When 34-year-old Robyn Blair Davidson imagined an aesthetic for her New York City apartment two years ago, her eyes wandered to a bowl of candy on her table.
“Then and there I realized that I should fill my walls with pieces that would make me just as happy as the candy-filled bowls,” said Ms. Davidson, an artist.
Today in Ms. Davidson’s house is a bespoke desk with yellow, blue, and pink candy dots. Their walls are covered in candy-themed art. She has a huge tub of Dubble Bubble. and their retail shelves contain rare vintage candies in their original packaging.
She has incorporated her candy obsession into her art and also sells candy, puzzles, phone cases, and a range of candy prints that read, “Warning Sugar High”.
“At the end of the day, a sugar high lasts a moment while my artwork lasts a lifetime,” said Ms. Davidson.
Slowly but surely, sweets – a prize for children, a scourge for dentists and already marked from Valentine’s Day to Easter – has received a brand extension.
The confectionery retailer It’s Sugar, which was founded in 2004 and now has 100 locations in the USA, opened a store in the Oakbrook Center in Illinois in mid-December, which is filled with Swedish soft toys in the shape of a fish, Reeses socks and Oreo backpacks, and Sour Patch Kids candles .
“Our main Gen Z consumers have really gone from loyal buyers to real fanatics,” said Danielle Freid, brand manager for Sour Patch Kids. “The fandom is real: they dye their hair and paint their nails, inspired by the candy colors of the South Patch Kids.”
The merchandise is just another way for these fans to get involved with their favorite brand of candy, said Ms. Freid.
M & M’s World and Hershey’s have long embodied their brands with animated M & Ms and the giant squishy Kisses Chocolate Plush Toy.
But sweetness has also reached the upper echelons of luxury. Prada has cloned the scent of caramel (with hints of musk and iris) into its Candy Eau de Parfum; Jimmy Choo created a $ 895 Candy Embellished Crossbody with crystals reminiscent of candy dots. and Irene Neuwirth’s unique 18-karat yellow gold faceted pearl candy necklace is $ 16,520.
“For many people, there is an intangible magic and social currency associated with these products based on nostalgic experiences,” said Christopher Gindlesperger, senior vice president of public affairs for the National Confectioners Association in Washington. “Chocolate and confectionery companies have built on this by meeting consumers of all ages where they want to meet: with goods that capture the fun and uniqueness of the brands sold in all types of retail stores.”
In the Sour Patch Kids Store – the first of its kind – which opened this summer on Lower Broadway, sales account for around 40 percent of total sales, Ms. Freid said. The most popular items are a themed pillow, a “Stuffed Kids” plush that fits in the pillow, and a Kids Funko Pop.
At Dylan’s Candy Bar, which has around a dozen locations around the world after 20 years of business, lifestyle goods make up around 9 percent of inventory, the company said. It has worked on products with Williams Sonoma, Maclaren Baby and Hanky Panky, the underwear brand.
“When we designed the stores we knew we wanted to feel like you were stepping into a world of candy, so the various accessories, PJs, pillows and more sections in the store created another fun element to shop for. ” said Dylan Lauren, the founder and CEO of Shoppers at Dylan who reaches for the Donut and Candy Button Pillows, Sprinkles Notebook and Candy Spill Robe the most, said Ms. Lauren.
Lu Ann Williams, Global Insights Director at Innova Market Insights, who analyzes data in the food and beverage industry, believes that part of the sudden success of confectionery is because it appears on social media.
Think influencer Jojo Siwa, who unveiled her new bedroom in suburban Los Angeles on TikTok in February, showing off a sprinkled vanity and desk, scented candy-shaped pillows, a headboard for candy dispensers, and more than 4,000 pounds of candy.
Nostalgia is also a factor, said Ms. Williams. Perhaps Americans feel like kids when asked to effectively stay in our room for quarantine?
If so, It’s Sugar was forward-looking and started producing exclusive goods with the confectionery brands in early 2020. Justin Clinger, director of design and licensing for the company, said inedible foods now represent about 20 percent of the stores’ total inventory and sales have increased significantly.
It’s customers like the aptly named Candy Marlo who drive those sales. Ms. Marlo, who is over 40, already owns three candy-shaped pillows and all of her wardrobe is candy-inspired clothing. All of their jewelry looks like candy.
Ms. Marlo used to work as a corporate trainer and instruction designer, but Taffy’s pull proved too strong to resist. She started a candy vlog, Ms. Candy Media, and in 2014 she started creating her own candy fashion with candy headgear and candy couture outfits. In 2020 Ms. Marlo started selling sprinkle coated headbands and crowns.
“Everyone loves sweets, but not everyone can or wants to eat them,” said Ms. Marlo. “But everyone can consume the product by consuming the goods.”