Monday, October 31, 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Eye Candy: Marshmallow Eyes

photo from King Arthur Flour Blog
I really like the King Arthur Flour blog. It's a great company blog that shows its customers all the delicious, creative things you can bake (and even some things you can't). They had a post this week all about hot chocolate, in which they also showed you how to make various kinds of marshmallow eyes to have floating in your hot chocolate. It's nice and creepy for Halloween. :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Offbeat Bride!

We are proud to be a featured vendor on Offbeat Bride! They're a great resource if you want your wedding to be a little more you and a little less giant bridal-industrial complex. Visit Offbeat Bride for great ideas to make your wedding the best it can be!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Behind the Scenes

photo by Kevin Keeker
In case you were ever curious what our lightbox set-up looks like from a distance.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Crafty Wonderland!

image from Crafty Wonderland
There's a list of upcoming craft shows we'll be vending at on the sidebar of our blog. You can go look for it. We'll wait. We're patient that way. You'll notice that we're going to be in Portland, OR on Dec 10 & 11 for Crafty Wonderland! What you may not know is that if you order from This Charming Candy on Etsy between now and Dec 8th or so *and* your address is in the Portland area, you'll get a 10% off coupon that you can use at our booth at Crafty Wonderland. So if you live in Portland and need a sugar fix between now and then, go ahead and order.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Last Minute Halloween Orders!

photo by Kevin Keeker
Still need some last-minute lollipops for Halloween? We've got plenty ready to ship! Head over to our Etsy shop today and place your order now. After today, we can't know if your candy will get to your house before Halloween.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Eye Candy: Madonna

I know, posting with glowing affection about Michael Jackson and now Madonna reveals just how “child of the 80’s” I am. I won’t apologize. I’m still blown away by Herb Ritts’ photos of her (fair warning, there are –gasp– nudes among his gallery photos. Don’t be too shocked!).

The classic is the True Blue album cover, a piece of vinyl I treasured in middle school:
album cover for Madonna's True Blue

I still adore the “Cherish” music video, which he directed:

And I recently spent some time just happily browsing the True Blue Anniversary photo album on Madonna’s facebook page. Many of the photos in there are ones that he took. They’re gorgeous. She’s gorgeous.

Do you have a favorite celebrity photographer? What’s your favorite “look” from Madonna’s career?

Thursday, October 20, 2011


photo by Kevin Keeker
This? This is what an overexposed photo of a dozen Salted Caramel lollipops looks like. We will not be using this on Etsy to sell our candy. :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Working Within Constraints

Warning: this is not a typical This Charming Candy blog post.

One of the things you learn when running a small business is that there are a lot of constraints - mainly on your time and your money. You can't just throw money around and god knows there's never enough time to get everything done.

A story: I co-run the strings program at my daughter's elementary school. She's been taking group violin lessons for about 3 years now; this is an after-school music program. Most music programs are these days, what with state education funding drying up and federal standards focusing on reading and math. She's also started choir this year - she loves to sing and this gives her a great outlet. Both of these programs give her, and the other kids at her school, a great outlet for their emotions and it's a great learning opportunity for them. I've worked with my daughter to help recognize patterns in the music and she loves making music.

But these programs, along with band, are all funded solely by parent donations, and a different parent runs each program; one program, choir, even spans two elementary schools. And sometimes, today being one of those times, the inefficiency of that frustrates me beyond belief.

It would be so much more efficient, time-wise, if one person could coordinate all the musical programs across all the elementary schools. That person would could schedule all the concerts, could know what facilities are available when, could cut deals to buy sheet music, and who could develop relationships with the local businesses who rent instruments and the press who could write up a heartwarming story or two about kids learning music. The school district can't afford to fund that position, they can barely fund the bare bones these days.

Instead, it's a mishmash of people pulling together what they have because their kids want to play music. It's frustrating. Sometimes I want to cry and throw things. We work with the budget constraints we have - and the kids don't care. They just know that they get to play instruments or sing or be in a program they like with their friends. Most of the time, I see how happy the kids are and how much they're learning and it doesn't matter. I'm happy that we've found a way to help the kids express themselves and learn something about music.

And, to me, there's a business lesson there. One of our business goals is to make people happy with sugar on a stick. Susan and I wish we had unlimited time to do everything we wanted and unlimited money so we could make as much candy as possible and get it to every single person in the world. But we can't. So we look at the customers we have made happy and we figure out how to make a few more happy in the next week/month/quarter/year with the time and money we've got.

In short: we love you guys.

Back to our regularly scheduled bloggery.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pictures Tell Stories

There are really only a couple of small differences between these two photos of our Salted Caramel lollipops, but I feel like they completely change the story the pictures tell.

photo by Kevin Keeker
In the above photo, the focus is on those two lollipops in front - maybe they're walking down the street having a conversation. It's the two lollipops in the background that make me think that, since they could *also* be walking down the street. I'd get a completely different image in my head of what was going on if they weren't there.

photo by Kevin Keeker
A small change in focus and positioning of one lollipop suddenly makes me think that this one lollipop is peering at something - a computer screen or a painting in a museum (we have the perspective of the screen or painting) - with everyone else starting to gather around to see what's so interesting.

