Saturday, December 26, 2009

Free Shipping!

Hey y'all. We're having a small sale in the shop to clear out some of our inventory. We've got some special listings of our flavor six packs + a pack of CSDs with free shipping. Take a look at Fruit Basket + Charm School Dropouts, Spice Rack + Charm School Dropouts, and Love Triangle + Charm School Dropouts.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Hockey Friday: The Hat Trick

A hat trick in hockey, if you don't know, is when the same player scores three goals in one game. After a player scores his third goal, the fans will toss their hats onto the ice to celebrate.

At some point, most fans ask: Why? How?

Wikipedia says: in 1946, a visiting Chicago Blackhawks player went into a Toronto hat store, but didn't have enough money to buy the hat he wanted. The owner said that if he scored three goals, he'd give him the hat. The player scored four goals and got his hat. Thus, a tradition was born.

I've only ever seen a handful of hat tricks; they're pretty rare. I've certainly never seen anyone throw a fedora onto the ice (though I like the idea). Maybe we'll get one in the Winter Classic? A girl can hope.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas!

We, and our Etsy Store, are on vacation until December 26th. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

How The Sausage Gets Made

Or in our case, the lollipops. Kate & I are doing some 2010 planning, and this is an honest-to-god exchange we just had:

Kate: <sends me an Excel file summarizing our Product Development Cycle>

Susan: what, no MS Project GANTT charts?

Kate: I thought about faking them in excel. Then I decided that was overkill until we finalized the task list.

I love my business partner… and I decided we needed a “Gigantic Dorks” category to file this post in :-)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Hockey Friday: On (or Off) the Schneid

One of the Sharks announcers has been using "on the schneid" an awful lot lately. The Sharks have lost their last 5 games as of this writing (I wrote this before last night's Sharks-Ducks game). What does it mean to be on the schneid?
To be “on the schneid” means to be on a losing streak, racking up a series of losing, and especially scoreless, games. “Schneid” is actually short for “schneider,” a term originally used in the card game of gin, meaning to prevent an opponent from scoring any points. “Schneider” entered the vocabulary of gin from German (probably via Yiddish), where it means “tailor.” Apparently the original sense was that if you were “schneidered” in gin you were “cut” (as if by a tailor) from contention in the game. “Schneider” first appeared in the literature of card-playing about 1886, but the shortened form “schneid” used in other sports is probably of fairly recent vintage.

I certainly hope that the Sharks and their scorers are all off the schneid by the time you're reading this.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sudz’s Favorite Music of 2009

I almost can’t believe that 2010 is almost here – this year went by so quickly! Especially the fall, once we opened for business it seemed like Kate & I were constantly in motion. Probably because we were! A few of my musical highlights for 2009 included:

Song of the Year

"Summertime Clothes" – Animal Collective, from Merriweather Post Pavillion

Favorite albums of 2009

  • Hometowns – The Rural Alberta Advantage
  • Fantasies – Metric
  • These Four Walls – We Were Promised Jetpacks
  • Creaturesque – Throw Me the Statue
  • It’s Blitz! – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  • Message to Garcia – Visqueen
  • Glistening Pleasure – Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head (actually a 2008 release)
  • Of June – Owl City (actually a 2008 release)

Hometowns was by far and away my favorite (I love RAA! Everyone should own Hometowns. - k8), and seeing the RAA play a tiny show at the Tractor Tavern was one of my live music highlights. They also win my Lyrics of the Year with “Late at night / Sink your heart into mine … Hey tonight / Sync your heartbeat to mine”.

I almost feel sorry for everyone else who released an album this year :-)

What topped your list?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Why Sprinkle Powdered Sugar on a Lollipop?

TC PSugar

If you enlarge the photo of the Tangerine-Clove lollipops above (part of our Spice Rack collection), you’ll see clearly that they’ve got some powered sugar on them. Hey! Aren’t lollipops sweet enough already?

Well, powdered sugar isn’t really a flavor garnish. It serves two purposes – one decorative and one functional. The decorative purpose is self-explanatory, I hope. It just looks really pretty!


On the functional side, I sometimes grab the shaker of powdered sugar because I cook our lollipops in rainy Seattle. Rain means humidity, and humidity is one of the chief enemies of hard candy! If it’s humid when the lollipops are cooling in their molds, they may pick up a little moisture from the air. This makes them a little sticky and hard to bag. The cure? Powdered sugar!

photos by Kevin Keeker

Friday, December 11, 2009

Hockey Friday: NHL (outdoor) Winter Classic!

The insanely awesome new tradition of playing an NHL game outdoors on New Years Day probably got its start thanks partly to Kate’s and my grad school alma mater, the University of Michigan. In 2001, a couple of years after we graduated, 74,554 fans attended an outdoor game between Michigan and Michigan State, held at the Spartans' football stadium. Yes, over SEVENTY-FOUR THOUSAND people.

