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A Sweet Startup Story

Monday, July 25, 2016 03:33:00 AM UTC

How a women-led Denver startup quickly found sweet success 


Sending candy to a friend or coworker for a special occasion or to a client as a thank you is probably something you've done a time or two.

Sweets are, after all, an American favorite for gift-giving.

But a Denver-based company formed by two local women flipped the idea of sending candy on it its head with the launch of Sugarwish, a company they say puts the gift-receiver, rather than the giver, in the drivers' seat.

"We thought, 'what if we could create that feeling and experience that wasn't about receiving candy, but picking that candy – that kid in a candy store experience' we might have something," said Sugarwish co-founder Elisabeth Vezzani.

The boxes range from $16 to $95, including taxes and shipping.

Launched in November 2012, the business is based on a simple concept: the giver purchases a candy box from the Sugarwish website, Sugarwish sends the receiver an e-card and then the receiver chooses the candy they want in their gift box on the website. The box of candy is then shipped to the receiver, who gets it three to five days later.

"I found a lack of clever gifts that would stand out," Vezzani said, referring to her former job where she worked for a staffing firm. "It seemed like there were the same few options that everyone used. I was always the crazy one looking for that fun idea – that would get them excited and make their day."

Vezzani co-founded Sugarwish with Leslie Lyon, which immediately drew the attention of national media companies. Vezzani and Lyon have appeared on The Today Show twice, and the Sugarwish concept has been featured in magazines like In Style, Women's Health, Cosmopolitan, People, iVillage and more.

"We knew instantly there was interest," Vezzani said. "We just kept getting phenomenal press. It was such a quick, viral growth. We were amazed."

Seeing the potential, Vezzani said they quickly looked to experts for help to scale it — they were one of eight women-led startups selected by Merge Lane, a Boulder-based startup investment accelerator.

Since launching, Sugarwish has grown 2.72 times per year and is up to nine employees who work to fill orders and handle customer service out of its office near I-25 and South Colorado Boulevard.

"For every person that receives a Sugarwish, 15 percent turn around and send one," Vezzani said, saying that's one factor that's led to the company's rapid growth. "Social media has been fantastic for us, too — Instagram in particular. Because they're a fun gift they picked … so many people share their Sugarwish on Instagram when they receive it. That's been a wonderful way for people to find out about us."

And last February, Sugarwish branched out into the corporate world with the launch of a platform designed specifically for companies that want to quickly send customized candy boxed to employees, clients and customers.

"If a hotel wants to thank clients after an event, they can send 'sweet thanks,'" Vezzani said. "They're able to use their own custom cards to use as Sugarwishes. It goes out and the receiver gets to pick exactly what they want, but with that customized packaging."

Vezzani said like the main business, corporate interest in the new program has been "tremendous," with Sugarwish signing up three to five new companies for the program a day "We're really continuing to build out our corporate platform," Vezzani said, adding that will be her main focus in the coming years. "[We want] to make them stand out to their employees, stand out to their clients and give them more options."

• • • Thank you Denver Business Journal for the feature! Read the original story here • • •

Hooray Summer!

Thursday, June 23, 2016 01:03:52 AM UTC

Hooray Summer!

Backpacks traded for beach bags, pantsuits swapped for swim suits, and short dark days turn into long sunny ones. There’s something about the start of the most beloved season of the year, that makes everyone want to grab their flip flops and head for the fun. For many of us…our daily routine doesn't change all that much in the Summer—being that "true summer" (including a real break) is reserved for those too young to know how good they’ve got it. :) But the mood shift is something we all get to enjoy….And enjoy we will.

All That Glitters

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 02:16:39 AM UTC

All That Glitters...

So much fun to be featured in Glitter and Bubbles: "Rad Mom's" piece this May!  Click here to check it out.


Thursday, April 7, 2016 10:06:22 AM UTC

Sweet-tistics 101

(where math and candy collide)


Some businesses love to dig deep into the numbers.  We love it too.  (Candy numbers…that is.) And with 3 years of experience behind us, we feel confident about reporting results that many people might find a bit surprising (...or at least mouth watering.) 

Since the receiver is choosing their favorites—our insider information is coming directly from proverbial "horses mouth”. And we can tell you one thing for sure…...the horse has got a major sweet tooth! :)  

We looked closely at data collected from a random sample of our orders from Q1 (January- March), allowing for certain essential variants and variables (kinda :)).  We wanted to provide the purest--and the sweetest, results possible.  

And what did we find? (drumroll here……..)

Our most popular candy since the start of 2016? Swedish fish.  They take 1st prize by a very, (very) large margin.

When the swedish fish factor was taken out of the equation, we found that the current favorites are as follows:

Women's top pick?  Gummy peach rings.

Men’s favorite? Reeses pieces.

Kids choice? Number 1, top choice was rainbow belts.

(Hmmm.....Is it snack time, yet? :))

Sweet Appreciation

Wednesday, February 24, 2016 07:06:12 AM UTC

Sweet Appreciation.

