Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Throwback Tip #12: Celebrate American Chocolate Week

Our favorite time of year is just around the corner -- American Chocolate Week! Five whole days of chocolatey celebration, Monday, March 19 through Friday, March 23! Here’s a few of our favorite ways to celebrate with consumers!
  • Create a new chocolate-themed secret password each day that customers can only find via your social media; if they use the secret password while visiting your store, they could get a prize plus a coupon towards a future purchase. (Tip: The coupon encourages them to come back again.)
  • Encourage your customers to share the joy of American Chocolate Week with someone else by having a “Buy One, Get One” deal. For example, “Buy One, Get One Free” or “Buy One, Get One Half Off.”
  • See it as an opportunity to educate your customers and have a fun chocolate trivia question each day in store or on your social media pages. Anyone who posts the correct answer could be put into a drawing for a free pound of chocolates.
  • Utilize your relationships with the media (you have those, right?) and pitch an American Chocolate Week story, based on your store, of course. This could definitely create exposure and enrich your customer base.
Have fun celebrating a holiday so sweet we need five days to celebrate! How will you be celebrating American Chocolate Week? Share in the comments below.

Stay connected with RCI through Facebook for more tips and inspiration dedicated to the retail candy maker. Not a member? Click here to learn how RCI can help you build your sweet business.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Tip #257: 5 Sweets that Beat the Heat

Photo by Romolo Yanes

Regardless of any groundhogs’ predictions, the arrival of spring is a month away! This means more outdoor festivals, farmers markets, picnics and parties on the horizon. Don’t let warm weather keep your business from shining at outdoor events by featuring more sturdy treats that aren’t as likely to melt in consumers' hands.



RCI member Hilliard’s Chocolates’ toasted coconut marshmallow is their “tried and true” summer confection. Try it yourself with this recipe from Epicurious.

Kakao Chocolate presents Truffle Shots during RCI's Candy Clinic in 2016.

Truffle Shots

RCI member, Kakao Chocolate shared a creative idea at a past Candy Clinic for a mess-free summery chocolate treat. By piping ganche into compostable cups, Kakao Chocolate’s truffle shots allow them to deliver the same great chocolatey taste their known for at farmers’ markets and other outdoor events without the threat of chocolate melting in customers’ hands.


Brittles & Toffees

As long as they’re not coated in chocolate, you can count on these hard candies to stand tough. This recipe for sweet and smoky brittle from MarthaStewart.com would make the perfect addition to a summer BBQ or pool-party themed display or sold at a farmers’ market.

Not only do many fudge recipes hold up to reasonable heat, no-cook fudge recipes can help you keep the temperature down in your candy kitchen. Check out this tutorial for watermelon fudge that screams summer! Consider inserting popsicle sticks into watermelon wedges to serve as fudge pops.

Chocolate Storybook

Cotton Candy

A staple at any outdoor carnival or boardwalk, these sugary clouds melt in your mouth, but not in your hand. When stored properly, cotton candy can withstand relatively high temperatures and deliver pops of color to your booth or retail shop. If you don’t want to make it yourself, Chocolate Storybook wholesales 31 unique flavors of hand-spun, specialty cotton candy from classic pink vanilla to spicy jalapeno.

Outshine the sun this spring and summer with these 5 delicious treats that can tolerate the heat, without turning into a melty, soupy mess.

Note: The above recommendations are intended for use in reasonable conditions and not guaranteed to withstand extreme heat, such that might occur in shipping during spring and summer months.

Stay connected with RCI through Facebook for more tips and inspiration dedicated to the retail candy maker. Not a member? Click here to learn how RCI can help you build your sweet business.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Tip #256: Make Magic with 3 Easy Unicorn Treats

For being a rare and mystical creature, ironically, unicorns are everywhere these days! Consider incorporating these fun and simple unicorn-inspired treats into your spring and summer merchandising for some added sparkle, sure to inspire impulse purchases for birthdays, baby showers, and just for the fun of it!

Popsugar Food

Unicorn Pops

Transform your favorite sandwich cookies into unicorns with a few easy steps. Click here to view a video tutorial by PopSugar.

RCI Tip: Kimberly Mitchell with Olympian Candies, suggests inserting wooden popsicle sticks into double-stuffed sandwich cookies to make this process easier and more efficient than using lollipop or sucker sticks.

Hostess with the Mostess

Unicorn Horn Treats

All you need is sugar cones, colored confectionery coating and sprinkles to make magic in the form of unicorn horns. Click here to view the recipe from Hostess with the Mostess. 

Lady Behind the Curtain

Unicorn Pretzels

Who doesn’t love chocolate-covered pretzel rods? Add a swirl of caramel, bright colors and a little shimmer and your customers will feel the magic with every bite! Consider making a special batch for samples using the broken pretzel rods. Click here for a step-by-step tutorial.

RCI Tip: Open your bag of pretzels and leave it open the night or day before you plan to coat them. By allowing the pretzels to get slightly stale, you are removing moisture which helps prevent surface cracking in the chocolate.

Group these magical treats together for impact, and get creative with colorful unicorn merchandise and a fun framed unicorn printable (click here to download a free unicorn printable from RCI) to create a whimsical world fit for a unicorn in your candy shop.

Stay connected with RCI through Facebook for more tips and inspiration dedicated to the retail candy maker. Not a member? Click here to learn how RCI can help you build your sweet business.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Tip #255: 5 Mistakes You Could Be Making When Writing a Press Release

When it comes to getting media coverage, candy shops have a major advantage. Candy! And who wouldn’t want to see more candy and chocolate on the news?!

If you aren’t getting any bites from your local media, chances are you haven’t submitted a press release lately. If you have taken the time to carefully craft a press release and send it to your local media, with little or no avail, you are not alone. Keep reading for five common mistakes businesses make when writing press releases, plus tips on how to get the media knocking on your door hungry for more!

1.) You didn’t proofread!
Nothing loses credibility faster than spelling errors and poor grammar. Make sure to read and re-read your press release carefully and, then, ask a friend or two to proofread it for spelling and grammatical errors. Invite them to share constructive feedback on how to make your press release more newsworthy.

2.) Too much hype!
If your press release sounds too much like an infomercial, there’s a good chance it will get rejected. The intent of a press release is to help the media deliver news. If you want to pay for advertising, however, the sales department will gladly accept your money and your hype.

A press release should deliver the facts and explain why your news is relevant in an objective manner. As an overall rule, avoid subjective claims, like “the best,” and other cringe-worthy marketing jargon.

3.) Me, myself and I included
A press release written in first or second person (e.g., I, we, you) is a big no-no! Not only does this make the content seem subjective, it creates a lot more work for journalists to make corrections, making it less likely to get published. Always write press releases in third person (e.g., he, she, it, they). Within a quote is the only place it is acceptable to use first or second person.

4.) What now?
If it is unclear what the reader should do after reading your press release, your press release has unfortunately missed the mark. A successful press release will have one clear call to action. When writing your next press release, be mindful of what you want to accomplish and make that objective clear.

5.) Not too long, not too short.
If your press release is too long, chances are you’ve lost your focus and you’ll lose your reader too. However, if your press release is too short, you could be cutting out vital details.
As a good rule of thumb, try to limit press releases to one page. But before going overboard with the backspace, make sure you’ve addressed the 5 Ws and 1 H (who, what, when, where, why and how).

A well-written press release can offer more return than any paid advertisement. Avoiding these common mistakes will help you write a press release your local media won’t want to pass up.

Stay connected with RCI through Facebook for more tips and inspiration dedicated to the retail candy maker. Not a member? Click here to learn how RCI can help you build your sweet business.