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Sugarwish: Sweet treats for the holidays

A trip to the candy store has gone digital


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As technology transforms even the simplest transactions, even a nostalgic trip to the candy story to dig through the treasure hunt of goodies has been digitized – making it all the more convenient for office gift swaps. That’s where Sugarwish comes in.

Denverites Leslie Lyon and Elisabeth Vezzani launched the concept in November 2013 with the belief that a hassle-free shopping and shipping business model could result in more personalized gift-giving.

“I recall the process of picking out the candy being even better than the candy itself,” Lyon says. “I wanted to capture that feeling.”

That’s why the businesswomen designed their platform to give the recipient of a Sugarwish an interactive experience.

“Simplicity was key,” Lyon says, stating that customers ranging from kids to grandparents have been able to operate the platform with ease.

 A Sugarwish eCard and gift starts at $16.50, guiding receivers to the virtual candy store where they can select from more than 80 treats ranging from classic hard and gummy candies to craft chocolates, savory snacks, coffees and teas. The sweets are hand-packaged in a robin’s egg blue box and tied with a red ribbon and shipped directly with no additional charge.

Bearing in mind the prevalence of corporate gift giving, Sugarwish allows companies to customize a landing page, logo, messaging, emails and skip check out, for those that frequently seek to send a little sweetness. The company’s corporate clients range from GE to Google to Gilt Groupe.

Last spring, the two founders were accepted into Boulder’s woman-focused startup investment accelerator, MergeLane. There they met their now-chief financial officer, Jason Kiefer, who is also the CEO and co-founder of Pixoto.

According to Vezzani, one-third of the company’s business last year occurred in December, thanks to the spread of sugary cheer. “It’s a 24-hour a day balancing act,” she says, of both the product side of the business and the technology side.

“We’ve never had a (gift) return,” Vezzani says. “We’ve had a handful of complaints, like, ‘I thought the chocolate rocks would be smaller than they were.’ An instance like that presents an opportunity for us to exceed expectations, and we sent her a new candy package.”                                  

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Gigi Sukin

Gigi Sukin is digital editor at ColoradoBiz. She can be reached at gsukin@cobizmag.com.

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