Candy Craze began making lives sweeter and creating unique experiences in 2013 when Melanie – owner, entrepreneur and all-round sweet-tooth – launched the business as not just a candy store, but as a place to bring joy and excitement to anyone that walked in.
What makes Candy Craze so special is their high-energy culture – with all customers cheerfully greeted, sung to, and told to ‘Have a sweet day’. Now Jamaica’s premium candy and ice cream store, Candy Craze specialises in over 200 types of candy and chocolates (we’re talking gummy, hard, sour, sweet, dark chocolate, milk chocolate and sugar free treats just to name a few).
Melanie and her team are dedicated to growing the company and delivering unique environments to children and adults alike – with a view to achieving this, she recently enrolled in the Branson Centre Accelerator Programme, which exists to help local businesses scale and grow.
During the six month programme, entrepreneurs go through a series of training sessions to support not only their company’s growth, but also their own personal growth as a leader. We spoke to Melanie about Candy Craze, the Accelerator programme, and her hopes for the future…
Tell us about your Candy Craze vision and what makes this shop so special.
Our vision is to change the landscape and change how people view the confectionery and ice cream industry, creating a space that’s fun, unique and dynamic. I want Candy Craze to be a dominant force throughout the Caribbean and a brand that people identify with. We’re committed to creating a one-of-a-kind customer experience where life is sweeter.
When did you first hear about the Branson Centre and the Accelerator Programme?
I heard about the Branson Centre through the incredible Lisa Lake and thought it would be a good opportunity for me to create structure within my company and provide me with the tools to scale up Candy Craze.
Where was your passion for business born?
I attended the University of Western Ontario in London Ontario, Canada where I studied political science. After graduating from Western I worked at TD Canada Trust for a year before returning to Jamaica. When I returned I began working for a start-up company where my passion for business began. As it was a start-up I was involved in every aspect of the business. I learnt a lot, and grew, and I put in countless hours of work. After a few more moves I did my MBA at Mona School of business, which propelled me into starting Candy Craze. Five years later I am still here, proud of what I created so far and very excited about the future and what it holds for Candy Craze.
What’s the most important thing that running a business has taught you?
I am constantly thinking about my dreams for Candy Craze and where I want to take it. This often seems overwhelming, and stressful, and I regularly struggle to balance this and my personal obligations. Being a new mom of twins can be very challenging (to say the least!). Learning to be patient has been essential for the continual growth of Candy Craze (and of me).
How does your business benefit the wider community and the environment?
I am proud of how much Candy Craze has already contributed to employment and local manufacturers in the area. Alongside this we have created a space the entire family can come and enjoy. And, most of our candy at Candy Craze is gluten free, sugar free and low sodium!
What does the future hold for your business?
The future of Candy Craze excited me and I CANNOT WAIT to get stuck into 2019! We’re looking into new locations, both locally and throughout the Caribbean. We’re also hoping to extend distribution of our branded candy in all supermarkets, pharmacies and gas stations across the region.