Terese McDonald, Candyality
May 15, 2009
Drawing on childhood memories like the penny candy counter at the local Five & Dime, the creation of the “Jelly Belly,” or the irresistible “magic” of the sweetest commodity known to man, Chicago entrepreneur Terese McDonald aims to uncover personality connections of customers shopping at her Lakeview neighborhood candy emporium.
McDonald, a former sales and training executive in the prestige beauty and luxury goods industry, refined her candy profiling technique while determining individuals’ “selling personalities.” She then used her findings to custom-tailor selling skills seminars for her team of more than 500 U.S. sales associates.
When spikes in sales productivity dovetailed with McDonald’s inner candy-eater sessions, the sweets swami was soon asked to expand the program to her company’s group of international trainers, where it was unanimously adopted. McDonald discovered that candy is universal, easily transcending culture, age, race, religion and economic status. It speaks to everybody, and nearly everybody (the occasional dieter notwithstanding) loves it!
Once in a while, the opportunity to write a new chapter in one’s life comes along. McDonald, a born-and-bred Chicagoan who had dreamt of starting a retail business in her own backyard, realized that the concept she had refined through her training experiences could be developed into just the sort of shop her neighborhood and Chicago needed. In discerning personality through candy, it became clear to McDonald that the shop should be called Candyality.
Employing a dynamic combination of creativity, products, family, and friends, McDonald hopes to establish a refreshing new retail destination and shopping event that will result in unforgettable experiences for her customers. It’s a new take on the corner candy store, where one can truly “find” one’s self while proving the old adage, “You are what you eat!”
What did you think you would be when you grew up?
Name one or some of your favorite movies.
Of course, “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory!”
Describe your perfect dream vacation.
Laying out on the beach in Akumal, Mexico, with tons of books, cold beer, chips and guacamole. There are no phones, TV’s…it’s paradise.
What book are you currently reading?
I am reading three: “Groundswell - Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies” by Charlene Li & Josh Bernoff; “The Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell; and “The Fat Belly Diet” by Liz Vaccariello & Cynthia Sass.
Aside from a family member, whom would you most want to be stranded with on a deserted island?
Tom Hanks - he knows a thing or two about survival.
What’s your pet peeve?
Customers who eat candy out of their bags prior to paying for it. And we thought Augustus Gloop was just a character in a movie. [Editor’s note: Augustus Gloop was the gluttonous overeater in Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory novel.]
I’d give anything to meet:
Marc Summers from “Unwrapped.”
The best piece of advice that I’ve gotten:
“It’s not what you say; it’s how you look when you say it.”
What excites you most about your job?
To see the magic that unfolds when a customer connects with their candy. Their excitement, their enthusiasm…their energy…it is priceless!