Thursday, May 31, 2012

Packaging, Packaging, Packaging!

One aspect of running a product-based business is that we occasionally have to spend time seeking out packaging that supports our products and our brand experience. Sometimes this is fun, and sometimes it can be a real drag if the search doesn’t go well.

This year, we’ll be introducing a new collection called “All of the Above” which contains, you guessed it, one of each flavor we sell.

At first we hoped to find another zip-top bag similar to those we use in our other packaging. That didn’t work out so well. Can you see how the sticks are stretching and poking this poor bag? And, uh oh, it only fits 18, not 20 lollipops…
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Other failed concepts included aluminum tins (not tall enough):
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… hinged aluminum tins (not long enough):
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… one-piece plastic boxes (close, but not quite tall enough and felt pretty flimsy):
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… cylindrical hinged tins (not tall enough, and we decided it would be weird to go totally opaque):
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We deliberately use lollipop sticks that are a little longer than standard ones, because we want them to feel like they’re designed for your adult-sized hand. But those longer sticks really seemed to be impeding our search for suitable packaging!

At this point, we were feeling pretty discouraged. But thanks to an assist from our buddy Kim of Pepo Park, we kept at it. Stay tuned for a future post where we’ll show the packaging we finally decided on. We’re pretty excited about it!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What’s In A Name?

For a little while now, we’ve been kicking around the idea of creating a new lollipop collection which would have one of every permanent flavor we carry – that’s 20 flavors, for those scoring along at home.

We want this collection to be special – we hope it will even more gift-worthy than our lollipops already are.

Up until now, we’d been privately calling it “Girlfriend in a Sugar Coma”, as a fun nod to this most excellent Smiths song:

But we admitted to ourselves that it’s not the most accessible product name, nor the most inclusive - pop culture references, while fun if you “get” them, are naturally dated. Some businesses thrive on creating that kind of “insider” experience, but we just didn’t think it fit our brand.

So we turned to our awesome, smart, good-looking Twitter and Facebook followers for suggestions. The suggestion of “Lolli-palooza” seemed to be our fans’ favorite; ultimately we decided that as much as it amused us all, that name suffered from the same drawback as “Girlfriend in a Sugar Coma” – it was too dated.

The best suggestion in our opinion was “All of the Above”. We love how easily it communicates the most important piece of information about this product: that it contains all of our delicious gourmet lollipops.
We’re now busy at work designing the packaging and product labels for “All of the Above” and will keep you posted on our progress!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

You can find This Charming Candy in Made in Washington stores

We’re so excited to announce the newest location(s!) at which you can purchase This Charming Candy’s handmade lollipops: the Made in Washington stores and website! They will be carrying the Celebration Time, Spice Rack and Fruit Basket collections in all stores, and will carry the Celebration Time collection online.

photo by Kevin Keeker
Made in Washington has five locations in the Seattle Metro area:
  • Westlake Center in downtown Seattle
  • Post Alley in Pike Place Market
  • Bellevue Square Mall in Bellevue
  • Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood
  • Southcenter Westfield Mall in Tukwila
As of this posting, the Celebration Time lollipops weren’t listed online, but they should be available shortly for make-your-own-gift box.

We’re really honored to have our products on the shelves alongside those of our local food business heroes including Skillet Street Food, Deluxe Foods, and Theo Chocolate, to say nothing of the beautiful works of glass art and pottery. Get yourself to one of their stores ASAP!

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Little Something Extra

If you’ve ordered lollipops from us before, you probably got a little something extra when you opened up the box… a flavor sample!

Sometimes we call them “gems” or “jewels” – either way, these little candy pieces are a way for us to thank you for your business and, we hope, to introduce you to a flavor you hadn’t ordered. We think they’re charming to boot.

gem-shaped hard candy samples


We only keep a few flavors on hand at any given time, so we can’t always make sure you’ll receive a flavor that isn’t part of your order. If that’s the case, we hope you might share the gems with a friend :-)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thanks, Man!

gourmet sweetened grapefruit lollipops in charcoal thank you wrappers
photo by Kevin Keeker

gourmet sweetened grapefruit lollipops in charcoal thank you wrappers
photo by Kevin Keeker

gourmet sweetened grapefruit lollipops in charcoal thank you wrappers
photo by Kevin Keeker

gourmet sweetened grapefruit lollipops in charcoal thank you wrappers seen from the top
photo by Kevin Keeker
These thank you lollipops would be great if you're a project manager who needs something to give to your team to let them know that you appreciate them, or if you coordinate a group of volunteers who maybe needs a little sugary pick-me-up, or even if you just want to have them on hand to give to people who make a little bit of difference every day.

