10-Year-Old Builds A Sweet Little Empire
This may be the first time you've heard of Cory Nieves, but it won't be the last time.
The founder, owner and CEO of Mr. Cory's Cookies, of Englewood, New Jersey, has conquered the local market with his all-organic home-baked treats, and now he's ready to crank up the online sales arm of the business, just in time for the holiday season.
Cory Nieves is only 10 years old, though he's been running the business for five years, with help from his master baker and mom, Lisa Nieves.
It's actually his second career, since Cory has been an actor and model since he was three. His photogenic face and innate fashion sense have propelled him to the top of the modeling biz, with glossy ads for Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren in the can.
That, of course, has gotten him thinking about a Mr. Cory fashion line in his future.
Presumably, the line will reflect his signature style, which includes crisp business shirts, a power tie and miniature brown oxfords. His over-sized eyeglasses are highly fashionable but lens-less, and they don't make him look a day older than 10.
"When you look good," he explained to NorthJersey.com in an early interview, "people don't wonder what you're up to."
Not bad so far for a kid who started baking cookies to raise money to buy a car for his mom, because he was fed up with waiting in the cold for the bus to school. Once sales took off (Cory sells up to a thousand cookies in a weekend, CBS reported, for a dollar apiece) he upped his goal and started a tuition fund to cover his costs at his chosen university, Princeton.
That was before Cory became a bonafide media sensation on Instagram. following up with appearances on MSNBC Cable and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. He also was featured as number 7 on Ebony magazine's list of Coolest Black Kids in America.
Cory came up with his secret, all-organic formulas for his favorite chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin and peanut butter cookies after experimenting with online recipes and adapting them to his own taste. He proudly says his treats are made with all-natural organic ingredients, "not wacky ingredients with names that you can't pronounce."
His mom allows him to work only on Saturdays. That's when he loads boxes of cookies in a Radio Flyer wagon and delivers them around town to clients including local banks and barber shops, a Porsche dealership and a hospital.
As the business grew, Cory and his mother incorporated and moved the operation to a commercial kitchen, which he is not permitted to enter because of his tender age. They are now eyeing the holiday season, with a scheme to add an online line of ready-to-bake cookie dough to his website.
Cory may be CEO, but his mom can still play the boss. When he shows signs of getting a big head, she reminds him that she's the only one with the power to sign the checks.
Meanwhile, his modeling career is booming, with a recent featured role in a back-to-school commercial for fashion retailer Barneys New York. Which was quite appropriate, since Cory just started fifth grade.
Want to see him in action? For the MSNBC interview, click here. For the backstage exclusive for The Ellen DeGeneres Show, click here.