From The Blind Side to baking, bedazzling, public speaking and piano, Collins Tuohy of Whimsy Cookie Co., exhibits limitless energy, creativity and spunk. Most importantly, she shows us that you always win by loving more. We are delighted to introduce this Memphis native and sweet face as today’s FACE of Memphis.
Did you have any idea how adding another brother to your family while you were in high school and the subsequent book/movie would change your life? What are some of the pluses and minuses if there are any?
I had no idea how adding one person to a family could make such an impact. There’s no doubt that God had a plan for us. He uses simple people to tell a story. My family is just a normal family that does the same things that everyone else does. There have been no minuses when it comes to Mike (Michael Oher) or the movie, no downside, honestly!
Any distortions in the movie version of your family’s life with Michael you’d like to clear up?
Truthfully, our main concern as a family wasn’t as much the content of The Blind Side but the message that our family is so passionate about: that everyone has value and families don’t have to match. When that message got projected through the movie we were happy. The movie was actually extremely close to how it happened in real life, except that I never played volleyball, and Mike and I are the same age. Silly things like that don’t matter when looking at the big picture.
Is Whimsy a creative outlet for you?
I feel like we all create beauty each and every day in our words, in our actions, in our dress and on and on. It’s the big picture for me … Whether it’s with Whimsy (my cookie company), or speaking professionally about my experiences around the country, sitting on the board of the Making it Happen Foundation (our family’s foundation) or, most recently, being on my mom’s and my TV show “Family Addition.” I am allowed to use a lot of different outlets, and I think that feeds my creative side and let’s me share it with others with a smile and a happy heart!
So how did you get into the cookie business?
I tasted my business partner’s cookies at one of my little brother SJ’s high-school football games, and they had me at first bite! Seriously, I knew immediately that I needed to find who made these cookies and hug them! I ordered a few times to make sure the cookies were not a fluke and the orders kept tasting better and looking more creative. I found out the creator of the cookies was Laurie Suriff and I asked her to go to lunch with me a few weeks after that. We joined forces and quickly started building our brand. She is an amazing person and can make a mean sugar cookie.
Do you do all custom cookies or can people shop for a pre-made sweet treat at the store any time?
We love doing custom work. It’s what separates Whimsy from most other cookie products. But we do actually have a retail case in the front of our store. It is stocked every week with seasonal cookies and a few other treats as well.
What comes next for Whimsy?
Go big or go home!! We are really trying to expand our company and nothing is out of reach. We want to prove we can grow our business and still keep a quality product that people will love. You name it and we have thought about doing it with Whimsy.
Best advice you’ve been given?
“It’s easy to join the crowd, but hard to stand alone!” I’m surrounded by people who give me wonderful advice daily. I am very lucky! My parents are constantly telling me and my brothers “To whom much is given, much is required.” And my brother Michael has says, “Everything in life that is worthwhile is worth working hard for.” His work ethic inspires me. And man, he worked himself right into a Super Bowl Championship!
What book(s) can currently be found on your bedside table?
By my bed is my Bible and anything my mom or grandmother has passed along to me from their previous beach reads. Therefore it’s mostly Nora Roberts or Nichols Sparks-type stuff. Ha! I only have time to read when I’m traveling for work so I’m okay with mindless reading.
What does your ideal Saturday look like?
Well, that’s a funny question because for the past eight years I have been at a college football game, or a high-school basketball game every Saturday. When I’m not doing any of those sporting events, I love going to estate sales. I find the best birthday and wedding presents for my friends. I also love movies and I’m always up for shopping or trying a new restaurant or a new recipe to take to Ole Miss tailgates in The Grove.
Your favorite way(s) to unwind?
Spending time with my friends and family, going to the beach or playing the piano. I usually walk in the morning and that clears my head for the day.
Favorite beauty product?
I have way too many, but lately, it’s Mary Kay Love Lash Mascara. I think it’s so funny because I was the person who always said Mary Kay was only for grandmothers. But one of my best friends is a rep and she made me try all her stuff, and their mascara won me over. It is half the price of my Dior mascara that I was using before and works twice as well. I’m a believer that it doesn’t have to be expensive to be good.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I have played the piano for 20 years and I still take lessons. I am also a closet bedazzler. I pretty much will bedazzle anything. Lately I did a lot of T-shirts for the Grizzlies playoffs. My mom keeps me busy with it. She has something every week she wants bedazzled. It’s a little therapeutic for me.
Favorite local restaurants?
Taco Bell! (I have to say that, given my Dad’s local ownership.) Being in the food industry, it’s crazy how small the food world in Memphis is–kind of like a family. I have enjoyed getting to know a lot of local chefs and now see myself being more supportive of the local restaurants. I’m a big fan of Iris, but you will catch me in Salsa and Paradise Café weekly!
This fall, will you be rooting for the Ravens or the Rams? And why?!
I was hoping no one would ask me that question, ugh! It could be a house divided, but I have enough love and enthusiasm to go around! However, it definitely depends on if I’m talking to Cannon (boyfriend who joins the St. Louis Rams this season) or Mike (brother who plays for the Baltimore Ravens). All jokes aside, I am blessed to have a very talented brother and boyfriend. They both are so supportive of me and I am going to try and make as many of both of their games as possible. They will, however, play each other in August and I’m thinking the only way around it is to do a half and half jersey! (*I think I see some serious bedazzling in your future, Collins!)
Name three things you can’t live without (excluding God, family and friends):
Red nail polish, Diet Coke and my iPhone
Thank you to Collins Tuohy!
And thank you to Christen Jones, our talented photographer! See more of Christen’s work at www.christenjones.com.