With Valentine’s Day upon us, it would seem only natural to catch up with Rosie O’Neill, the sugar-loving co-founder of California-based luxury candy boutique, Sugarfina. With a whopping eight shops sprinkled across the country (and store décor that’s equally as appetizing as the gourmet treats it houses) you could say life is pretty sweet for this savvy businesswoman who built her candy kingdom from the ground up. We sit down with O’Neill at her chic boutique in Beverly Hills and chat Sundays, champagne gummies, and the love story that started it all…
Describe your typical Sunday.
If I’m not traveling, I love to do a long yoga class or spin class on Sunday mornings (sometimes both, if I’m feeling indulgent). I typically use Sundays to shoot a week’s worth of Instagram photos… it’s the one time each week when I can have a long, focused burst of creativity.
Sugarfina has a sweet story behind it. Can you tell us how you and your business partner & fiancé Josh met?
Josh and I met on Match.com – I contacted him! – and it was love at first sight. On our third date, he took me to an outdoor summer screening of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the original one) and after the movie, we couldn’t stop talking… why aren’t there candy stores for grown-ups? We couldn’t find anything like the dream candy boutique we imagined, so we decided to create it. We started Sugarfina as a hobby but it quickly took off and became our full-time job.
How did you come up with the idea to use Dom Pérignon Vintage Champagne for your signature Champagne Bears?
If you’re going to have champagne gummy bears, why not make them with the fanciest champagne? We use a bottle of Dom Pérignon in every batch and they’re exclusively available at Sugarfina. There’s something really fun about combining a childhood favorite, gummy bears, with a grown-up indulgence, fancy champagne.
What does it take for a candy to pass the Sugarfina test?
We’ve personally taste-tested over 3000 candies to come up with the 125 that we feature in our boutiques. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it! Just like how sommeliers explore and taste various aspects of a wine, we think of ourselves as candy sommeliers. We’re looking at a wide variety of factors – the appearance (it has to be beautiful), the aroma (try smelling our Peach Bellini… yum!), the initial taste, the mouthfeel, the aftertaste – everything really adds up to create a beautiful sensory experience.
And we love candies that have a story, like our Raindrops & Roses from this tiny family-owned workshop in Italy. They’re made with fresh roses that are harvested by nuns at a nearby convent, and they’re the most exquisite, delicate, gorgeous little jewels you’ve ever seen. You can’t find them anywhere outside of Italy, and they’re one of the most magical candies I’ve ever tasted.
What are some lessons that you have learned while making your business become what it is today?
I can narrow it down to three d’s: differentiation, details and determination. Differentiation is really important when launching a new brand. We’ve created something that’s totally different from any other candy shop and that helps us instantly stand apart. Whenever we do something, the first question we ask is “how can we do this differently than anyone else?”
Details are what make the brand special and keep people coming back. Whether it’s a hand-written note in every online order, or a beautifully packaged gift that you feel proud to give, all of those little details matter and they add up to something much bigger.
And finally, determination is critical. Building a business is really hard and takes a competitive, tenacious spirit. Every obstacle and challenge can be turned into an opportunity, but only if you have the determination to make it happen. Some days you might not be feeling it, but you can always “fake it till you make it.”
You are free for a Sunday afternoon. What brunch spots would you recommend in Los Angeles?
My current favorites are Salt’s Cure (their orange-zest-infused morning bun is to die for) and Gracias Madre, which has a really fun selection of cocktails and snacks.
Your store designs are unlike any other candy shop out there. What was your design inspiration for the stores?
Sugarfina is what my house would look like if I didn’t live with a guy! We wanted the stores to be elegant and modern, with a bright white interior and a minimalist décor that allows the candy and packaging to really shine. It’s more like a jewelry store than a candy store, and we designed it to be an Instagram paradise, from the bright white lighting that requires no filters, cute quotes on the wall, and pretty paper flower art that makes for the perfect selfie backdrop.
Any special plans for Valentine’s Day?
Sleep! Valentine’s Day is one of our biggest holidays, but it gets compressed into only a couple weeks because most guys forget to shop until the last minute. It’s always a totally insane time. Josh and I like to celebrate the day after Valentine’s Day, which is when we finally get a little bit of rest.
What is your absolute favorite candy?
That’s like asking me to pick a favorite child! I used to be a dark chocolate person, but now I’m 100% obsessed with gummies. My current fave is Peach Bellini, an all-natural peach gummy with a juicy peach center, dusted in tart sugar crystals. It’s sweet and sour heaven.
You recently opened a boutique in El Segundo and we hear there are many more on the way! What else do you hope 2016 will have in store for you?
