La Petite Occasion

American Made Since 2006

Michėle Kim

Mahopac, New York
How do you justify toffee, brittle & caramel? You don’t. They're an indulgence that’s good for your spirit. And what could be better than that?

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

  • Nominations
    June 3–Aug. 29, 2014

    Nominate yourself or other aspiring makers.

  • Judging
    June 23–Sept. 9, 2014

    Judges will select finalists throughout this period.

    Meet the judges
  • Online Voting
    Sept. 15–Oct. 13, 2014

    Vote for your favorite American makers.

    Vote now
  • Winners Announced
    Oct. 17, 2014

    2014 Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.

    See past Award Winners
  • American Made Event
    Nov. 7–8, 2014

    Join us for our annual event in New York City.

    Buy tickets now

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