Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Value and Quality and Prices, Oh My

I'm trying to wrap my head around some ideas I've been reading about lately. Namely: does quality have to be prohibitively expensive? Are cheap goods inherently bad? And how do I apply any and all of this to running my own small business that sells high-quality candy? This is the first post that I hope will help everyone think this through.

Readers, I need your help.

Because we buy and sell on Etsy, we're attuned (hyper-attuned?) to discussions of price vs quality. I've also read a couple of books in that vein lately. The questions that are coming to my mind today are: are these books accurate? Did you get the same message I did from them?

First up: Cheap. The author argues that retail work in the late 1800s wasn't the trivialized low-wage version of today's retail jobs. As retailing moved from smaller mom-and-pop type stores to larger department stores and chain stores, more and more responsibility moved from being in the hands of people who were working on the floor, to people in corporate offices. People on the floor could no longer negotiate on price, or give a one-time discount, or see if they could order a version of the product that would better fit this particular customer's need. The standardization lowered costs, but it also lowered wages. Suddenly people needed the lower cost goods because it was all they could afford. Furthermore, as they were less exposed to actual responsibility, those jobs became less of a way to learn about how to run a store and more dead-end.

Next up: Shop Class as Soulcraft. It's about so much more than value and quality and I'd highly recommend it to anyone who is even slightly interested in making anything with their own hands. BUT, as it pertains to this blog post, it also says much the same thing about manufacturing: that as it got standardized, it also got dumb. People got treated more and more like machines and robots and less like people who could solve problems. But there's hope! There are people who value precision machinery and they need mechanics who can build and fix it - there will always be a need for someone to build and repair complex machines like cars and motorcycles. And they will be paid well because they have hard-to-learn skills that are useful to people who put a premium on high-quality machines.

Last up: the whole Slow Food movement. Producing quality food takes skill and can only be routinized so much. So quality ingredients and products are expensive and take time -- just like precision mechanics and (I would argue) high-quality retailing. One of Slow Food's basic principles is that people who grow good food need a good wage so they can also afford to buy it.

So: is there a commonality among these three things? Are the books correct, in your experience? Have I way oversimplified what they're trying to say? (Almost certainly.) What do you think? Do you have other examples?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Two Drews

Planning a trip to Orcas Island, WA, or are you lucky enough to live there? Two Drews, formerly known as Boheme, carries our scrumptious lollipops!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Eye Candy: Sculpture

I am crazy obsessed with the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Especially Spoonbridge and Cherry. And super duper extra especially on a beautiful day:

Spoonbridge and Cherry - Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

photo by Maria Cameron

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Revelry Boutique Gallery

We are proud to announce that the newly opened Revelry Boutique Gallery in Lexington, Kentucky is carrying our lollipops! If you're in the neighborhood, stop by and check out the space.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sweets for Eid

I only know a little bit about Ramadan - all I do know comes mainly from a Muslim acquaintance of mine. She was once telling me about the family celebrations that happen for Eid (the end of Ramadan). The big feasts and celebrating sounded like incredible fun; she also told me that sweets were popular at those feasts. We'd love to learn more about Eid and Ramadan - if there's anything you'd like to tell us, please use the comments!

While I suspect that lollipops are not the most traditional sweet for Eid, I can't help but point out that our lollipops are wonderful to share at celebrations. Eid is September 8th-10th this year - if you'd like lollipops for it, please order them a week in advance.

What are you doing for Eid?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sugar Sugar Candy

Minneapolis! City of enchantment and snow and wonderfulness! Both of us have spent some quality time there, and we are now proud to announce that one of its local candy stores stocks our lollipops: Sugar Sugar Candy. Swing by and say hi!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Eye Candy: Stained Glass

The most kick-ass stained glass window EVER.


God the Creator by Stanislaw Wyspiański. Franciscan Church, Krakow, Poland.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Innovations In Burglary

We thought this news item from Augusta, GA was too funny not to share:

Lollipop bandit leaves trail of treats

A Richmond County sheriff's deputy sent to investigate a burglar alarm Tuesday said he discovered the business' front door shattered and a trail of lollipops leading away from the Get it to Go on the 3200 block of Deans Bridge Road.

While Kate and I can’t condone the criminal lifestyle, perhaps inspiration will strike some of you – for example, could you use lollipops as a path marker at your next party? Might you try hunting for lollipops instead of Easter eggs in your lawn next spring?

Email us about bulk discounts :-)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Kitsch N Stitch!

Looking for a unique gift, or something cool for yourself? This Sunday, folks in Seattle can drop by Club Motor, just south of Safeco Field, for a fun afternoon of shopping for kitschy crafts.


This Charming Candy will be there, and so will several of our crafty friends, including: UglyBaby, who makes awesome art for your shower (I have two in mine and have given several others as gifts!), and ScaryWhiteGirl, who makes eclectic crochet items (I have two sets of her armwarmers and I lovvvvvve them to pieces).

WHAT: Kitsch N Stitch craft show

WHEN: Sunday August 22, from 12-5pm

WHERE: Club Motor, 1950 1st Ave S., Seattle

WHY: you deserve a 10-minute treat :-)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Other People Blogging

We've been remiss about telling you guys about all the wonderful blog posts that our fans and customers have written lately.

On Mimosas In Bed, Maggie gave our lollipops a fabulous review!