2016 will be a big year for us, we’ll be opening new stores in markets like Miami, Chicago and D.C., and you’ll start to see more Sugarfina shop-in-shops too. We recently expanded into Canada in partnership with Nordstrom, and I’m very excited about the opportunity to launch Sugarfina around the world. We’d love to have shops in London, Tokyo, Hong Kong… the world is such a big place and we’re just getting started.
More Sunday Girls
Owners of destination floral design studio – Studio Mondine
San Francisco-based floral design shop Studio Mondine takes a unique approach to flower arrangements, combining lush, overgrown English garden style with precise, spiritual Japanese ikebana style in their work. We caught up with founders at their studio and chatted about their passion driven careers, and how they do it in style.
CEO of Erth Jewelry / Model
This Mother’s Day, we’ve partnered with Australian supermodel, jewelry designer, and boss mama Nicole Trunfio to be our Joie Sunday Girl! With two babies, a rockstar husband, and a bustling career, Nicole exemplifies motherhood goals. Read along as she tells us her secrets for mastering the perfect work-life balance in style.
Founder & Creative Director at Cander Paris
Inspired by candid moments, and on a quest for genuine expression, Elizabeth Minett diverged from the fashion industry to become one of the youngest female entrepreneurs in luxury home scents. This month, we caught up with the Cander Paris founder to chat all things career, family, travel, and of course, style.
From her home to her studio and personal style, Oakland based Woodworker Aleksandra Zee lives a lifestyle of beautifully curated simplicity. Pulling inspiration from nature and calming hues, Aleksandra walks us through what stimulates her when it comes to career, style and travel.
Founder of Erin Off Duty
It’s that time of year, where Fall Collections make their runway debut at Fashion Week, and who better to get us prepped than street style muse Geraldine Boublil of @erinoffduty. Geraldine’s effortless, timeless Parisian style has caught the attention of industry insiders everywhere and her blog has offered her a seat at some of the top shows in the world. Read along as she talks all things career, style, and Paris!
Director of Brand Development at Stitch Fix
Meet Maria Dueñas Jacobs – former ELLE Accessories Editor, current Director of Brand Development at Stitch Fix, and forever mother of three. Maria has conquered the competitive fashion industry head on with elegance and ease. From dream job to motherhood, she tells us how she balances it all.
Fashion & Lifestyle Blogger
Stephanie Liu Hjelemeseth started her creative digital journal, Honey & Silk, nearly eight years ago, which has naturally evolved to speak to fashion, travel, beauty, and the most rewarding addition yet: motherhood. We caught up with the new mama to talk all things career, style and how she plans to spend baby’s first holiday!
Small Space Lifestyle Blogger & Consultant
Whitney Leigh Morris’s less than 400 square foot small-scale home may be limited, however, her life inside is anything but. Tucked away in a charming Tiny Canal Cottage with an adoring husband, beautiful two-year-old son, and two playful rescue beagles, Whitney’s days spent on the historic Venice Canals are what dreams of Southern California living are all about.
DJ & Painter
DJ, painter and fashion it-girl Inès Mélia is the epitome of Parisienne chic. With an ear for music and an eye for style, Inès has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry. Read on to learn more about her musical expertise, fashion inspiration and wanderlust lifestyle.
Lifestyle Blogger + Content Creator
Introduction: Self-love, authenticity, and empowerment – a few of the many things that attracted us to Amira Khan’s lifestyle blog. With a uniquely modest style, in a not-so-modest world, Amira takes us around her hometown of Manchester and chats with us about her career, style, and all of the refreshing traits that make her ‘Modest Mira’.
Street-style star and fashion tastemaker Monica Ainley de La Villardière juggles keeping traditional media alive while relishing in the new-found convenience of a digital age. We caught up with the Parisian-by-way-of-London Canadian and chatted all things career, style, Paris and podcast ‘Fashion: No Filter’.
Fashion Director, HarpersBAZAAR.com
This month's Sunday Girl wears many hats - figuratively and literally. Fashion Director, artist, writer, stylist, and above all wife and new mom, Kerry Pieri celebrates the daily balance of being a mother and businesswoman, with style and grace. Her genuine passion and happiness encourages us to do what we love, and love what we do.
Actress & Lifestyle Blogger
Actress, writer, producer, blogger - you name it, Grasie Mercedes does it…and she does it in style. As a NY native residing in LA, our June Sunday Girl thrives in all opportunities that Hollywood puts in front of her, both on and off screen. Grasie gives us a behind-the-scenes look at her love for the entertainment industry, fashion, beauty, and travel.
