Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Throwback Tip #11: Make Less Mess with Moulds



Is shaking out excess chocolate from your moulds leaving your work place a mess? Sure, you have parchment paper to catch the chocolate as it falls, but it probably still lands in other undesired places. Dennis Witzel with Linnea's Candy Supplies says a small or medium plastic storage bin can take care of this problem for less than $10. Simply set the tub on your work table and set your mould upside down on edges of the tub, so gravity can drain the chocolate. Be sure the bin has a wide enough opening at the top allowing your mould to easily fit into it. When you are ready to shake the excess chocolate from your mould, place the mould into the tub so as you shake it, all of the chocolate that flies out will land in the tub—not on you, the floor or the table.      

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Use this Trendy Color to Stand Out



Looking for inspiration to launch a new product or add a fresh a new look in your retail shop? Look no further than Pantone’s Color of the Year, Ultra Violet. 

Said to evoke originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking, shades of Ultra Violet are increasingly used in packaging and graphic design by forward-looking brands seeking to stand out, according to The Pantone Color Institute.

 Incorporate Shades of Violet into Products and Merchandising

Since it was first introduced in December, ultra violet has been the inspiration for apparel, cosmetic and home decor brands as well as well-known personalities and artists. Let ultra violet light the way for your product development efforts and even when ordering gift items and other merchandise for your retail shop.

Photos: Disco Strawberries, Spring Flower Lollipops by Sprinkle Bakes
and Blackberry Marshmallows by The Road to Honey
Create cosmic strawberries with metallic violet luster dust or take a more literal approach by incorporating edible violets into your candies, like Sprinkle Bakes (click here for easy lollipop tutorial). For a fresh spin on homemade marshmallows, add blackberry puree to get a natural violet hue (check out recipe).

Party City

Make an Impact with an Ultra Violet Candy Buffet

For maximum impact in your store, group together your favorite ultra violet (and other shades of purple) treats in a candy buffet. Consider adding violet lollipops, foil-wrapped chocolates, Jordan almonds, taffy and jelly beans to create more of a variety.

Gain inspiration from brands like Sephora and Gap for their use of
the color of the year in past product promotions. Images: xrite and Selectism

Create a Color of the Year Promotion

Pantone is recognized globally as the leading source of color information and trend forecasts. If you’re not already familiar with Pantone, there’s a good chance consumers in your community are, especially if your retail shop is near a university. According to an article published on NYTimes.com, “Pantone [has] tremendous influence over the visible elements of the global economy — the parts of it that are designed, manufactured and purchased.”

December is pretty much the Super Bowl for Pantone, after the Color of the Year is officially announced. You can expect consumer products in industries spanning from fashion to home d├ęcor, packaging and beauty products to jump on the bandwagon, why not the candy industry? If this seems like a good fit for your business, now may be a good time to identify these consumers.

Pantone’s color of the year could just be the spark of inspiration you need for a new product launch or fresh merchandising plan. Have you ever used Pantone’s color of the year as inspiration in your business? If so, please 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, May 8, 2018

Throwback Tip #9: Use Google Alerts



Whether you like it or not, people are talking about your business online. Be sure you’re aware of any online coverage your business receives by setting up Google Alerts. Using this free tool, you will be alerted via email when your business name or the name of a competitor shows up in Google results.

Creating Google Alerts is simple and you don’t have to have a Google account to use this free tool. Go to google.com/alerts to get started. In the search query field, enter the term(s) of which you wish to receive notifications. For the purposes discussed here, enter your business name in this field. You must create one alert at a time, but you can create multiple alerts (e.g., one for your business name and one for your signature product’s name).

To customize the delivery of your alerts, select “show options” before creating your alert. Here you will be able to select your preferences when it comes to the frequency of your notifications and the sources for alerts (e.g., news, blogs, videos and more). For greater accuracy, you may choose to limit alerts to only best results.

Now you can be in the know when your business is being talked about online!

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, May 1, 2018

Tip #264: Celebrate Christmas in July


Do stagnant summer sales leave you longing for Christmas (well, maybe, minus the crazy schedule)? If so, you’re not alone. Blame it on the heat, summer vacations and the lack of major holidays, if you’re in the retail industry it’s no surprise summer is likely going to be a slow season (unless your business is in a tourism location).

A summertime spin on Christmas, could be a great opportunity for your business to heat things up this summer! Get the most out of your Christmas in July promotions by meeting these three objectives.

Photos: Dallas News
STAND OUT & INCREASE SALES
You wouldn’t expect to hear Christmas carols or see Santa posing for photos in board shorts and a Hawaiian shirt in the peak of summer. Make your business stand out by hosting a Christmas party in July, complete with a sampling of your favorite Christmas treats, giveaways, live music and Santa in his vacation attire.

GENERATE NEW CUSTOMERS
A study published by Adobe Digital shows repeat customers spend 25% more per transaction during the holiday rush, compared to a new customer who spends only 15% more during the holiday season.To help convert new customers into return customers, CaffeineInteractive.com suggests offering those who make a purchase during your Christmas in July promotion, a discount on future purchases between Black Friday and New Year’s Day. Consider keeping a separate email list for these customers, to send them a coupon just before Black Friday.

REWARD LOYAL CUSTOMERS
Celebrate loyal customers by throwing a Christmas-themed customer appreciation party or offering a free gift for shopping in July. Shopkeep recommends inviting loyal customers to a flash sale in their honor and offering additional incentives for bringing a friend. Spread the word by sending invitations with details via email or snail mail.

Creating memorable shopping experiences for new and return customers may help pad more than just your summer sales. Kathy Allen of the National Retail Federation told USA Today, “When the holiday season does come, maybe that person who had a wonderful experience shopping in July remembers to come back, and will spend their holiday dollars there, or their Halloween dollars or their birthday dollars.” Do you celebrate Christmas in July? If so, share your ideas 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.