In this episode of Women in Retail Talks, Women in Retail Leadership Circle Senior Editor Marie Albiges interviews Emily Harpel, founder and owner of Art of Sucre, a gourmet cotton candy company that offers cart service and pre-spun favors. Listen in as Harpel discusses the inspiration behind founding the company (1:00), her career journey (3:18), and her experiences of not being taken seriously as a young, female business owner (5:24). She shares how she responds now when she’s doubted (7:57), how Art of Sucre is differentiating itself in the market (9:15), and how she uses TikTok and other social media platforms to grow the business (11:30).

Harpel discusses how Art of Sucre’s popularity on social media has increased its work with corporate partners (14:06), her advice to other women entrepreneurs looking to start marketing on TikTok (15:55), and one bad habit she’s broken as a business owner (18:04). Lastly, she shares advice for other women launching a new business (19:29), what’s next for Art of Sucre (21:57), and what she does to recharge (22:54).

Art of Sucre founder Emily Harpel was inspired while wedding planning to give a traditional childhood treat a chic upgrade. In 2016, Emily purchased her first cotton candy machine and began spinning fresh cones at events with the creative twist of unique flavors such as Champagne, Orange Bourbon, and Watermelon. Over the years, Art of Sucre has spun for every type of event from weddings, birthday parties, corporate gatherings, professional sporting events, and for artists like Elton John and Arianna Grande.

During the global pandemic, Emily decided to transition Art of Sucre from events to pre-packaged cotton candy to be sold through an e-commerce platform. The company experienced tremendous growth thanks to several viral TikTok videos, and now has over 1.2 million followers. This led to the development of new products such as cotton candy glitter bombs, which are dropped into clear and bubbly drinks adding sparkle and a touch of sweetness to your favorite cocktails. Art of Sucre is on a mission to spread a little bit of extra sweetness because Emily firmly believes it’s the small things that bring the most joy.

Date: November 16, 2021

Credits: Emily Harpel

Duration: 24:34