It amazes me how such small differences completely change the story I tell myself about the photos.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Subscribe & Save—Lollipop Delivery

One of the most rockin’ items we offer is six months of lollipop delivery – in which you receive six lollipop collections for the price of five. About half of the candy subscriptions we’ve sold have been gifts, confirming what we suspected to be true: our customers are awesome, thoughtful, and generous :-)
lollipop collections by This Charming Candy
photo by Kevin Keeker

Whether the subscription is a gift or not, I always handwrite a little note each month to say hi, introduce the lollipop flavors, and remind the recipient of which month of the six they’re receiving. Right now I’m weaning myself off mass-produced cards and transitioning to cards created by our artistic colleagues in the handmade community.

I’ve got a few lovely cards made from vintage wallpaper by Sydney Designs, and I was thrilled to get these sweet cards featuring an image of the vintage Atari joystick, by Rakkadeer, among my Schoolhouse Craft conference swag:
notecards with picture of Atari joystick
photo by Susan Dziadosz

If you’re a subscriber, watch for ‘em! If you’re not a subscriber, why not become one today?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Eye and Ear Candy: Billie Jean

Kate and I think this is still such a fantastic video, all these years later. We love the mad style of MJ’s incredibly shiny (and short) pants, spectator shoes, little tie, and jacket lapels. We love the video storyline. Most of all we love his outsized talent and dancing ability.


What's your favorite Michael Jackson song/video?

Thursday, October 13, 2011


photo by Kevin Keeker
We would be remiss if we didn't point out that Halloween was only a couple of weeks away! Our little ghost is excited about her Maple Sugar lollipop. Order your Halloween candy from This Charming Candy on Etsy before October 24th to make sure it gets to you in time!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The First Shall Be Last


It’s been a over a year since we published an update to this post about everywhere we’ve shipped to. In that intervening time, we shipped to all of those remaining states except Delaware, which remained stubbornly beyond our grasp. Such a tiny state – the first state! – and such a lengthy holdout.

We've just passed our 2-year anniversary of selling lollipops on Etsy, and we are thrilled all out of proportion to say that a customer recently purchased a gift to be shipped to a lucky resident of Delaware.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Offbeat Bride @ Geek Girl Con

The only downside to participating in Urban Folk Art last weekend is that we missed the first ever Geek Girl Con here in Seattle. We are mathematicians and former high-tech workers, we are fans of Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, Dr. Who, the X-Files and the collected works of Joss Whedon. And we are feminists who love interrogating the intersections of gender and sci-fi. Dang this blasted timing!

Even though we didn’t get to celebrate geek girl culture en masse, This Charming Candy had a wee little presence at the event, via another equally awesome avenue – the Offbeat Empire, whose Sunday afternoon panel, “Rocking the geek niche: Nerdiness is your superpower” sounds pretty sweet indeed.

So what’s our connection to all this? Offbeat had a pre-con party on Friday night, and we contributed some swag to the goody bags!

First, we got some postcards from that show all of our lollipop label colors (the reverse side is about our custom label service):
2011-09-28 12-30-20.939

We slipped those into re-sealable sleeves from Uline
2011-09-28 12-31-34.299

… like so!
2011-09-28 12-31-54.576

We happened to have 75 extra lollipop bags with custom initials (J+S and T+Z) on hand…
2011-09-28 12-32-47.221

… so we tucked them along with a lollipop into the plastic sleeve…
2011-09-28 12-40-08.365

… like so!
2011-09-28 12-41-04.499

Those stupid strips that cover the sticky stuff were totally static-y and stuck to my hand…
2011-09-28 12-42-31.393

Aaaaand here’s what the 115 finished swag items looked like:
2011-09-28 14-06-21.949

Did you attend Geek Girl Con? Which sessions did you go to? If you attended the Offbeat Empire pre-con party and received our swag in your bag, please let us know what you think of it!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Schoolhouse Craft Wrap-up

Schoolhouse Craft conference bag

Towards the end of September, I attended two of three days at the Schoolhouse Craft conference here in Seattle. It was organized by some of the best & brightest craft businesspeople in the area, as a grassroots way for the crafty community to network with and educate one another. To scan the collective wisdom that attendees tweeted during those 3 days, search the hashtag #schoolhousecraft.

First I should commend the organizers for putting together a truly wonderful and professional event that was very well organized and had lots of lovely little touches to make every aspect of it special – including the official conference bag in my photo at the top of this post. The venue, Phinney Neighborhood Center, had an ideal blend of classrooms and a larger lunchroom/auditorium for mingling.

