Grammy Awards gift bag to feature dog cookies from young Edmonton entrepreneur
EDMONTON -- A young entrepreneur from Edmonton will have her product featured in the official gift bags for the Grammy Awards.
Emily Ainsworth, 19, runs Wags Cookies, a small business that has set out to bring both joy and inclusion to people with disabilities.
The nod from the Grammys is a huge accomplishment for Emily, who has a genetic disorder and is developmentally delayed as a result of daily autonomic dysfunction, her mom Alison Ainsworth told CTV News Edmonton.
Alison said Emily has undergone invasive surgery on her brain and stomach, and sometimes her body needs a timeout. There are several days of the month where Emily receives pain injections at home or in the hospital. But, these hurdles haven’t held Emily back from pursuing her dreams.
Emily discovered a love of baking cookies in general at an early age. But, she discovered cookies for puppies was something she could be successful at.
Alison eventually started reaching out to friends and family online to see if they would purchase the product. In just under six weeks, the venture turned into a vast enterprise.
“The way that the community has embraced it is strangers have come forward with their hands up. As soon as strangers are willing to support you, you’re onto something,” Alison said.
Alison says Wags Cookies was a sustainable business option for Emily that would also accommodate her health fluctuations.
“This business represents hope for Emily,” Alison said. “And she really enjoys giving the orders for once,” she laughed.
“The reality for the disability community in general is that employment is scarce...Individuals with medical or neurodevelopmental challenges are often faced with hurdles in the hiring practice or otherwise and for Emily that might mean spending more time at home in further isolation.”
Alison added that the opportunity is very real for them now to grow the business and involve the community even further.
“We’re able to invite other individuals with disability and their support team into the process where they too can find access to meaningful employment and purpose in their day.
“That’s the dream that we can use Emily’s legacy to make a difference,” she said.
‘THE GRAMMY AWARDS CALLED ABOUT MY COOKIES’
Alison reached out to the coordinator of the Grammy Awards official gift bags and introduced them to Emily’s story.
“Their response was overwhelmingly, 'Yes,'” Alison said. “The Grammys this year have chosen to have a platform of diversity and inclusion and they felt that she was a really good fit.”
“I came home one day and the Grammy Awards called about my cookies,” Emily added.
“Justin Bieber and celebrities would take my product and it would be an opportunity going forward to have a special experience with my cookies.”
Alison acknowledged the feature at the Grammys is an amazing opportunity for Emily. But, she also credits their success to the local push they’ve received in Edmonton.
“The Grammys is about aspiring or accomplished artists reaching for their stars, and what’s so interesting to me about the opportunity to be reflected at the Grammys in their official gifts bags is that this is also Emily reaching for her stars,” Alison said.
Alison beams with pride as she speaks to all that Emily has accomplished. Even when she had every opportunity to give up, she persevered.
“I’m not sure if there are words to say how proud I am,” Alison said.
“She hasn’t for a second taken anything for granted, and to come to this place where she can give her thanks back through these cookies is more than what any mom could hope or dream for their kiddos.”