On Jan 1st, 2010, my hometown Philadelphia Flyers will head up to Boston’s Fenway Park to defeat take on the Bruins. This week, reported that the king of ice-making, Dan Craig, is ready to get to work in Fenway – making this rink will take a few weeks.

More squee-worth than even that news? The NHL released a new commercial for the game and it is just perfect. I love it. I must share it with you all:

The game is just 3 weeks away!! SQUEE!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Want Interesting Flavors? Have You Considered The Love Triangle?

You're probably not reading this unless you like more out-there flavors for your lollipops. And, truth be told, developing new flavors is one of Susan's and my favorite things to do. That's why the flavors on our Love Triangle lollipops were so important to us.

We knew we wanted apple involved in the Blood Sucker somehow. Vampires personify temptation and so much of Twilight is about avoiding temptation. The book even has an apple on the cover. But what to pair with it? Cinnamon-apple seemed obvious, but no matter what the ratio, cinnamon completely overwhelmed the apple flavor. We tried anise with apple on a whim. Our tasters looked vaguely askance at us, then tried it. Everyone -- even those who don't normally like anise -- raved about it. We knew we had a winner.

We went back and forth for awhile about what flavor to make the Sweetheart. The only thing we could find in Twilight was that Edward thinks Bella's blood smells floral. Jasmine was one of the flavors at the tasting party, but it didn't do well. So we tried some other floral flavors -- including one that tasted like "sugared old lady's underwear" -- before going back to jasmine. Susan's already written about how simply adding honey did wonders for jasmine. Once we hit on that, we knew the Sweetheart was done.

The Lickanthrope was the hardest to come up with. All we knew was that the flavors should scream Pacific Northwest, and that our tasters were calling Apple-Anise and Honey-Jasmine "home runs" and we needed something that would live up to the hype. We considered a plethora of flavors; most were all right, but nothing spectacular. We got the most enthusiastic comments about hazelnut-coffee and mocha-hazelnut. When we narrowed the flavors down to those two, it was clear that hazelnut-coffee was the winner.

We are incredibly proud of all these flavors, and we hope you'll like them too!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

What the Heck is an “Etsy Treasury”?

If you follow us on Twitter or are our Facebook fan, you might have seen us link to something called a “treasury” now and again. I remember that the first two times someone tried to explain Etsy Treasuries to me, I was kind of lost and hoped it was something obscure that wouldn’t come up again.

Basically, an Etsy Treasury is a grid of 12 items that are for sale on Etsy. Members of the community scour the site for items that fit a theme that interests them such as “owls”, “summer”, the color pink, or really anything at all.

Member-created treasuries only last for a few days and are fun to browse, and here’s one key thing about them – there’s a chance that the Etsy admins might use a member-created treasury on the home page, which conveniently is also a grid of 12 items that is refreshed every hour of the day. Ah, the intersection of crowdsourcing and user-generated content :-)

That happened to us on December 3rd – Tias included our Fruit Basket lollipops in her treasury, and between 7-8pm Pacific, they were up on the homepage in all their glory! We had a massive freakout and Kate nabbed this screenshot for posterity:


We confirmed something, namely that a homepage feature can be a firehose of attention – even though it just lasts one hour. In that time, the Fruit Basket lollipops garnered over 1200 views. Wowza!

Common wisdom in the Etsy forums says that the better your product photography, the better your chances of being selected for a treasury and the home page. So we’d be remiss if we didn’t wrap up this post with another shout out to Mr. Keeker for his rockin’ photo skills that show our candy to its best advantage!

Anyway, now when we tell you we created a treasury or that we were featured in someone else’s treasury, maybe it’ll make more sense. Or maybe not.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Gift Giving Options and Deadlines

Since I posted about gifts in my last post, I wanted to take a moment to let you know about some gift-giving options and deadlines for Christmas presents this year.

If you let us know that you're buying a gift when you make your purchase, we can use our gift invoice. Our gift invoice hides prices and has space for a message. We also have a limited number of holiday cards in which we can hand-write a short note for you. Please convo us on etsy or send us an email (thischarmingcandy [at] gmail [dot] com) to let us know if your purchase is a gift, if you want a card included, and what you want the gift message to be.

Hanukkah starts on December 11th and runs through the 19th. If you want lollipops for Hanukkah, please order as soon as possible.

The earlier you buy, the more likely it is that you'll get your order before Christmas (not to mention the better the selection will be). The deadlines are:
  • Internationally, we need your order by Sunday December 13th (for shipping on the 14th).
  • In the Continental US, you'll need to place your order by Sunday December 20th (for shipping on the 21st) to make sure it arrives before Christmas.
We are on vacation from December 22nd through 30th.

Any questions? Please put them in the comments! And please visit our etsy store early and often. :-)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Fruit Basket and Gift Giving

Spice Rack and Salted Caramel get all the attention, but we would like to suggest that Fruit Basket and its flavors also make excellent gifts. This is the pack that has the flavors that scored the highest at the tasting party -- all three flavors were in the top 5.

