Piper Cochrane wanted to open a candy store when she was a little girl, but it was actually her 5-year old daughter, Ginger, who pushed her to do so years later. Now the mother daughter duo makes candies that are organic, kosher, vegan, gelatin-free, gluten-free, dairy free, soy free, non-GMO...the list goes on! Check out Organic Candy Factory!
What is the story behind Organic Candy Factory?
Right before her 6th birthday, Ginger told me she wanted to open up a candy store. Instead of turning down her idea, I wanted to empower her and let her know that she can do anything she wants if she sets her mind to it. I thought it was going to be a temporary project, but then orders started pouring in!
How did you and Ginger choose the company name?
Our name "Organic Candy Factory" was inspired by Ginger's favorite movie, Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Why make organic candy?
Refined sugar is about 80 on the glycemic index and full of chemicals and bleach. To give sugar a glistening white color, a lot of minerals and vitamins found in sugarcane have to be taken out. On the other hand, organic sugar is only 47 on the glycemic index. I didn't want to feed children unhealthy sugar and dyes, so we chose to make organic candies instead.
I heard you guys were also the first and only makers of organic kosher candies in the world. How did that happen?
We were approached by The Coffee Bean and they wanted to carry our gummy bears. However, in order to do so, our candies had to be kosher, since their founders are Jewish. Being kosher certified meant getting approval from a rabbi that we use real ingredients with no traces of GMOs or chemicals.
How involved is Ginger with the business?
Ginger is 12 now and she comes with me to all the food events. On weekends, she sells candies at the farmers' markets and 100% of the proceeds she makes is donated to foundations for endangered animals, like snow leopards and manatees.
How do you make your products?
I have a facility that uses my recipe to make our gummy bears and chocolate bars. Whenever we come up with new flavors, Ginger invites 6 of her best friends, who we called "The Board", to come over for taste testing. We're planning to launch tangerine, pink grapefruit and apple flavored gummy bears very soon!
Can you tell us more about your ingredients?
The flavors of our candies all come from real fruits. The red, orange and peach colors that you see on our gummy bears are derived from black carrots and annatto, a natural food coloring from the seeds of achiote trees. We don't use dyes because they are very toxic; a lot of common children allergies are attributed to unnatural blue and green dyes. We don't use gelatin either; we use citrus rinds to make pectin. Also, we source organic chocolate for our bars from Ecuador.
What do the words "artisanal", "small batch" and "handcrafted" mean to you? How does it apply to your products?
We are artisanal because Ginger and I came up with the ingredients, the flavors and the shapes. Our brand reflects our humor, our personalities and our hearts. (Check out their witty posts on Instagram!)
What are your business values?
We love that our candies offer an alternative for better health and that children who are dye-, gelatin-, gluten-intolerant can enjoy them. In addition, we are not polluting the planet making them because we use only natural ingredients.
What is your proudest moment since starting Organic Candy Factory?
My proudest moment was when Adam Tabachnikoff, the SVP of Global Marketing at The Coffee Bean, wanted to partner with us. He told me that meeting Ginger at the farmer's market and seeing how knowledgeable and poised she was what convinced him.