What do former U.S. president Bill Clinton, A-Rod and Janet Jackson have in common?
An appreciation for sweet treats from Dylan’s Candy Bar, a New York City mecca of jellybeans, sour gums, chocolates, toffee, gummy bears, licorice, whirly pops and related apparel, accessories and spa products.
A selection of the most popular offerings is now also available at Holt Renfrew in Canada. “Everyone likes candy,” says founder Dylan Lauren.
The daughter of iconic American fashion designer Ralph Lauren, Lauren says her own eye for design drew her to pop art, graphic design and packaging. She calls candy her passion, kickstarted by a Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory viewing when she was five.
And even before the launch of Dylan’s Candy Bar, candy had already become part of her professional life during a stretch with her own event-planning company. “Interestingly, I always used candy as decorative accents,” she told Metro.
Now her mission is to “elevate candy so it’s not just for self-consumption,” she says. “Good quality candy makes great gifts.” It’s also easy to customize for corporate clients; Dylan’s Candy Bar was a sweet part of the Barbie-turns-50 celebrations earlier this year.
In-demand items include brightly coloured whirly pops, candied popcorn, super-sized chocolate bars and candy time capsules featuring popular era-specific sweets, such as candy necklaces, gobstoppers, Pop Rocks and Wonka Bars from the ’70s; and Bubble Tape, Bubble Gum Cigarettes, Nerds and Big League Chew from the ’80s. “Nostalgia’s a huge thing right now, especially during the recession,” Lauren notes.
While a variety of Dylan’s Candy Bar offerings are marketplace favourites such as Jolly Ranchers, Starbursts, Hot Tamales and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, many are unique to the brand.
“We work with our suppliers to put our own twist on things,” says Lauren, offering her Everything But the Kitchen Sink as an example. “The original had fewer components. Ours has seven — pretzels, popcorn, cashews, toffee, peanuts, graham crackers and marshmallows.”
Lauren’s New York flagship store is now the largest in the world devoted to candy. She has two more shops in New York state as well as storefronts in Orlando and Houston, as well as a selection of merchandise available at US retailers such as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Urban Outfitters. This side of the border, Dylan’s Candy Bar is exclusive to Holt Renfrew, which she approached.
“It’s known as the best department store in Canada,” she says. “Holt’s a good fit for us, as is their clientele — the high-end customer with a fun sensibility.”
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