“We’re on a mission to reinvent the candy category” says Sugarfina’s Rosie O’Neill, “which has become stagnant and kind of gross!” Candy (as distinct from chocolate) makes up a third of the $150 billion global sweets market, but no one has targeted foodies. Coupled-up cofounders O’Neill and Josh Resnick started plotting Sugarfina after their third date. (They saw Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory—really.) The former director of marketing for Barbie and the tech entrepreneur, respectively, try to “create excitement around candy, like in that movie,” O’Neill says.
The online boutique, which launched late last summer, sells gummies, licorice, and cordials from around the globe, wittily packaged in bento boxes to encourage buyers to try new flavors. Liquor-infused treats come with a flask. It has become the go-to candy offering for everything from Facebook Gifts to Drybar; its first retail location is likely to open later this year. O’Neill will also send the first—and most delicious—gummy bear into space. It’ll be passenger No. 116 on Virgin Galactic. Like Sugarfina itself, that’s one giant step for candy.
[Candy Sculpture by Megan Caponetto, Photograph by Jason Pietra]