Coconut-Caramel is the creamy white lollipop, Mango is the peachy-orange one, and Pomegranate is the lovely Christmas-y red. These are great for people who prefer more traditional flavors -- my picky-eater daughter loves both Mango and Pomegranate.

One of our customers bought a dozen Pomegranate lollipops to use as part of her Christmas table setting - each diner will have one at their place. I think that's a charming idea and hope she shares pictures.

In short, Fruit Basket is full of wonderfully charming flavors that are guaranteed to make someone happy this holiday season!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

What We Did Over Thanksgiving Weekend

We had a fabulous weekend over Thanksgiving, if a little crazy -- if you follow us on Twitter or Facebook, you certainly saw a plethora of posts about many, many things. If you don't follow us on Twitter and Facebook, here's the wrap-up.

Sunday we participated in I Heart Indie Holidays (IHIH), and had a blast! We were next to the Jet City Roller Girls, who were a riot. Sales went pretty well too, at least partially due to selling single lollipops for the first time. They made a great impulse purchase for people as well as providing a way for folks to try a flavor before they committed to a whole pack. That's our overloaded table - sorry for the poor quality, I took it with my iPhone.

After IHIH we threw everything in the car, grabbed a sandwich and headed to the Paramount to see Morrissey perform. He opened with This Charming Man - a total squee moment if there ever was one. The picture below is of the concert, I swear! Morrissey is the slightly brighter smudge in the middle that the spotlight is pointing at. The picture in the backdrop is of an Italian actor from the 1960s, Walter Chiari. We were proud of ourselves for figuring that out.

And if all that weren't enough, Monday we turned Susan's front room into shipping central; we packed up over 20 orders. While that was happening, our 100th Etsy order rolled in! We threw a couple of extra lollipops into the box to celebrate.

Early Tuesday morning, I hopped on a plane and flew back to the Bay Area. I'm pretty sure I'm still recovering. Where's my coffee?

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Small Press Roundup

Our Salted Caramel lollipops have been unbelievably fortunate to have gotten a few mentions in the press over the last week or two. It started with a mention on Shelterrific (a wonderful home decorating blog I've read in the past). Monday morning we awoke to a wonderful surprise -- lots of visitors in our Etsy store thanks to the Manhattan User's Guide. Yesterday, the Houston Press' Eating Our Words blog called our Salted Caramel lollipops "an elegant stocking stuffer". We completely agree!

Our Spice Rack lollipops have also felt the love, being featured on Celebrate Odd Etsy (which has some really awesome things - I kind of love these bike helmets) in October.

We've got the glimmers of ideas about how our lollipops got into the hands of these writers, and we'd like to thank any and all of you who've shared your lollipops with them. We appreciate it!


UPDATE 1:30pm Friday 12/4 --
Thanks to our wonderful customers we are temporarily SOLD OUT of Salted Caramel 12-packs until early next week. Follow us on Twitter or fan us on Facebook to be alerted when they go back on sale! Thanks again!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Introducing New Collection Bag Labels

Last week I made, among other things, Love Triangle flavors (yum) and it was the first day that I was able to use the new bags for the individual lollipops AND the new labels for the bags that hold 6 Love Triangle lollipops. Behold! And click to enlarge.


The Love Triangle lollipops have an overall darker look to them than our other collections because they use the black sticks and the flavors are deep red, brown, and purple. Justine carried that vibe forward into the bag design, by giving the whole label a charcoal background.


Most of our flavor collections will have labels with a white background and a colored banner at the top. We don’t yet have pictures of the Fruit Basket or Spice Rack labels, but they’re similar to the Charm School Dropout labels seen hanging out with the Love Triangles below:


Most of the individual lollipops in that bag are using the old style label, but the front of the bigger bag is new. And quite gorgeous in my opinion!

As we’ve said, it’s going to take a short time to completely change over to all the new labels while we use up our stash of the previous ones, but not too long!

Photos by Kevin Keeker

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Introducing New Lollipop Bag Labels

We’re in the process of retiring our original product labels, which Kate and I put together, and rolling out new ones created by Justine Kamionsky, someone much more talented than we are. I honestly don’t think we could be more excited about this!

Let’s take a peek at the individual bags that each lollipop is wrapped in. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the old (left) and new (right) labels for Vanilla-Cardamom.


If you’ve ordered lollipops from us already, the bag on the left should look familiar – a round label with the flavor name and our URL. Gets the job done, nothing flashy.

The new label is rectangular and covers the bag from edge-to-edge. It’s got a lovely charcoal background with a large lollipop print, and a white area with a scalloped border for the flavor name that recalls the banner at the top of this blog and our Etsy store. The label actually folds over the top edge of the bag, and our URL appears on the backside, no longer competing and sharing space with the flavor name, which is front and center as it should be!

We’re quickly using up the old style bags and have already begun using the new ones for all flavors, and we just can’t wait for you to see them in person!

photo by Kevin Keeker