|'Candy Queen' Jackie Sorkin and her candy girls.|
Hollywood Candy Girls creator Jackie Sorkin doesn’t get star struck — unless Oprah is involved, that is.
“Working for Oprah was amazing for me,” Sorkin says.”I was literally about to pop out my daughter, and she (Oprah) came out (behind me) and said, ‘Oh my gosh, this looks amazing!’ I didn’t even know who it was. I just turned around to say ‘thank you,’ and my belly was so massive that I almost knocked her over. She just looked down at me and was like, ‘Hey little mommy, what are you doing working?,’ and she puts her hands on my pregnant stomach. I was so close to her, I could smell her. I wanted to cry.”
While Oprah touching her pregnant belly is not an everyday occurrence for Sorkin, creating colorful confections and elaborate candy displays for Hollywood’s elite certainly is. The 32-year-old entrepreneur makes her clients’ “sweetest dreams” come true — all while raising her 2-year-old daughter, Isabella, and her 6-month-old son, Christian.
“I never even knew I would have kids, and now I have these two beautiful children who I love,” Sorkin says. “It truly is a juggle. I’m a mom, I’m a businesswoman, and I am so proud of that.”
A Sweet Beginning
Though she’s held a variety of jobs, Sorkin discovered she had a way with candy while working for an event production company. For events, she built small, vibrant candy displays that quickly took attention away from the affair itself.
“The event business that I was trying to push and entertainment stuff I was trying to push — it was like, ‘forget about that,’ Sorkin says. “People were like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is so gorgeous. I would love you to do my wedding; I would love you to create something for my birthday.’”
Aside from her creativity, Sorkin used another ingredient in the making of her success: the sinking economy.
“It was a horrible time in the economy, and the news was just being bombarded with the economic downturn,” Sorkin says. “People were freaking out and losing money left and right, losing their homes, companies (were) closing. I had this light bulb where I was like, ‘Well, America is experiencing its worst nightmare at this very moment, so this may very well be the time that I can make everybody’s sweetest dreams come true. I kind of ran with that. I knew that candy, no matter what and when, makes people very happy.”
Not everyone was supportive, however. Many people, including some of her loved ones, doubted the success of a unique concept in such a difficult economic time.
“I started my business without a penny, without a single business loan from a bank, a person,” Sorkin says. “Everybody in my life thought that I was nuts or absolutely stupid for starting a business like this, and it’s such a personal attachment to the growth of my business, that it’s almost like one of those things where I prove it to myself.”
And so — with a little scraping and lot of passion and perseverance — Custom Candy Buffets and Dessert Bars was born. In 2009, Sorkin rebranded the business as “Hollywood Candy Girls” to include confectionery and her other endeavors, and she is thrilled about how far it has gone.
“For me, to be in this moment when my business grew, developed and started when the economy tanked, and we survived and grown every year, there is something very huge about that,” Sorkin says.