|Candy topiaries made by Jackie Sorkin and her team.|
Business as Unusual
Though her company’s title says just ‘candy,’ Sorkin, the self-proclaimed “female Willy Wonka,” affirms it goes far beyond that.
“This is a very fun, quirky, whimsical company, and everything we do is with sweets, candy and all kinds of confections and desserts,” Sorkin says. “The more glitter and sparkle, the better, but really, we create with candy.”
With her team of six to eight candy girls and her candy engineer, Sorkin creates whatever her clients desire — even if it is a 8-ft. throne made out of silver foil-wrapped chocolate coins and and LED-lit rock candy diamonds.
“We always say, ‘If you can dream it, we make it,’ Sorkin says. “We never say no, but that was a really cool one.”
Regardless of what she is making, Sorkin pays the most attention to color. Currently, her favorite product is Buffalo, N.Y.-based SweetWork’s Celebration Gumballs.
“They have stuff that shimmers and glimmers and it like makes me pee my pants,” Sorkin says. “That’s my favorite stuff — it’s the colorful, shimmer gumballs they produce, the Sixlets in the gazillion colors, the M&M’s in all the single colors. You’ve got to give people all the popular candy that tastes great, but for me, because we create, it’s all about color. The better the color, the more I work with it.”
In addition to massive displays, Sorkin and her crew also make chocolate- and candy-inspired desserts such as ice cream cone cake pops and candy-coated macaroons.
“We make a lot of desserts, but all of our desserts are candy-themed,” she says. “Our pastry chef is phenomenal. It’s really beautiful stuff, and we always try to tie in candy elements.”
Though clients can choose from a variety of products and services, none of it comes with a set price, and that’s just how Sorkin likes it.
“Everything is custom,” she explains. “I know that it probably is a lot more headache and work to truly custom quote everything we do, but we’re not a cookie-cutter company. I never want to be that, and I don’t have cookie-cutter pricing.”
That ‘Mompreneurial’ Spirit
With huge events and innumerable orders coming in each week, Sorkin says the Hollywood Candy Girls kitchen can be a little hectic. In 2011, TLC decided to document the controlled chaos in the reality show ‘Candy Queen.’ Sorkin filmed 6 episodes while she was nine months pregnant.
“Doing the show with TLC was fantastic,” Sorkin says. “TLC is where we wanted the show to land, and it landed there. You become very close to production and the crew. I think you have more chances of winning the lottery than the people that get to have their own show. The fact that we have a show, and now I’m working on more shows, I think it’s very exciting.”
‘Candy Queen’ aired Dec. 5, 2011 through January 2012 as a special series. Though it is still unclear what will come of the show, Sorkin has plenty of possible projects to consider, including a book, a Hollywood Candy Girls candy line and opening retail stores.
“I have to be honest, my business has blown up not because I sit on my butt all day, pregnant or not, whether I’m filming a show or not,” Sorkin says. “I am a competitive person. A lot of people are like, you are this ‘mompreneur.’”
Other moms have definitely taken notice. Sorkin says women contact her every week about their own business ideas.
“Women and moms e-mail me and contact us on our Facebook pages and Twitter and they relate,” Sorkin says. ”Relating to people is a very important thing for me. I think you should connect with people in life and be open, and that’s kind of how I am. All of these women are like, ‘How did you do this?’”
Sorkin did it by following her passions, and she believes others should do the same.
“Sometimes you just have to go for things, and whether it works or not, you still just have to go with it blindly if you really believe in it,” Sorkin said.