We've shown them with our Sweetened Grapefruit lollipops, but you can choose them in any of our flavors.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Blue! Baby Shower! Favors!

it's a boy blue baby shower hard candy lollipops
photo by Kevin Keeker

it's a boy blue baby shower hard candy lollipops
photo by Kevin Keeker

it's a boy blue baby shower hard candy lollipops as seen from top
photo by Kevin Keeker

it's a boy blue baby shower hard candy lollipops from further away
photo by Kevin Keeker
I love how blue and silver and teal these pictures are. It's as though we planned it!

If you're planning a baby shower for a baby boy, these favors would be a great addition to your party. You can use any of our flavors in the bags, we just liked the way these Blueberry Muffin lollipops looked.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Girl Power!

guava pink its a girl labels on Guava Colada hard candy lollipops
photo by Kevin Keeker

close up of guava pink its a girl labels on Guava Colada hard candy lollipops
photo by Kevin Keeker

These cute guava pink it's a girl labels are a great addition to any baby shower for a new little girl. They're  shown here with our Guava Colada lollipops, but you can choose from any of our flavors.

Personally, I love that they're not neon hot pink (having a daughter of my own, I may have been overexposed to that color in the last few years).

Monday, May 21, 2012

Hey, I'm Proud of You!

purple congratulations labeled lollipops
photo by Kevin Keeker

purple congratulations labeled hard candy suckers
photo by Kevin Keeker

purple congratulations labeled hard candy lollipops
photo by Kevin Keeker
Lollipops and congratulations are 2 things that bring smiles to people's faces. Our congratulations lollipops are a great way to tell someone how proud you are of them! These purple labels can be paired with any of our flavors to make a perfect celebratory party favor. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Queen Mary Tea Room

If you’ve hung around this blog, or our Twitter feed, you know Kate & I are pretty much complete tea fiends. I recently had a wonderful tea party at the Queen Mary Tea Room in the Ravenna neighborhood.

My BFF/housemate from grad school is also a tea fiend, lives in Seattle and her birthday’s at the end of April. After much discussion of “how should we celebrate?” she finally hit upon the idea of having fancy afternoon tea.
Tea time!
(Deb’s the one in the tiara that spells out: “QUEEN”)
I ordered lemon chiffon rooibos, and she ordered hazelnut honeybush, also a rooibos tea. Both were outstanding. In fact, Deb & I were both compelled to buy a bag of the hazelnut honeybush to enjoy at home, it was that good. She was smart enough to buy hers on the spot. I let the memory of it haunt me for days before I had time to go back for mine!

Are you looking at that amazing arrangement of food on the tiered plate between us? Here, let me offer you a close up.
afternoon tea treats


It. Was. FANTASTIC. And did you see the lovely teacup in my hand? Here, let me offer you a close up:
teacup


Talk about charming! I’m so exited for Kate’s next trip up to Seattle. I am SO taking her here. (I am looking forward to it! -K)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Planning an Event?

Are you an event planner? Or perhaps a bride-to-be? We'd love to tell you about a new website that we've recently been included on.

It's called Shop then Wed, and it's a directory-style site site that includes a ton of Etsy sellers who specialize in whatever you might need for a wedding. We're in the Wedding Favors category! We're excited about it, and we hope you are too.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Perkele!

This Charming Candy lollipops with custom labels for a Regretsy event
You may have heard that we created a set of custom lollipop labels for the Regretsy Petja-palooza event gift bags…

It was a lot of fun to work with April on renaming several of our delicious flavors, especially (ahem) Salted Anise – an admittedly polarizing flavor that’s quite well liked in Petja’s native Finland.