37 Days can't decide if she wants our Vanilla-Cardamom lollipops or our Salted Caramel lollipops.

SheSalty - a student at the Culinary Institute of America - likes our lollipops.

We were also included as part of an Urban Craft Uprising roundup on Tiffany and Ink.

picture by Maggie Alhadeff of Mimosas In Bed

Monday, August 16, 2010


Citizens of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood have the pleasure of picking up our lollipops at the Cakespy gallery at 415 E. Pine. Hooray!

p.s. Jessie usually has free nibbles – different ones every day —at the gallery entrance too!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Eye Candy: Fancy Swordplay

SQUEE for Glee's Chris Colfer showing off his sai swords skills on Friday Night With Jonathan Ross, on BBC One.

They *need* to find a way to have Kurt do this in the show next season.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Carrots Coffee & Tea

Are you on the peninsula near SFO? Need a lollipop fix, but you aren't near a computer? Stop into Carrot's Coffee & Tea in San Bruno and buy a scrumptious lollipop!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lollipops As Event Favors

We’ve had some wonderful opportunities to create custom lollipop wedding favors for a few couples this year. Regal Ribbons takes things a step further – they’ve used our Sweetheart and Blood Sucker lollipops with their ribbons to show off some wedding favors.

Check out their beautiful blog post for creative inspiration… spoiler alert:


Then check out http://www.regalribbons.com/ to see all the beautiful, personalized ribbons they offer.

photo by: http://www.regalribbons.com/dafari.html

Monday, August 9, 2010

Wholesale Lollipops

Would our scrumptious lollipops and beautiful packaging complement your shop? Interested in whether or not we sell wholesale? Yes, we do sell wholesale! If you're interested in our wholesale prices, please contact us at thischarmingcandy@gmail.com. We'd love to hear from you!

Photo by Jessie Oleson, also known as Cakespy. These are our lollipops in her cute cupcake librarian mug in her gallery on Capitol Hill.

Friday, August 6, 2010

What We're Listening To This Week

I listen to a lot of peppy and upbeat music when I’m in the commercial kitchen. The next day, I’m often craving something really different; this week I turned to the ambient instrumental rock of This Will Destroy You. I realize I’m about to sound like a jackass and/or a phony music critic, but seriously: these are broody and romantic journeys of EPIC SOUND. Perfect whether it’s a rainy night or a mellow morning with a gorgeous cup of tea.

I've been on a Holly Cole kick this week. It's smoky vocal jazz, perfect for listening to in the car at night or on a rainy day. It's lovely sunny-and-70s California weather this week, but the smokiness makes me wish it were going to rain sometime soon. The first of her albums that I ever heard was Dark, Dear Heart and that one's still special to me, but they're all good. Her version of Little Boy Blue always makes me smile.

How about you? What are you listening to this week?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Delicious Things We Didn’t Make

This past weekend I had a small window of time in which to check out Seattle’s newest outdoor craft marketplace, The Seattle Square at Occidental Park. It combines vintage and craft vendors, a live DJ, and – best of all? – mobile food trucks, yay!

I’d actually had a big breakfast that morning, so unfortunately I wasn’t as able to go nuts as I would have wanted. I also needed my food to be portable because I didn’t have much time to spend down there. So, I had to make the tough call to skip out on ice cream from Parfait and got cookies to-go from Street Treats.

Dang, those were good cookies! I can be something of a traditionalist when it comes to cookies so I had to get a chocolate chip cookie as kind of a litmus test. Hooray! it tasted great, it was soft but not mushy, and was crisp without being dry. Even better was the berry bar-cookie. The berry layer was sweet and gooey, the cookie itself was nutty and crisp.

My only regret? I didn’t decide to add a coconut brownie or lime poppyseed cookie to my order. On the bright side, it gives me an excuse to stalk the truck on an ongoing basis…

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sign o’ The Times

After Urban Craft Uprising last month, we wrote a little post about how much fun we had at the show and while working together all week. That post had a picture of us and our booth. I want to call everyone’s attention to the INSANELY AWESOME BANNER behind us:


Here it is again, before we got all the candy out on display:


Boy, it really helped define our space and draw people’s attention! Serious praise must be heaped down on several folks for helping us make this happen:

  • Justine Kamionsky, as usual, for the amazing branding and visual design. The lollipop garden along the bottom of the banner makes me SQUEEE like mad.
  • Acclaim Sign & Display in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. We found them to be incredibly helpful and knowledgeable when we were researching our options and shopping around. The finished product speaks for itself – the banner is gorgeous, obviously, and very high quality that delivered on all our specifications.
  • Moxie, one of UCU’s organizers, gets a standing ovation for helping us figure out a way to get the banner to stay upright (an important feature) when our original solution failed.

I can’t wait to set it up again! I’m strongly considering leaving it up in the house all year round :-)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Strange and Unusual Lollipops

Yes, those are ants in that lollipop from China. They're in there on purpose - they "supposedly have a spicy peppery taste similar to chili peppers."

This is from a story last summer on Food Network Humor, that we somehow just found out about. We like unusual flavors, but some of these are too far out there, even for us.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Curiously Awesome

One of our friends posted a link to this 5 pound gummy bear on Facebook the other day. The website's tag line is "purveyors of curiously awesome products" and I have to agree on both the curious and awesome parts of that description.