Austin Sugarworks

American Made Since 2011

Elayne Crain

Nashville, Tennessee
Our hand-molded, French-style artisanal sugars make sugar cubes look outdated and square. Sweeten your day with cafe sugars!

Tell us about your business.

I have always had an abiding love of sweets. When my husband bought me the most exquisite, hand-molded sugars from France, they immediately captured my imagination and put all other sugars to shame. Why, oh why, didn’t we have something like this in the States? I knew at once I was the woman to bring the sugar revolution across the pond. My brain began to whir as I had my big idea moment. What if I could create a shaped sugar product made with only all-natural ingredients—and even flavoring? You could customize your drink sweetening as much as you customize the rest of your drink! I was absolutely giddy with the possibilities. Imagine a delicately sculpted sugar rose that tastes of vanilla, or a ginger-infused lion’s head. Imagine serving your wedding guests custom sugars in the shape of your new monogram. I hand-mold our sugars from the finest (only all-natural) ingredients in small batches so they perfectly sweeten all occasions, big and small.

What makes your business stand out?

Our products are a happy marriage of form and function; they are delightful to look at and made of superfine sugar, which dissolves incredibly quickly in drinks--much quicker than the traditional granulated packets. Because people have discomfort with their current sweeteners, the category is ripe for change. In short, Austin Sugarworks aims to inspire sweetness – one person, and one cup, at a time. Like most non-heiress-founded startups, I needed to bootstrap--a challenge in any business, but especially in a new product category. Not only did I need to create the product, but I also had to create the pathways to the market(s). We are pleased to say that you will find our handmade sugars in a major retailer this holiday season!

What's the best business advice you've received?

"You can do anything you set your mind to." - Dad and Mom When I got my idea, I had never done sugarcraft (or had even heard of it!), so I read everything I could about sugar and cube production and tried countless prototypes in my home kitchen. After much trial and error (and some hilariously deformed results, which I still have for posterity), I finally hit upon the basic process. However, I still had many important decisions to make. What shapes and flavors should I first offer? How would I scale production? How should I price them? Who would spoon feed me my dinner when I had officially lost my mind? My previously-dormant MBA degree kicked in and I put together focus groups, inviting people to meet me at a high-end grocery store with the promise of a free beverage and a $10 gift card for their time. I noted what they ordered and how they sweetened it, and then we talked through their daily beverage rituals. This input proved invaluable in creating our sugars.

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