Dylan Lauren's Sweet Life as the CEO of Dylan's Candy Bar
The part-time Bedford resident gives Westchester Magazine a peak into her confectionary empire.
Photo by Michael Dweck
Part-time Bedford resident Dylan Lauren is more than simply the daughter of fashion icon Ralph Lauren. She is also a dynamic entrepreneur who presides over her own confectionary empire, Dylan’s Candy Bar. Lauren sat down with WM in advance of her January 12 book-signing event at Bedford Playhouse to discuss her company, her coffee-table book, and her life as a busy mom.
Tell us about the process of creating candy for Dylan’s Candy Bar.
DL: As a candy lover and a lover of color, and coming from a fashion-and-art background, to me, candy is art. Whether I was eating it or putting it on my shelf because it looked pretty, I would look at candies and be like: That chocolate bar could be so much more delicious-looking if there could be a photograph of it on the wrapping or if the foil was a different color.
With 26 locations worldwide, Dylan’s Candy Bar seems to have exploded. Did you envision this kind of success?
I knew there was a sort of void in the world of fun: entertaining candy stores that celebrate not just candy but a sweet existence. I knew when we opened our first flagship, in 2001 [in NYC], that people in other cities were like, “We want one, we want one!”
What’s your favorite candy that you carry?
It changes daily. We have a new line — the “Treat Yourself” indulge mindfully line. The collection is vegan, nut-free, dairy-free, more health-conscious gummy candies. We sell them in Whole Foods. I’ve been obsessed with the zoo-animal-shaped gummies.
What was the inspiration for writing your book, Dylan’s Candy Bar: Unwrap Your Sweet Life?
Candy is so beautiful to look at, so I wanted a coffee-table-size book that showed that. A lot of the photographs are close-ups of the candy, as if it was art, because I love the colors on a whirly pop or the sparkles of rock candy. I find that people are very happy looking at this book, from kids to adults, because it’s a bright, happy art book. It also gives ideas for crafts and for entertaining and decorating.
Photo courtesy of Dylan's Candy Bar
How do you balance work with parenting two 4-year-olds? Do they help with the taste-testing?
It’s hard. I definitely try to make sure I have quality time with them. I think they love that I have a candy store. I’ve just started letting them have a little something. They like everything. I always say, “When you wake up, think of some ideas for me.” And they’ll think of some outrageous ideas, but some of their ideas are great.
Tell us about your foundation, Dylan’s Candy BarN.
We do a lot of [animal] adoption events at our stores, because we find that candy, people, and animals tie together. What’s better than candy and a cute puppy? Customers can donate to Dylan’s Candy BarN, and we will give that money to [animal] shelters we’ve been working with.
Did your dad give you any advice before you launched Dylan’s Candy Bar?
He said, “It makes total sense. You love candy, so you should do what you love, and you’ll do well.” We’re trying to build a lifestyle brand, using candy like he did the tie. It’s not just about eating candy: There’s the book, nonedible products — clothing, spa and hair products, jewelry — parties; we have candy cocktails, so it’s every way to live with candy. He understood it wasn’t just a simple candy store. The big stores are like 15,000 square feet and more like candy museums. He got that. He was very much a fan of “Go big.”
Any places in Westchester you like to frequent?
I go to Bedford 234 a lot. I like the Reading Room in Katonah. We love the DeCicco’s supermarket in Katonah. I think it’s really fun. And Peppino’s in Katonah.
Are there plans for a Dylan’s Candy Bar in Westchester in the future?
That’s a good question. I think a lot of people like to come into the city to go to the flagship, whether it’s the Union Square or the Upper East Side one, so I don’t know if we’d do one in Westchester, but maybe.