By Lisa Autz
Photo courtesy of Marilyn Acosta.
The days when you could swing by your local candy store and create a unique concoction of jellybeans, gumdrops, and watermelon taffy in one bag seem to be long gone. The growing commercial landscape of pharmacies and supermarkets seem to now govern our sugary-covered options.
The concern for providing more diverse, custom sweets was a main reason Ben London wanted to create the first personalized, online candy delivery service called Candy Jar.
In an interview with BTR, London describes how the project’s fruition derived from his and his wife’s insatiable addiction to coated sweetness and the lack of local mom-and-pop candy stores in his neighborhood.
“So many people are in my similar situation where they don’t live near a candy store and want more options than their local supermarket,” explains London. “My wife just one day said, ‘I just don’t understand why I can’t go online and buy a custom bag of candy.’”
London is a candy fanatic. So much so, that he is given a huge bag of assorted treats every year for his birthday. Last year, as the sugary sweets began to dwindle from his birthday sack, he and his wife were frustrated at the lack of online options to refill with more deliciousness.
Eventually, London set out to provide exactly what he felt the candy market was missing and created a Kickstarter campaign to get the Candy Jar website off the ground. After only two weeks, the idea for a custom candy delivery service was backed by over 500 pledges, raising over $20,000 by December 8.
Yet London insists that they’ve set out to make sure this isn’t any run-of-the-mill candy dispensary site. The Candy Jar’s team checked out the Sweets and Snacks Expo in Chicago last spring to connect with a unique blend of high-end, gourmet candy companies that they could provide to potential customers.
“An average candy store holds about 100 different candies, but we’ll have over 700,” stresses London. “We want to bring options that people may not have ever thought of before like chocolate covered, peanut butter-stuffed pretzels and chocolate covered biscotti bites.”
At the Expo, which attracted over 650 companies this year, the Candy Jar team was able to learn about a variety of companies that are candy industry staples as well as mom-and-pop shops experimenting with new types of distinct treats. The website will offer a limitless space of traditional favorites, along with an interface that easily permits the discovery of new flavors.
“Most stores just don’t have the physical space to fit all the candy that we can,” reasons London. “Our goal is to ultimately give people choices.”
Currently, the candy company is in the process of setting up shop and sending out rewards for Kickstarter pledgers who helped made the project a success. However, beginning this week, the public can indulge in holiday gifts of palatable pleasures for family and friends.
In addition to sweets, customers of Candy Jar have the option of ordering a small, medium, or large glass jar that can be engraved with a loved one’s name. London’s vision for the future reveals even more hidden potential for personal candy assemblage.
“The future is separating things even further,” poses London. “You can get Starbursts right now or Skittles but in the future if you like [only] red or only pink Starbursts you can actually pick individual flavor types.”
London claims their motto is that if you don’t like it, you don’t have to order it. It’s about a continuous look at how to better bring customization, selection, and access to candy that currently does not exist online.
With its premiere just in time for the holidays, London adds, you no longer have to give a crummy, tasteless gift either this year. Instead, Candy Jar offers personalization and thought to a sweet gift.