Candy Club, a premium, monthly subscription service designed especially for candy lovers, launched nationwide this past summer.
Curated by the company’s in-house, sweet-toothed aficionados, Candy Club shipments offer members a diverse selection of delicious favorites and hard-to-find classic candies conveniently delivered to their doorsteps.
“There are a lot of subscription box delivery services available to consumers — but none that, quite literally, bring the candy store to your door,” says founder Keith Cohn, a veteran executive in the CPG and digital marketing fields who also serves as the company’s ceo.
Cohn says he got the idea a few years ago after realizing there was a sort of void to fill in the candy category in this area.
“I started my career in the toy business, so I’ve been marketing kid consumer products, and the last year 10 years I’ve been doing online digital marketing,” he says. “And I thought about ways that we might be able to merge the two together. Ways we might be able to market to kids and parents in an online venue, and I was looking at big categories that hadn’t been done yet.”
Indeed, the confectionery industry does more than $30 billion in sales a year, making it a great market for the monthly subscription box, he explains.
“With Candy Club, we marry quality and convenience in a way that will ultimately bring magic and joy to peoples’ doorsteps — and the better the candy, the bigger the smiles,” he says.
The concept is simple. First, consumers visit Candy Club’s website and choose a one-, three-, six-, or 12-month plan option. And its priced competitively at $29.99/mo, $24.99/mo, $22.99/mo, and $19.99/mo, respectively (not including shipping).
Then, they receive a box of premium, hand-picked candy delivered to their home or business every month. Last — and most important — Cohn says, they simply enjoy.
The company did a test run of the concept late last year, and officially launched in June, 2014.
“We’ve had a great response, both last year when we tested this and now as we’re gearing up for the holidays this year,” he says.
Cohn says the easiest way to explain it as a sort of candy-of-the month club. And every member gets the same box for their first month, their second month, their third month and so on. They’re all planned out so that the members don’t get overwhelmed with one flavor or category, so where one month they might get sour candy, the next they’ll get fruity.
And, Candy Club is able to sell the candy at lower prices than a traditional candy store because they don’t have the store-front overhead.
“Each month you’ll get to try and discover candies that you would only find in speciality markets at a reasonable and affordable price,” Cohn explains. “So we’re national, high-end speciality candy store like Dylans, and we’re taking and bringing the high-end candy store to their door every month.”
The selections vary each month, offering members an assortment of three different types of candy stored in novelty Candy Club containers.
For example, one month’s box may surprise recipients with Haribo Gummi Techno Bears, Sour Power Wild Cherry Belts, Gimbal’s Sour Gourmet Jelly Beans and, as an added bonus, Butterfields Peach Buds – all on a bed of Sweet’s Salt Water Taffy.
That last bonus is because each month, members get a local candy in their box in addition to the national brands.
“We find one local thing each month that most people would have never heard of, and we’re including that high end specialty item each month in there,” Cohn says.
And although the company is slightly different than a regular candy store in that the customers aren’t specifically choosing what candy they get, Cohn says his relationships with manufacturers is like a that of a retailer.
“We’re buying products from them, and instead of bins and stores, we have proprietary packaging,” he says.
The company has a distribution center in Indianapolis as well as one in Utah.
“We are buying in bulk just like a Sweet Factory would. We have a USDA facility in the Midwest.. and west of the Rookies...that white glove unit repackages it,” Cohn explains.
Cohn declined to specifically say how many members had signed up for Candy Club, citing the fact that they’re a privately held company. Yet he did say the numbers so far have exceeded their expectations.
“We are getting thousands of customers a month,” he says. “It’s gone well beyond what we ever would have thought.”
But Candy Club isn’t planning to rest on its laurels. Cohn already has lot of ideas for the future.
“We want to be the candy of the month supplier to customers from an online perspective, and we may expand down the road to having an e-tail shop,” he says. “And at some point we may even have an offline business. But in the near term, we’re really focusing on the subscription of the month.”
As for Cohn’s favorite candy?
“I’m very particular, to anything in the Sour Patch universe,” he says. “But I love Dorval, I love Haribo.”
Lucky for members, he’s not solely in charge of deciding what members get each month.
“We have a really balanced group that do the selecting. And we try to hit the biggest area of taste,” he says.
So now, consumers who are looking for the perfect back-to-school gift or are tired of the usual flower- and-chocolate combination have an alternative. Of course, those simply wanting a convenient candy supply chain also have a new option.