Tuesday, April 28, 2020

3 Sweet Ways to Celebrate May Day

Welcome the arrival of spring by celebrating the sweet traditions of May Day! May 1 has been long recognized by cultures around the world, marking the return of spring and symbolized by bright colors and fresh flowers.

3 Sweet Ways to Celebrate May Day

May Day Baskets
During the 19th and 20th centuries, May Day baskets were made of paper and filled with flowers, candies and other treats to be hung on the doors of friends, neighbors and loved ones on May first. The tradition was to knock on the door, shout “May basket,” and then run (nationaltoday.com)—while we are still practicing social distancing, we can't think of a better way to connect with loved ones and friends.

May Day is a great opportunity to encourage customers to creatively gift your confections. Below is inspiration to create your own sweet May Day baskets. Click here to download a cute, printable May Day Basket template. The blog, Skip to My Lou, has shared loads of simple ideas for making your own May Day baskets.

Photos: Skip To My Lou, Regina's Candies, Oh Yay Studio
Candy Bouquets
May Day is often represented by bouquets of fresh flowers, but with a few supplies you could make paper flowers featuring your confections. If you have individually wrapped candies, like foil-wrapped truffles or caramels or taffy wrapped in wax paper, put your own sweet spin on this Candy Bouquet by It’s Always Autumn. All you need is crepe paper (or tissue paper), a hot glue gun and sucker sticks.
Maypole Dance

Although the origin of the maypole is unknown, this tradition is thought to date back to medieval times when people would dance around trees with bright ribbons as a way to welcome good crops (nationaltoday.com).

Invite your social media followers to submit fun photos or videos of their home crew doing their own Maypole dances for a chance to win free treats in return for the ensuing smiles and laughs.


This age-old tradition of celebrating the new life, nature's bounty and the sweet surprises it can bring may be just what people need to warm their hearts and put a smile on their faces.

Crave more? If you like what you read here, look for the "Subscribe now" box on the right to enter your email address and start receiving weekly tips, like this, delivered straight to your email inbox. RCI's Tip of the Week blog is just one of the many resources we offer to help candy makers refine their craft and build upon their business and marketing practices.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Food Trucks Can Be Sweet

At a time when many retail shops are closed, food trucks not only offer access to consumers, they give businesses the flexibility go to where consumers are. For example, if you have a food truck or branded vehicle, consider visiting local neighborhoods, musical ice-cream-truck style, to sell your products. Other businesses have asked their social media followers to private message their addresses to be added to the delivery route. Share your route on social media and let people know when to expect you. First, check local regulations to ensure this activity is permitted.

For further inspiration, RCI member Anna Dolle Bushnell with Dolle’s Candyland shares how this multi-generational family business turned inspiration from their grandfather’s Kandy Kar into a more modern version of selling their popular treats on-the-go.

Having been in business for over 100 years, my family is fascinated with using bits of our rich past in order to create a unique and personal approach to business today. All of our packaging has traces of our vintage candy boxes, our tried and true recipes remain the same, and we love to use old relics of our business’s history in today’s decision making. In a world where business can get swallowed whole in advertising, online marketing, website management and the like, my brother, Andrew Dolle, and I decided to revive the simple “Kandy Kar” concept that our grandfather had in the 1940s.

The Inspiration
Way back when, our grandfather, Rudolph Dolle, manufactured and sold salt water taffy from his beloved Kandy Kar. Unfortunately, we do not know much more about the car simply because our grandfather had long since passed before my brother and I were born. However, one single picture gave us the inspiration to revitalize the concept of using a mobile unit for advertising, sales and fundraising opportunities.
In 2013, over the course of nine months, our modern-day Kandy Kar came to be. The trailer was custom built and outfitted with everything needed for caramel popcorn manufacturing and sales. A simple gas stove, triple sink and ingredients storage was permanently built in. Custom made shelves were made to attach to the outside windows of the “Kar” in order to provide for added merchandising space when the trailer is parked.

In addition to caramel popcorn, a variety of our best-selling candies is offered for sampling and sales. Our famous salt water taffy, fudge and caramel apples are manufactured and prepackaged in our plant in Ocean City, Maryland to make storage and merchandising in a small area possible. In addition to these items, space is available on board for the manufacturing of two additional products. Dependent upon the event and the projected consumer, we are able to manufacture cinnamon roasted nuts as well as cotton candy. Since these machines require little space and can run off of standard electricity, they are fun options to offer customers of different demographics.

Expanded Reach
Within the past year, we have taken the Kandy Kar to local events, including music festivals, wine and beer fests and seasonal/holiday fairs. It also has been featured at charity events and several weddings that have wanted to feature a local “foodie” flair. Most importantly, Dolle’s Kandy Kar is a wonderful mode of advertising. People unfamiliar with our brand can see, smell and taste our products in a multitude of locations, not just at our brick and mortar shops. We also use these unique advertising opportunities to distribute brochures and company information to inform potential and life-long customers about our family business, our history and our products.

