This week’s Meet a Mom interview is with Dylan Lauren, founder of Dylan’s Candy Bar, a veritable candy empire with 13 locations nationwide, including at some of the country’s largest airports. Walking into a Dylan’s Candy Bar is as fun as tasting what’s inside; the interiors are a colorful, energetic blend of blend of art, pop culture and fashion (fittingly, as Dylan’s father is the iconic fashion designer Ralph Lauren). With Valentine’s Day around the corner, we spoke to Dylan about growing her brand, being a twin mom, her favorite Valentine’s candy (and her children’s picks!) and more. Plus, her local NYC favorite businesses.
You started Dylan‘s Candy Bar in 2001, and 20 years later, you have over a dozen locations nationwide. What do you think has been the secret to your success?
It has been a sweet 20 years. I think the success of my company comes from the fact that I know my customer well, because I literally am the customer. I also am doing something I love, so I continue to be passionate about it. I have also made it a priority to follow our mission to merge fashion art and pop culture with candy, which means we have been able to give a much broader audience a wider variety to enjoy and to grow with our brand.
How did becoming a mom to twins Kingsley Rainbow and Cooper Blue, who are now 6, change how you looked at your business?
Having young boy-girl twins has inspired me to create even more edible activity and crafting kits for both the key holidays and every day, since inspiring creativity and bringing the family together is important. I have also seen the need to promote and expand our Dylan‘s Candy Bar Mindful Indulgences section which we sell also in Whole Foods because so many of the kids’ classmates, and even their parents, get excited to know we have allergen free alternatives.
That’s great! How has fashion always been a part of Dylan‘s Candy Bar?
Having grown up as the daughter of Ralph Lauren, art and fashion is embedded into the way I design and select candies, the decor and environment I create for my stores, and the details I include in our lifestyle products, packaging and presentations. I often am inspired by the different patterns in clothing and have incorporated them into products so for example our 20th anniversary is all about sparkle, metallic and iridescent; but next year I am considering tartans, polka dots and pinstripes in the motifs. Our goal is to create products that are hip, artistic and sophisticated to attract the fashion savvy customer who appreciates giving and receiving something truly special and cool.
If someone hasn’t been yet, how would you describe the Dylan’s Candy Bar experience?
We strive to give customers a real escape into a happy haven when they enter Dylan‘s Candy Bar. We rotate over 200 songs that are about candy, we show a curated reel of vintage candy commercials, the fixtures are oversized candy pop art installation that make the place more of a true candy land, the colors are bright and uplifting, there’s smells of fresh waffle cones being made in our ice cream parlor or chocolate in our Ooey Gooey case, the staff are sweet and the products are obviously even sweeter to both look at and taste.
What are some of your all-time favorite candies?
Cadbury Cream Eggs, Original Bazooka and Dubble Bubble, red classic string licorice, red raspberry gummies & red Swedish fish .
What is new for 2022 – can you tell us about your Anniversary Collection?
Um, everything! I am soooo excited about our Anniversary Collection because it truly sparkles and includes chic gifts for literally every special occasion throughout the year for all ages. We have over 20 new Dylan‘s Candy Bar products! I am very proud of our extra-large tackle boxes especially the Sparking Sweets XL Tackle Box because the variety of 24 curated metallic foiled candies and chocolates is more stunning & special to give than a jewelry treasure chest. I also think people seeking an over the top birthday gift will flip out over the gigantic Dylan‘s Candy Bar Lollipop and Chocolate Bar that literally look as big as our store’s fixtures.
Sounds amazing! What are your favorite Valentine’s candies, and why?
I tend to gravitate toward any candy that’s red, raspberry or cherry flavored and gummy which is very popular due to the colors associated with Valentine’s Day. Another new favorite of mine is our sparkling rainbow color foiled chocolate covered Oreos and I cannot wait to give them to my Galentines.
What candies do your kids love?
They say they like anything from “mommy’s candy bar”. They love the new Dylan‘s Candy Bar Chocolate bars in 30 new flavors and colors because they helped me with rounds of taste tests and exploring the Pantone book for a perfect rainbow ombré of 30 wrapper colors. They also love the various Dylan’s Candy Bar tackle boxes for the different seasons because they get to try and proudly introduce their friends to a giant variety of unique and limited edition candies.
Do you have a working mom mantra?
I try to remember that life is about Balance and to ensure I schedule time to “play” or do something that feeds my soul because that quick break is actually what provides me with fuel and inspiration to conquer other tasks that are more challenging.
What’s something about being a twin mom that you never expected?
I have learned how to juggle (mentally). I have gained the ability to listen to two children talking over each other to me at the same time, while my third child (our dog) barks at me for attention. I have realized that while I don’t have four eyes or four hands I can multitask and pay attention to the needs of the twins no matter how much mental noise I may have in the background.
We love to support local businesses. Can you please share your favorite places in your NYC neighborhood to:
CAFE BACIO 70th Street and 3rd Avenue
For food – Grace’s Market 68th Street & 2nd Avenue
For inspiration and gifts: State News 72nd Street and 3rd Avenue
For clothes: Ralph Lauren
Have dinner as a family
Go on a date night
Have fun as a family
We like to go to Central Park with our rescue dog Jersey. It is my favorite destination when the pink cherry blossoms bloom.
Go for girls night
Get your hair done
I have individual hair stylists whom I love who freelance but other times I go to salons like AKS and Samuel Shriqui.
Get your nails done