La Petite Occasion
Tell us about your business.I’m a professionally-trained chef who used to send out a yearly Christmas gift of toffees and brittles to friends and family. Eventually, these popular gifts got the wheels turning in my head about a possible business, so I made up a sample for a local market to see if there was interest. Seven years and two owners later, that business is one of several in New York’s Westchester County that I’m happy to call my client. Over the years, we’ve expanded steadily, but with great care. We sublet kitchen space and produce our confections in small batches that are made to order for different upscale area markets and sold online through Etsy. At this point, we are more focused on pleasing our existing client base than expanding, though I envision more expansion in our future at both the wholesale and retail level so long as it’s at a pace that allows us to continue to deliver a quality product. It’s important for us to build something that is consistently outstanding in every way.
What makes your business stand out?A funny thing happened on my way to being a confectioner. While I was focused on every last nuance of every last ingredient, my customers were adding an ingredient of their own—a deeply personal sense of nostalgia. Apparently, my confections have a way of triggering memories that are sometimes long forgotten. “They remind me of the treats I used to get as a kid” is what I’m told time and again. People say this as if I know what they’re talking about. People say this as if I made my product for them. In the end, I find it’s not really a product I’m making so much as an experience. One that taps into something deeply personal. You might say my confections are made with a heaping portion of profoundly happy memories. It takes people back to a time when something as simple as a piece of candy could mean everything. Sure it tastes good, but it feels good, too.
Mark Your Calendar
NominationsJune 3–Aug. 29, 2014
Nominate yourself or other aspiring makers.
JudgingJune 23–Sept. 9, 2014
Judges will select finalists throughout this period.Meet the judges
Online VotingSept. 15–Oct. 13, 2014
Vote for your favorite American makers.Vote now
Winners AnnouncedOct. 17, 2014
2014 Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.See past Award Winners
American Made EventNov. 7–8, 2014
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