Carrying On Traditions
Although we have no idea what happened to the original Kandy Kar, we enjoy the feeling that we are carrying on a unique family business tradition. We imagine that manufacturing salt water taffy aboard the original Kar must have been a tricky, sticky and hot endeavor. In today’s Kar, we often think what our grandfather would say if he witnessed air conditioning, electricity, and running hot and cold water located on a mobile unit, not to mention payments being swiped on smartphones!
We have certainly enjoyed the reception that we have received at each event the Dolle’s Kandy Kar has been. We love hearing the excitement of fair and event goers when they discover that they can enjoy their favorite Ocean City treats at events around our region, and we love keeping “what is old is now new” traditions alive!

Crave more? If you like what you read here, look for the "Subscribe now" box on the right to enter your email address and start receiving weekly tips, like this, delivered straight to your email inbox. RCI's Tip of the Week blog is just one of the many resources we offer to help candy makers refine their craft and build upon their business and marketing practices.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

The Stealth Marketing Tool That Creates Crazy Loyal Customers

Now that Easter has passed and we look forward to Mother’s Day, we’re sharing a powerful marketing tool from retail experts, Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender of Kizer & Bender. Take time now to make meaningful connections with customers loyal customers now and reap the benefits for years to come.

Years from now someone will spend a gazillion dollars to study American life online and wonder who these people were who desperately need to lose weight, perfect their relationships, look younger, make certain body parts larger than life, buy fake designer goods, and grab those PHDs we so richly deserve but have not earned.


That’s a typical day of email for us. 700 messages: 80% junk that gets deleted ASAP and 20% actual mail.

Snail mail isn’t much better. Our mail box is typically brimming with bills, offers from companies we've never heard of, and lots of “You have already been approved” credit card applications. On a good day there’s mail that arrives in a handwritten envelope.

Guess what we open first?

The telephone isn’t much better. At least ten times a day we answer the phone with a smile only to be greeted by silence and a recorded message that's supposed to encourage us to act immediately. Instead we just hang up the phone.

We all have far too much impersonal communication in our lives. Most of us rarely receive handwritten notes or letters so it’s a big deal when we do. Anything handwritten gets opened first – there are studies that back that up. It’s the personal touch that gets our attention.

We have shared our Impact 8 technique in our very first Retail Adventures seminar and have continued to share it ever since. Know why? Because it can make you the most visible person in your company or the most talked about store in your community. Impact 8 has elevated some retailers to celebrity status and all in the amount of time it takes to have a cup of coffee each morning.

There are two parts to Impact 8. Part I involves a personal telephone call to four customers you spoke to or worked with the day before. This isn’t telemarketing – you are not allowed to talk about business unless the customer brings it up. If you happen to get the customer’s answering machine it’s okay to leave a message – you’ll make their day.

Here’s a sample conversation:

“Hello Mrs. Customer? This is Your Name at _________________.”

After the customer has had a chance to respond, you say:

“I enjoyed speaking with you yesterday and I just wanted to take a moment and thank you for your business. I know that you have lots of choices, and I thank you for choosing my store. If there is ever anything, I can do for you, please do not hesitate to call me anytime.”

Call four customers per day and watch what happens. But that’s only the first part of Impact 8.

To implement Part II, you’re going to need note cards that are blank on the inside. Go for standard greeting card size, not the smaller common “Thank You” card version. You can use fun off the rack cards or create a custom version – it’s up to you. You will also need the names and addresses of four customers you spoke or worked with the day before because these customers are going to get a personal note from you.

There are a few rules:

1. Each note must be handwritten. Remember, handwritten mail is always the first mail to be opened. It’s easy to try and fake it with a service that imitates real handwriting but trust us, people know the difference.

2. You must address the envelope by hand. You’re only doing four a day so this isn't a big deal.

3. You must use real stamps. Weird or interesting stamps – The USPS offers lots to choose from, you can check them out here. You might even consider using different denominations to make your envelope really stand out.

Your note can say something like this:

“Dear Mrs. Customer,

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your business. I know that you have a lot of stores to choose from and I appreciate your choosing _________________. I have enclosed my business card, if there is ever anything, I can do for you please do not hesitate to call me anytime!”

If you implement Impact 8 just four days a week, you will impact 32 customers per week; 128 customers per month; and 1536 customers per year. And if those customers tell just ten others that’s 15,360 people. The word of mouth advertising and good will you will generate is immeasurable.

The cool thing about Impact 8 is that it operates under the radar so it’s rarely noticed by your competition – they’re busy looking at your ads and social media posts. All they will notice is less cars in their parking lot and more cars in yours.

Copyright Kizer & Bender | All rights reserved.

Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender are consumer anthropologists, keynote speakers, authors, consultants who have helped thousands of businesses in the retail and service industries since 1990. Gain more expert advice on what retailers can be doing right from Kizer & Bender’s Retail Adventures podcast and weekly webinar.

Crave more? If you like what you read here, look for the "Subscribe now" box on the right to enter your email address and start receiving weekly tips, like this, delivered straight to your email inbox. RCI's Tip of the Week blog is just one of the many resources we offer to help candy makers refine their craft and build upon their business and marketing practices.