You work for a plastic-molding manufacturing company as a 3D CAD designer. You’re enjoying your work, mainly how it is being applied in the food industry. You like it when you’re handed a project that has something to do with designing things used in baking, for example.
In your spare time, you like making sweets, like cakes, cupcakes, bread, and candies. You’ve done parties with friends where you have showcased your creations. Your friends have been trying to convince you to put your own candy business. You’re now seriously considering the matter. How does one open a candy store?
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Background of the Candy Industry
Who doesn’t have a sweet tooth in America? There’s probably a few.
Data about candy production indicates that the industry generated $10 billion in revenue as of May 2019. While there are fewer than 600 businesses, the industry is showing a robust annual growth rate for the past five years with 4.0%.
By 2025, the projected value of the industry will be closer to $20 billion.
How to Start in the Business
Young people and children are still the main markets that drive the sales of candies in the USA. This is one of the critical information you need to bear in mind. The big candy and chocolate companies are the ones dominating the market in highly urbanized areas, where 82% of the US population lives. Here are more tips for you to consider when starting your candy business.
- Reconnaissance patrol. Military units do reconnaissance missions before attacking or going to an area or military object. You should do the same. You’re going local first because you can’t slug it out with the big guys. Find out what’s happening in your area. How many competitors do you have? What are they selling? If you’re scouting reveals there’s already too much chocolate candies but very few fruit-flavored sweets, then maybe that’s where you carve your niche.
- Location. Location is always a crucial thing in any business. But have a more in-depth look at the demographics of your target location. Is it near schools or parks, where there’s plenty of children? A visit to the county office to get some data might serve you well.
- Your narrative. Maria Sharapova, in March 2016, held a press conference at a hotel and immediately controlled the narrative about the ITF’s discovery that she tested positive for a banned substance. You should also be aggressive and crafty in telling a unique story about your business. Maybe your glass window could say that the fruits and other ingredients used in your candies are Fairtrade certified. The story needs to be compelling, which will entice your customers to buy.
- Distribution channels. Yes, you are starting small. But plan on how you are going to sell your product. A typical option is to start a brick-and-mortar retail operation. But you could also do wholesale, which may involve tie-ups with, for example, restaurants or events organizers. Nowadays, almost everything can be purchased online, so that is also another option. The important thing is that you can see a clear direction in terms of how you are going to push your product out the door.
You need to deal with the organizational and legal issues from the very beginning, like getting a permit and registering a business name. A critical step, of course, is to draw your business plan, which should outline your financial strategy. But these four steps are enough food for thoughts to get you going.