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This article was published 12/1/2010 (4337 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
BELINDA Bigold is heading down to Hollywood as a businesswoman this week but she can't promise that a little bit of the star-gazer won't come out if she's surrounded by the rich and famous.
The owner of High Tea Bakery is one of 13 local entrepreneurs gearing up to participate in the "Oh Canada Gift Lounge" prior to the Golden Globe Awards show on Sunday. Hollywood celebrities and other high rollers, including agents, publicists, editors at fashion and food magazines and people who choose the product placement for television shows and movies, will wade their way through a long line of gifting suites on Friday and Saturday at the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel and likely each walk away with thousand of dollars of swag.
The hope among the presenters is that somebody important will take a shining to one or more of their wares and choose to eat it or wear it on TV, the big screen or in a glossy magazine, and that will lead to a small avalanche of orders as ordinary people attempt to imitate their heroes.
Bigold has armed herself with different shapes and sizes of Imperial cookies, the most popular cookie at her bakery and one that she said is distinctly Winnipeg. And while she's hoping to form some new supplier relationships, she admits to being a little excited about the possibility that a Hollywood superstar -- say, George Clooney -- might come up to her and ask to try one of her specialties (which are made from almond-flavoured shortbread, sandwiched with raspberry jam and covered in pure almond icing).
"If I met George Clooney, I'd be tickled pink. I would absolutely love to meet him," she said.
"But I don't think the celebrities are as important to our company as meeting different Canadians down there in the food industry. We would like to expand our business into the U.S. and this exposure could certainly lead to that."
Heather Stewart, the owner of Lilyfield Cakes and one of the organizers of the "Oh Canada" suite, admitted that it could very well be called "Oh Manitoba" as only two of the 15 participants are from outside the province. A veteran of these kinds of events -- her first was the Country Music Awards in Nashville in 2004 -- she said there's no way of predicting how one's products will be received but for her, she was lucky enough that it quite simply revolutionized her business.
"I went from doing a few cakes a day to a maximum of shipping a few hundred packages (of cakes) a day," she said.
Stella Mazza, owner of KaTonGiovi Crystal Collection, a provider of crystal bridal bouquets and body chain jewelry, said she doesn't think she'll have to make a conscious effort to keep the little girl in her bottled up as she hob-nobs with some of the most recognizable people in the world.
"I'm really there for the business and the passion and promotion of my product. That's first and foremost. I'm sure when I come across somebody (famous) that I won't recognize them because they won't look the same. I'm there for the journey of it all. It's very exciting," she said.
Mazza admitted that it seems a little incongruous to be providing gifts to some of the richest people on the planet but that's how the game is played. If one of the gifting suite invitees shows an interest in her products, it's customary to give it to them for free and pose for a picture with them.
HERE'S a list of Winnipeg businesses whose owners hope to get a taste of the lifestyle of the rich and famous this weekend in Hollywood.
KaTonGiovi Crystal Collection
High Tea Bakery
Vintage Bling (jewelry)
Sweet Pedtooties (mukluks)
Charlie Johnston (muralist and artist)
Constance Popp (chocolatier)
Grace Anne of Lake of the Woods (luxury fishing lodge and yacht)
Dr. Bruce McFarlane (dentistry technology)
Celeste Brunel (photographer)
Michaela de Vasconcelos (spirit messenger/medium)
Tiber River Naturals (bath and body products)