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Hollywood Reporter and other notable publications. “I began looking to satisfy other areas of my life.”
Richmond and his wife, Jill Holden, are avid Chinese foodies. He noticed that most people don’t eat the fortune cookies, but they always crack them open to read the fortune.
He jokes that the fortunes were probably written in 1905 by someone in a Tibetan cave.
“I realized this was an area of literary improvement that needed punching up badly,” says Richmond, 55, who thought the cookies — which, face it, sometimes taste like cardboard — could also use a creative overhaul.
After researching the market to see if anyone else offered something better, he began working with a business coach to formulate his concept. Richmond chose the name Super Accurate Fortune Cookies to highlight the improved messages inside — humorous tidbits of wisdom that relate to your life in a way that fortune cookies never have before. Even the outside of the box hints at the humor that lies inside, declaring that leading fortune-cookie authorities agree the cookies are 77 percent more accurate than regular fortune cookies.
The October launch had the family-run company busily preparing Chanukah and Christmas fortune cookies to ship to clients. The blue and white certified kosher Chanukah cookies, in blueberry and coconut flavors, tote clever messages about the holiday; Christmas cookies are red (strawberry) and green (mint).
“I wanted to make the cookie as unique as the message inside,” Richmond says.
Some of the wise-cracking Chanukah messages include: “Please, you got the best fortune in the box, so stop kvetching,” “We could tell you the correct spelling of Channukkahh, but then we would have to kill you” or “Cheating at dreidel remains your private shame.”
The fortunes are free-flowing for Richmond, who finds he is always jotting down something amusing, but he bounces the messages off his wife before moving forward.
“I’m trying to reinvent clever, fun, contemporary messages that are festive for the holiday and actually cool,” Richmond says.
The new business entrepreneur is developing his ideas for other holidays — Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays, weddings, bachelor and bachelorette parties, as well as custom requests. Cookies for each occasion will have unique flavors and messages.
Richmond’s fortune cookies will be available for Chanukah at a variety of Los Angeles synagogue gift shops, holiday boutiques, the Los Angeles Gift Show and on his Web site.
For Richmond, who has spent the better part of his life in one career, the challenge has been transitioning into the business world. Nonetheless, he has thoroughly enjoyed the creative aspect.
“I’m not curing cancer, so I am just going to have fun with it,” Richmond says.
For more information on Super Accurate Fortune Cookies, visit www.smartestcookies.com