It could be the basis for a Hallmark Channel film: Mother and daughter begin making confections and cookies for family and friends together when the daughter’s eight. The daughter, Darlynne Overbaugh, continues to refine mother Darlynne’s recipes —yes, her mother is named Darlynne as well — while expanding her knowledge of chocolate and developing new flavor combinations.
This chocolate-making hobby continues to remain a non-profit enterprise well into adulthood, but solely for fun and the enjoyment of friends and family. However, Bill, Darlynne’s husband, sees an opportunity to combine his wife’s passion into an entrepreneurial opportunity. He suggests that the two open up a business.
After a year of planning, Life’s So Sweet opens its doors, debuting its first retail store, manufacturing facility and online store (www.LifesSoSweet.com) at 27 West Main Street in Trumansburg, New York on Feb. 1, 2008.
Thus, unlike the Hallmark Channel movie of the week, this is cinema verite. The 550-sq.-ft. store front became the place Darlynne hand crafted, packaged, displayed and sold everything. Three years of steady and sustained growth allowed the couple to remodel the back portion of the same building, which permitted manufacturing to be moved and the retail store to expand (slightly).
In May 2012, Life’s So Sweet was awarded an amazing opportunity to expand once again as co-winners of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance’s Race for Space competition. The location features an expanded selection of retro candies and a fully restored 1949 Bastion and Blessing Soda Fountain where the Life’s So Sweet crew serve up hand-pulled sodas, egg creams, phosphates, ice cream sodas, floats, sundaes and scoops of delicious Purity Ice Cream.
Darlynne and her dedicated team continue the tradition of producing high quality confections, using new recipes and recipes that she and her mother used together more than 20 years ago. These delights are enjoyed throughout the Finger Lakes area.
If you were stranded on a deserted island with only one kind of candy, what would it be?
A tie between my mom’s peanut butter cups and our Dolce Vida Truffle (milk chocolate caramel ganache, chopped pecans, encased in dark chocolate).
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I remember wanting to be a teacher because I had such wonderful teachers.
What issues concern you most about the confectionery industry and why?
I receive a lot of employment applications from young adults, many that have an overinflated sense of self-entitlement, and I feel that will be one of the most difficult things to overcome as we train the next generation of confectioners. In an industry where hard work is a basic ingredient, there’s no room for self-entitlement.
What’s the last book you read?
For work: The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars by Joel Glenn Brenner. For fun: Ready Player One by Earnest Cline.
If given the chance to choose anyone, whom would you like to collaborate with?
Walt Disney – I would have loved to work with him and be an Imagineer.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
To be more productive in your day, get a half hour more of sleep at night. Failure to plan is planning on failure. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut [instinct].
What excites you most about your job?
The feeling that I’m part of candy history for the Finger Lakes area. I help make smiles and that helps me through during even the worst of days.