Decades ago inside a corner store, nine-year-old Chris Mears stealthily slipped a piece of candy into the pocket of his jeans and roller-bladed his way to the door. He was stopped, did his time and reformed his ways, but his sincere love of chocolate still remains.
Now a certified grown-up with a penchant for unwrapping candy bars mid-afternoon, Mears wanted to find a way to make his guilty pleasures less incriminating.
“Whenever I shopped at Whole Foods, my only options were chocolate bars or peanut butter cups – both of which I love, by the way,” Mears says. “I became snotty over chocolate bars as I got older, so I thought: Why can’t I be snotty over a candy-coated chocolate with some unique inclusions?”
And so in April 2015, Little Secrets was born. A candy brand that sources the best ingredients, Boulder, Colo.-based Little Secrets says “nahhh” to artificial anythings and understands hiding a bag of the company’s candy-coated chocolates in your top desk drawer.
Little Secrets doesn’t pretend to be good at everything — or even most things. But what they lack in geography bowl trophies they make up for by being good at making candy-coated chocolate. The first shipment went out in April 2015 and the candies are available at many major and specialty retailers.
Little Secrets uses Fair Trade dark chocolate and creates premium blends such as Toasted Coconut and Sea Salted Peanut. The candies are made without any artificial ingredients, flavors or colors because they believe words “delicious” and “natural” can and should go together.
And like any good little secret, sharing is always optional.
If you were stranded on a deserted island with only one kind of candy, what would it be?
Clearly I’m biased here, but I’d have to go with our Sea Salted Peanut. I could snack on them all day!
What’s the last cool thing you saw online?
Watching the skydiver jump from 25,000 feet up without a parachute blew my mind. I can’t imagine what was going through his head!
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I was your standard boy who thought he could be a professional athlete and somehow also thought it was a remotely possible goal — yeah, far from it!
What issues concern you most about the confectionery industry and why?
Like most other categories, I believe the Millennial mom consumers are looking for clean ingredients and products that give them a “permissible” indulgence. I think we are getting closer, but we still have a far way to go.
What’s the last book you’ve read?
I’m in the middle of reading Paul & Me about A.E. Hotchner’s 52-year friendship with Paul Newman. Such a cool guy!
What is your pet peeve?
People who don’t park in the designated parking spot lines in order to “protect” their precious car. That, and slow drivers in the left lane on a highway!
If given the chance to choose anyone, whom would you like to collaborate with? Why?
Elon Musk, because he’s a badass entrepreneur.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Be persistent. When knowledge and ability aren’t enough, be persistent. (I find myself in this position quite often).
What excites you most about your job?
I love looking at people’s faces when they try our candy for the first time and say “Oh, wow!” No better feeling than to give someone joy and surprise.