July 11, 2012
Sweet spot: The sugar rush of Dylan’s Candy Bar
Retro lollipops and salt-water taffy have always had a thing for crazy swirls of color, just like Los Angeles. Now one big business is about to serve the City of Angels a whopping rainbow of 7,500 treats from around the world. New York-based Dylan’s Candy Bar, the namesake brainchild of Jewish billionaire fashion mogul Ralph Lauren’s daughter, Dylan, plans to unveil its first local branch in late August.
“We opened our first store 10 years ago in New York City, fulfilling a childhood dream of mine to create the largest, most magical candy store,” said Dylan Lauren, founder and CEO. “Today, our stores have attracted so many fans of all ages and nationalities — it has truly been beyond my sweetest dreams. Now I’m thrilled to bring my love of color, design and the joy of candy from coast to coast.”
Spanning 1,200 square feet in the former Bath & Body Works space at the Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax is where you’ll soon find this branch of the world’s largest candy emporium. Candy is a $30 billion-plus industry, and it has long been on the mind of this heir to the Lauren fashion throne. As a girl, she owned a pair of bunnies that she named Chocolate and Vanilla.
An art history graduate of Duke University, Lauren founded the company at age 26 in 2001 with an undisclosed amount of her own funds and “a lot” of financial support from her family. Her partner at the time was Jeff Rubin, a veteran of F.A.O. Schwarz, who left the company in 2004. Dylan’s is already a mega-success. The original location, 15,000-square-feet positioned across from Bloomingdale’s on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, is a tourist destination in its own right, complete with its own cafe and bar and an extensive Web site.
In her 2010 book, “Dylan’s Candy Bar: Unwrap Your Sweet Life” (Clarkson Potter), Lauren further outlines her love of fashion, art and pop (candy) culture. In addition to the New York flagship, a mini store operates in East Hampton, and a store and cafe are up and running in Houston’s Galleria Mall. Miami is planned for winter 2012. Although Lauren has not yet announced its official start of business, the first satellite shop on the West Coast is meanwhile hiring for a variety of positions and is accepting resumes.
You can practically hear the cash register singing. The L.A. store plans to offer a personal shopper for customized shopping experiences, one-of-a-kind gift baskets and an expert “Celebrations Team” to sweeten events by bringing the whimsical store experience to private homes and other venues.
Although doors were still closed as this story went to press, the local shop is clearly destined to reinforce the mothership’s strong branding. And that means Los Angeles is in for a Willy Wonka-sized treat. Dylan’s Candy Bar is known for offering nearly every kind of candy from childhood and beyond. Like a version of the “Candy Land” board game brought to life, there are snack bar nostalgic brands like Leaf’s Astro Pops and bulk candies, whose low price points are practically recession proof. There are novelty items, including massive tins of edible candy trash. Fresh, warm snacks are available at the chocolate fondue fountain for a small cost per dipped marshmallow, pretzel stick or graham cracker. And as no surprise to true candy aficionados, much of the stuff is kosher certified: Lemonheads, Twizzlers, Jelly Belly jellybeans, signature Dylan chocolate bars and much more.
The New York store is as much a treat for the eyes as the mouth. At every turn, there is more to feast on: Giant pop art-style installations of oversized candy adorn the walls, and furniture molded to look like massive colorful strips of dots form tables serving up bountiful gifts, including a brilliantly colored gowned Dylan Barbie doll and Dylan’s own book. A massive wall display features autographed Lucite boxes signed by Madonna and other celebrities revealing their favorite candies. Massive pillows with candy logos, such as Bubble Yum and other brands, perch over a life-size bathtub of bright bubble gum balls, gifts of all kinds, apparel and a bevy of logo merchandise. Lauren has apparently thought of almost everything. Even the portrait of the queen of this fantastic realm is rendered in Jelly Belly jellybeans.
For a mug that reads Candy Girl, your own custom blend of Jelly Bellys or M&Ms, or satisfying cravings for a chocolate smoke (sans nicotine), this is the place.
For more information, visit dylanscandybar.com.
Lisa Alcalay Klug is the author of “Cool Jew: The Ultimate Guide for Every Member of the Tribe.” Her new book, “Hot Mamalah: The Ultimate Guide for Every Woman of the Tribe,” debuts in October. Klug is online at cooljewbook.com.