If you’d like your own set of ‘perkele’ lollipops, we do have some left from the batch we made. They’re available in our Etsy shop. CF4L!

lollipops with 'perkele' custom wrappers

Rain OR Shine Coffee House

We’re pleased and proud to let Portland, Oregon residents know that you can now buy our lollipops at Rain OR Shine in the Southwest Portland/Mt. Tabor neighborhood. Hooray! Why is the “OR” capitalized? Check out their clever logo:

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Molly and Claire have created a cozy and bright cafĂ© in which we instantly felt home. And we sort of are at home there… in lollipop form!

This Charming Candy lollipops at Rain or Shine Coffee House in Portland

Molly created this totally clever display out of doorknob hardware and it’s her proprietary design :-)

So next time you’re nearby and need coffee, gluten free baked treats, or lollipops – head to Rain OR Shine!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Crafty Wonderland Spring Wrap-Up

First, a big “thank you” to the organizers of Crafty Wonderland for inviting us to participate in the Super Colossal Spring Show. We love this show because it’s full of wonderfully talented artists & makers and it’s SO WELL ORGANIZED. Thank you!

I picked Kate up at PDX airport and we headed right to Rain or Shine Coffee House for snacks and to meet owners Claire & Molly – who turned out to be just as lovely in person as over email. Plus I love their font and the cute way they incorporate “OR” with the outline of Oregon:
exterior window of Rain or Shine Coffee House in Portland, OR


We always get a thrill from seeing our lollipops for sale out in the world so of course we snapped this pic at their register:
This Charming Candy lollipops at Rain or Shine Coffee House


After saying farewell for now, we headed to Sock Dreams, a store my friend Anita loves and I’ve been wanting to visit for a while. Kate got some colorful anklets and I got these bad girls!
colorful socks

I’m wearing the nouvella ones right now and they are heavenly. Soft and comfortable, and very well made. I never realized how crappy most of my socks really are, until putting these on. I think I may be on the verge of becoming a sock enthusiast like Anita!

No trip to Portland is complete without hitting up Powell’s Books, is it? We spent close to an hour just browsing around. I barely even left the “confections” shelves in the cooking section, and walked away with a reference & recipe book from the CIA I’d been eyeing for a while:
Chocolates & Confections book


Eventually we had to stop being tourists, and set up our booth for the show. Thanks to our new EZ Display unit, setup was short and sweet and easy. We’re psyched about how much candy this thing holds!
This Charming Candy display at Crafty Wonderland


Of course we had lots of single lollipops for sale too, as always:
lollipops by This Charming Candy in 20+ flavors


This was our first chance to show off our new pre-customized event labels. One savvy customer pointed out we don’t offer a version that reads “happy birthday”, a defect we shall soon correct!
Lollipops with customized event labels


The dinner we ate after setting up on Friday was so sublime, we went back on Saturday night before driving back to Seattle! We found Le Happy, a French style creperie, and indulged in savory entrees (goat chees + caramelized onion for me, chicken for Kate) and sweet desserts (Nutella banana for me, lemon curd & strawberry for Kate) until we were pleasantly stuffed. Le Happy had great ambiance including a disco ball:
Le Happy creperie in Portland OR


Crafty Wonderland itself went well and we got to meet so many great customers. One highlight was meeting people who’d heard of us because of the custom labels we created for Regretsy!

We also met a producer from the TV show Portlandia. If only we were a Portland-based business! We could have contributed lollipops for their guest star gift bags. The very idea of, say, Kyle MacLachlan, having one of our lollipops in his mouth is just too awesome for words. Ah well.

When the show began, Kate realized she hadn’t packed her apron for handling cash. She needed one, pronto! Luckily, she discovered the Ginkgo Kids booth and actually bought the apron right off the shop owner’s body (obviously, Ginkgo Kids specializes in kidswear). Look how adorable!
waist apron handmade by Gingko Designs


Wow, Portland, all in all we had a fantastic weekend. Thank you so much! We hope to be back again at the holidays!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Portland, we want to see you!

crafty wonderland sale  information and graphic
Portland! We will be at the Oregon Convention Center tomorrow with lots and lots of lollipops for sale. We would love to see you, and sell you some candy. We are well stocked in Watermelon-Basil lollipops, as well as all our products. So pop on over and pick up some lollipops for yourself or as a last-minute Mother's Day present!

