Tell us about your business.My business partner, Jen, and I met in pastry school in 2008, and thought we'd make some candy to sell at a weekend market just for fun and to make a little extra cash. The idea for a handmade candy bar came when we realized the truffle market had pretty much been cornered; we spent a couple months reverse-engineering a certain popular candy bar, which became the Snack'r, and that started the candy bar line. The Beer & Pretzel caramel, Honeycomb candy, and lollipops rounded out our initial line of goods; now we make over 30 products. We still make every single thing by hand every day in our kitchen, and work with other small and local companies to source our ingredients: Brooklyn Brewery, Ronnybrook dairy, Taza Chocolate, Tremblay Apiaries, Peanut Butter & Co., and Peeled, just to name a few. We're opening a retail store this September; we're building out our own kitchen space in Brooklyn; and "The Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook" was a 2013 IACP Awards Finalist. Gonna be a big year!
What makes your business stand out?We combine classical technique with a sense of fun and whimsy. Our process is extremely labor-intensive, and we like it that way; everything we make is of the absolute highest quality, and our products speak for themselves. We're proud to make slow food! Our production staff are all highly skilled confectioners who love what they do, and we really do believe you can taste the difference. We run our company with the highest ethics, offering living wages and benefits for all our employees; and our packaging is printed right here in New York on FSC-certified paper. We use as many organic, sustainably sourced, and certified-non-GMO ingredients as possible, and strive to create a respectful, collaborative, and fun work environment. Liddabit is a true labor of love, and it always will be.
What's the best business advice you've received?My former boss and mentor, Rhonda Kave of Roni-Sue's Chocolates, told me something that stuck with me. I was burnt out and exhausted starting Liddabit while still working with her; and I said, "How do you do this? Does it ever get any easier?" She thought for a moment, and said, "No." My heart sank, and I wanted to give up right then and there. But she went on: "It doesn't get easier; but it becomes your new normal. You get used to it." I've found that to be true no matter what kind of day I'm having -- running a business is a never-ending to-do list, but you get used to it, and you adapt to the craziness.
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