Say hello to Rosie O’Neill! She is one of the co-founders of Sugarfina, which is a luxury candy boutique for grown-ups that imports the finest candy from all around the world and packages them with love.
In case you missed it, Sanrio and Sugarfina partnered up last month to create Sanrio ❤ Sugarfina – an adorable collection of Candy Bento Boxes® and Candy Cubes® inspired by Hello Kitty and her Sanrio friends.
We recently had a chance to chat with Rosie to ask her all about her sweet life as a confectionery entrepreneur!
What inspired you to create Sugarfina?
I’ve always loved candy, so Josh (my now-fiancé and co-founder) took me to see the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on our third date. After the movie, we started talking about this idea of a “candy store for grown ups.” After all, why should kids have all the fun? We dreamed of a beautiful artisan candy boutique full of delicious sweets that no one had ever seen or tasted before. In the beginning, it was just a hobby but it took off really fast. I feel so lucky I get to work every day with the one I love. 😊
What does your typical workday look like?
I oversee all the creative, marketing and sales, so basically I get to do all the fun stuff! Every day is different but it includes things like brainstorming new candy and packaging ideas; meeting with our talented design team to review creative projects like website designs, photo shoots and store concepts; working with our amazing marketing team on special events, in-store promotions and media campaigns; and just generally working to keep everyone on the same page and marching toward the same goals every day. I travel a lot too, we’re constantly scouring the globe in search of the next great candy. In the next two weeks I’m going to Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Dubai, Kuwait and Spain! I have a lot of frequent flyer miles. 😊
We always have to ask, which Sanrio characters are your favorite?
As a little girl, it was Hello Kitty and Keroppi. But now my favorite character is Gudetama. I relate to him on so many levels.
How long have you been a Sanrio fan?
As long as I can remember! I had so many Hello Kitty and Keroppi accessories as a little girl… pencil cases, erasers, stickers, you name it. Going into the Sanrio store was always dangerous for my mom because I’d put everything in my shopping basket and cry if I couldn’t have it all.
How did the Sanrio❤ Sugarfina collection come about?
One of my friends from Barbie, my former job, starting working at Sanrio. We reconnected and thought it would be so much fun to work together on a Sanrio ❤ Sugarfina project. We put our design teams together and started brainstorming ideas… it was one of the most fun meetings we’ve ever had! It all came together really quickly and easily, and once we started getting in the product and packaging samples, we were all dying from the cuteness.
What inspired your candy choices for each of the different characters?
We wanted to create candies that best match each character’s personality and iconic style. With Hello Kitty, creating a red bow-shaped gummy was a must.
And then we made another
Hello Kitty gummy shaped like her face and flavored like her favorite food,
mama’s fresh apple pie.
Chococat’s round chocolate caramels look just like his cute little nose.
And of course we HAD to make a gummy egg for Gudetama. It’s flavored like orange juice, since Gudetama basically only gets out of bed for brunch.
Which candy from the
collection is your favorite?
It’s so hard to choose! My favorite gummy is the Hello Kitty Faces since they’re flavored like her mama’s fresh apple pie. My mom makes an amazing apple pie too, so we’re technically sisters now, right? 😉
And Badtz-Maru’s Mischievous Pops are my favorite chocolate because of the fun popping candy inside… it’s yummy and chocolatey at first bite and then a few seconds later you get a big burst of sparkle and pop.
Do you have any advice for others entrepreneurs that are just starting out?
Try to choose a business that combines all of your favorite things. I love delicious candy and beautiful packaging, so work basically feels like a hobby. I can have good days and hard days, but I always go back to the fact that our product makes people happy, and that makes me feel really great.
Finally, at the end of the day, what do you do for fun?
I love to bake… I think I’ve perfected the chocolate chip cookie. We use a really high-quality chocolate from Paris in our Sugarfina chocolate bars, so I use that same chocolate in the cookies. I add a tiny sprinkling of sea salt and bake at a low temperature for a longer time, which makes the perfect cookie that’s crispy on the edges and gooey in the middle. As you can tell, I’m a bit of an obsessive perfectionist with my desserts!