When: Saturday May 12th, 11am - 6 pm
Where: Oregon Convention Center, Hall D, booth 81

See you then!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Crafty Wonderland Vendor: MeMe Cosmetics

MeMe Cosmetics' mini bath cupcakes
Photo from MeMe Cosmetics
We were in the next booth over to MeMe Cosmetics at a show last October - Inger is a wonderful person who makes lovely, natural cosmetics and bath products. My daughter enjoys her mini-bath cupcakes (pictured above), Susan likes her under eye cream (it's very gentle), and I think I need some tinted lip balm for the summer.

She'll be at Crafty Wonderland, as will we and a LOT of other vendors this weekend. We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Crafty Wonderland Vendor: Aaron Trotter

photo from Aaron Trotter's Etsy Shop
I saw Aaron Trotter's playing cards at the last Crafty Wonderland, and loved the artwork. While I didn't so much need another deck of playing cards, I did think that the print of Smith Tower (the building on the Jack of diamonds in the photo) would make a good Christmas present for my husband, since we got married there.

I asked if there was a way for me to buy just that print, and he said yes! He didn't have any with him, but he was able to print me an 8x10 (without the playing card overlay) and ship it to me later that same week. It was fabulous customer service and my husband loved the picture.

I'm excited to see if he's got new cities and new drawings at the show this weekend!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Why extreme photo cropping is good

We'll be announcing some new products next week, for events and parties that we know our lollipops sometimes get bought for. To that end, I was editing some photos yesterday.

And while this is a fine photo:

photo by Kevin Keeker

I also enjoyed cropping the photo down to the essentials: those labels on the lollipops.

photo by Kevin Keeker
It really brings the focus on the part that people often pay the most attention to: the labels and the candy. The above photo is great for showing how to display a dozen lollipops (it's a blumebox), but the cropped in version is a much better lead product photo.

We'll have these - and more - in the shop next week!

Friday, May 4, 2012

What Kate & Susan are talking about

The AP has changed the rule for how "hopefully" can be used. In Never Been Kissed, one of our favorite movies of all time, Josie Gellar (Drew Barrymore's character) has this whole little speech about how her boss has mis-used hopefully, saying "The way you said it, it sounds like the copy is hoping. And I'm pretty sure the copy doesn't have feelings." Suffice it to say, Susan and I like to quote that line.

This article was recommended to us with this comment: "Read ... what a truly meaningful response to a major advertising mistake would look like. Then stick around and think what it would mean for how your organization should address whatever major blunders it will make."

Sherlock S2 starts Sunday (in the US, I know those of you in the UK saw it *months* ago....)! Woo-hoo!

If you're an Etsian, you know that there's been something of a kerfuffle over their policies on what gets sold and who gets to sell it on their site. This listing? This listing is awesomely hilarious, making fun of the aforementioned policies.

Johnny Marr has no negative thoughts about The Smiths. From the AV Club. On a sort-of-related note, someone once suggested to us that we make a Johnny Marr-shmallow flavored lollipop. We thought it was clever.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Where do we get our flavorings?

We care a lot about how our lollipops taste. We're not just throwing any old flavors into our candy. Susan and I spend a fair bit of time brainstorming new flavors, and we do A LOT of taste-testing. (As you may have noticed from our current round of Salted Caramel testing.)

When we first started out, we experimented with hard candy flavors from a number of companies before finally settling on Lorann Oils as the place we get our flavors. Why? Because they taste better than anywhere else. We order the natural flavors when we they're available; we prioritize taste, though.

So there you have it! We love Lorann and the quality of flavor oils they give us.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Happy Birthday!

Every day is someone’s birthday! That’s just one of the many things I have learned by having a Facebook account. It’s one of the reasons we love making Birthday Cake flavored lollipops – and it’s probably why that’s one of our most popular flavors.

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Of course, what birthday cake would be complete with out little sprinkles in the frosting? We’d rather not find out, so we scatter them by hand into the candy molds before pouring in the syrup:

IMG_0071


And like all of our lollipops, they’re naturally gluten-free!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sweets on 3rd

Last week, we sent Wausau, Wisconsin’s Sweets on 3rd their first order of lollipops. We’re excited to welcome them as a new retail location for This Charming Candy lollipops. If you’re in the area, check them out.

I have to say, looking at the photos of delicious treats they post on their Facebook page? Makes me super hungry.