One of the cool opportunities I had was to have our shop reviewed by one of Etsy’s Community managers, HeyMichelle. Her insights and suggestions were really valuable. One of the changes we’ll be making based on her input is photographing and creating a new Etsy listing for our “regular” bulk order (8 dozen lollipops for the price of 7 dozen). Right now our only large quantity listing is combined with our customized label service. Making it easier for people to order a simple mix-and-match bulk order makes a lot of sense!

Thanks to the excellent Blogging 101 panel, we’re now reading several new-to-us blogs including and

There were loads of useful insights in the Connecting With Your Customers panel; too many to list. Here’s just a smattering of paraphrases from my notes (hopefully accurate ones):
As a new business owner, you may think you have to say yes to everything, but it’s more important to think about your values and stick to them – Jennifer Shea, owner of Trophy Cupcakes 
I reward the loyal person by offering the best of what I have, and trust that they will talk me up in places I might not have been able to reach – Kari Chapin, author of The Handmade Marketplace 
I try to strike a balance between what people have told us they’re looking for and what *I* want to do and what is inspiring to me – Rebecca Pearcy, owner of Queen Bee Creations 
Daily someone has a suggestion for a new [design], and they all would be cool, but… it’s not always possible to address them all. Things that were repeated requests across customers do wind up being good sellers when we do them. – Ryan and Lucy Berkley, owners of Berkley Illustration 
Oh, and I was honored to be a panelist on Jessie Oleson (aka Cakespy)’s Guerilla Marketing panel. I hope that the attendees gained some useful tips from us, and personally I was really happy to meet Erica McGillivray, the marketing director and president of GeekGirlCon.

So, YAY for the amazing crafty community! Can’t wait till next year!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

We’re 2!

October 8th is Founders’ Day here at This Charming Candy. We couldn’t do it without you, our wonderful customers. Thank you. ♥
(candle available from

To celebrate, we're giving away a Lollipop Collection of the Month to one of the commenters on this post. Tell us: what was the most awesome thing to happen to you in the last two years? Was it something big like getting married or having a baby? Or was it something small, like finally getting that damn closet cleaned out or seeing an old friend? Post a comment to this blog post below, and at the end of the day we'll pick one lucky commenter at random to win a lollipop subscription!

Edited to leave the contest open till the end of the day (PST) Monday, 10/10. Good luck!

Commenter #14, swilkerson, wins the giveaway! Thanks everyone for playing. It was wonderful and inspiring to hear everything that happened to you in the last two years. You guys have some great stories.

Swilkerson, if you could contact us, that'd be great! 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Eye Candy: Crater Lake

photo from John Donahue's National Park Photos
Susan visited Crater Lake in college, and I've never been, but we both agree: it's pretty. We wish we had time to see it while we were in Oregon this weekend, but alas, we'll be too tied up at Urban Folk Art to head out there. Maybe next trip!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Urban Folk Art is this Weekend!

It's almost here! Susan and I will be at Urban Folk Art in Hillsboro, OR this weekend! If you live in the Portland area (or are visiting) we'd love to see you. The details:

When: This weekend! Friday Oct 7 - Sunday Oct 9
     - Friday: 5pm - 9pm
     - Saturday: 10am - 5pm
     - Sunday: 10am - 4pm
Where: Washington County Fair Complex in Hillsboro, OR

Come by and get some candy without waiting for shipping - we'll have everything with us, including the newest product, Greatest Hits 2011! And say hi. We love talking with our customers. :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fifi du Vie: Urban Folk Art Vendor

photo from Fifi du Vie's Etsy Shop
I really like words as art, so I'm excited that Fifi du Vie is going to be at Urban Folk Art too this weekend. Not to mention that all of her Today is Going to Be a Great Day signs instantly put the Phineas & Ferb theme song in my head. I like the Phineas & Ferb theme. It makes me happy.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

North St Bags: Urban Folk Art Vendor

photo from North St Bags
North St Bags is one of the vendors I've never seen before, but am really looking forward to. I've got a bag problem - I already own too many. Not purses, I don't collect purses. Just bags to carry laptops or groceries or anything akin to a briefcase. But this one! It's made from recycled vinyl banners! And it can go on my bike! Not to mention that I love orange! 

I might have to control myself a lot this weekend.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Customized Wedding Favors

We recently had the opportunity and honor of creating custom lollipop wedding favors. I took a couple of quick photos before preparing and shipping this order off to Terre Haute. Congratulations, T + Z!
Here are the lollipop bags with red labels bearing the initials T + Z:
T Z labels
The flavors they ordered included Salted Caramel, and I thought they looked fantastic!
T Z Salted Caramel
It’s a privilege to be asked to created something memorable for a special occasion and we’re very thankful when we get an opportunity like this. If you’re interested in this service, you can read more about our bulk and custom lollipop orders. Which is your favorite color for labels?