A little goes a long way.

As it turns out, it doesn’t take all that much to keep employees in their “sweet spot”.  Glassdoor (an online career site) found that 80 % of employees are motivated to work harder when their boss shared a little sugar (a.k.a. showed appreciation for their work).  

In addition, bosses who express gratitude help keep workers from looking elsewhere for their kudos (and their paychecks). 

So what might do the trick...keeping an employee feeling satisfied, with their loyalty intact? A little goes a long way, as findings suggest that it doesn’t take all that much to go from “nah" to “yah".  In fact, 46 % of employees would feel more appreciated if their boss gave them an unexpected treat, including such things as a snack or a "thank you" note (pssst…. Sugarwish is both!).  Sweet! 

Random Act of Sweetness

Friday, February 12, 2016 11:13:39 AM UTC

Acts of Random Kindness  (Mmmm. Good.:))

 Random Act of Kindness: The power to warm a heart or lift a spirit with one thoughtful act...done in the name of “kindness”. 

It’s as profound as it is simple. 

The beauty comes from all that it is not. (Not expected. Not contrived. Not required.) And in this case…size doesn’t matter.:) 

The goodness is in the randomness, and any thoughtful gesture (of any size) counts.  

It doesn’t get much sweeter than that.

Sweet '16

Sunday, January 3, 2016 11:49:15 AM UTC

(Sugar)wishing you a Sweet 16! 

It may not be your original sweet 16 but hopefully this one comes without braces, cheesy DJs, and puffy pink dresses. Although, we wouldn't mind if Jake Ryan made an appearance:).

Hoping it is the best year yet. 



Secret Santa

Sunday, December 13, 2015 05:12:28 PM UTC

Shhhh. It’s a Secret (...Santa :))

Secret Santa (the tradition of giving a little gift to someone... and letting “the guy in the big red suit" take the credit) has become as much of a sign of the season as snowball fights and hot cocoa. 

So what’s all the hype? We think it has to do with the fact that receiving (or giving) a Secret Santa gift is one of the few ways that grown-ups are able to get in on the “magic” of the holidays too.  

Secret Santa’s have a way of making everyone feel included and invited to join in on the fun this time of year ( only something sent from the North Pole and wrapped by elves can do.) Makes us wanna send one right now.  


Corporate Gifts

Monday, November 2, 2015 05:18:08 PM UTC

The Next Generation of Corporate Gifts.

(How to bring a whole lot more to the table.)

A great gift can lead to new business, greater employee satisfaction, stronger relationships and more.  Gifting is no longer a once a year, holiday time acknowledgement.  Gifts can be used for anything from business branding and incentivizing employees, to building closer relationships with clients and partners.


Below are a few Corporate Gifting Guidelines to help you “bring more to the table”.


1) Your gift is a reflection of you.

Everyone wants to make a great first impression.  And we’ve found that packaging is as important, to most people, as what’s inside.  The initial impression will stay with them long after the gifts is gone, so be sure your gift is “dressed to impress”.


2) Timing is everything.  

If you are going to send a gesture of thanks, kudos or congratulations, it should be sent right away. Congratulations that comes a week or two after they got their big “win" will feel like an afterthought.  Gifts that can be sent instantly (when you realize that you need to acknowledge “that special person” --today!!), can make you look like you are totally on the ball—even when you‘re totally not.


3) Never underestimate the power of a good experience.

The more fun you can make the gift for the receiver, the more memorable, and appreciated, it will be.  The experience that the gift provides is as important as the gift (or, dare we say, even more important).    What is said about people-- can also be said for gifting. Be fun, and rest assured, you will be remembered. :)


4) Know your customer—or at least make them feel like you do.  

They key to a great gift is when your receiver thinks “Wow! She really knows me.”  If they think you know what they want, or more importantly, If they think you care what they want—it can make all the difference. The more you can customize a gift (or better yet, let them customize it so they get exactly what they like) the more of a perfect fit, and a better gift it will be.


#corporategifts #giftguide 

It's Boo time!

Friday, October 9, 2015 04:23:46 AM UTC

It’s Boo time!                                                                                                                                                                              

Spreading Halloween cheer, one sweet surprise at a time. Who would have guessed that the spookiest holiday of the year would inspire so much sweetness? Boo-ing is a tradition of giving a “little something” (often anonymously) just to lift another’s “spirits”. It’s done everywhere, from small towns to big cities, and is the perfect way to stir up the excitement of the season. Boo-ing is gift giving at its finest---done with the sole purpose of spreading a little “happy” to someone else. And it’s contagious.  As soon as you’ve been Boo’d there is this “hot potato” like feeling that makes you want to Boo someone too. Boo given. Boo received. Boo given. Boo received. And so it goes. Ready? Set? Get them before they get you. :)  Send one now with our new Boo eCard!


#itssugarwishtime #sendavirtualboo

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