Co-Founder of Summer Fridays and Creator of You & Lu
For the month of May, we are focusing on all things mama’s, wellness, and the official kick off to summer. We’ve tapped into new mom, Summer Friday’s co-founder, and You & Lu creator to learn how she tackles motherhood, style, health and summer!
Fashion Bloggers & Photographers
Natalie and Dylana Suarez are soul mates when it comes to success and creativity, while shining as individuals through their own unique styles. We caught up with the sisters in their Dumbo pads to get a taste for what the other side of the bridge has to offer, and to talk all things fashion, travel and New York City.
Founder, Ropes of Holland
Physiotherapist-turned-fashion blogger, Lindsey Holland, takes us on a tour of her picturesque neighborhood in her favorite pieces from our Spring Collection, and talks all things style, travel and London.
Fashion Blogger + Globe Trotter
It’s February (aka “love month”), so we’ve turned to fashion blogger + globe trotter Sara Escudero of Collage Vintage to share what she’s loving right now. Having recently relocated from Madrid to LA with her photographer boyfriend, Diego Anciano, the magic that life in a new city brings is giving them a fresh outlook on all things to love
Founder of Chillhouse & Taste the Style
The holidays are a busy time of year, and by the time December rolls around we inevitably find ourselves wondering how we're going to survive another month of holiday cheer? Don’t you agree? This month, wellness and style expert Cyndi Ramiriz-Fulton shares how she keeps her mind, body and style aligned during this busy time of year. As the founder of Chillhouse Wellness Café and the editorial website Taste the Style, looking and feeling fabulous is part of her daily routine.
Co-Founders of The Hive
November marks the start of the giving season, but giving means many things for multi-tasking women balancing motherhood, entrepreneurship, making a difference, and time to call their own. This month, Co-Founders of The Hive, an online destination for new moms and beyond, share how they balance the demands of the holidays without compromising their style, sanity, or do-good attitudes.
Owner/Designer of EF Collection
Delicate fine jewelry is definitely having a moment in fashion. Whether layered, stacked, or mix and matched, celebrities and fashion “it” girls are flocking to Owner/Designer Emily Faith’s EF Collection to help define their jewelry style. We caught up with the Los Angeles native while in Paris showing her new collection to find out how she spends her time in the world’s most fashionable city and what she’s coveting for fall.
BPCM PR Team
September marks the official kick-off to fall, and there’s no better way to get in the mood for a wardrobe revamp than a healthy dose of New York Fashion Week. For an insiders’ perspective on this coveted event, we tagged along with PR maven Vanessa von Bismarck, Partner of BPCM PR, and a few of her PR gurus to find out everything we wanted to know about fashion week and beyond.
Founder of Guest of a Guest & Lingua Franca
As the end of summer nears, an escape to the coast is exactly what we need. Meet Rachelle Hruska MacPherson, founder of Guest of a Guest and Lingua Franca, as we chat motherhood, life in Montauk, and weekend dressing
Shop Owner of Milly & Grace Boutique
Off the shores of Cape Cod, we spend a Nantucket afternoon with Milly & Grace shop owner and mother of two, Emily Hollister. With a passion for her clients and bringing the local community together, this kind and humble spirit shares about the beginnings of a successful business, the East Coast lifestyle, and her excitement for Joie’s upcoming A La Plage capsule pop-up, available at Milly & Grace from August 4th – 14th.
Skai Jackson & Kiya Cole Mother-Daughter Goals
Child star, teenage role model and emerging style-icon all define actress Skai Jackson. Her number one fan and stunning mother, Kiya Cole, is with her every step of the way. This mother & daughter duo open up about a budding career, fashion inspiration, and what their close-knit family relationship is like off screen…
Emma Henderson & Victoria Beattie: Founders of The Beach People
Clear summer skies are just around the corner and we couldn’t be more excited to get whisked away, be carefree and inspired by our bucket-list destination travels. This month, Emma Henderson and Victoria Beattie of The Beach People, take us to the land down under, where they share their best-kept secrets and celebrate our A La Plage summer capsule collection and our exclusive Roundie towel collaboration to accompany our seaside escapes and beyond…
Founder of CamilleStyles.com
This season we celebrate our store opening at Domain Northside, and enjoy the sunny skies of Austin with Camille Styles, founder of CamilleStyles.com. A creative & energetic spirit, Camille welcomes us into her gorgeous home and shares with us a few of her favorite neighborhood spots while reminding us of the importance of living a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle
Social Editor at L’Officiel
As we wind down from the whirlwind that is fashion month, we spend a morning with Sabina Socol, the chic social editor of French fashion magazine, L’Officiel Paris. Always on top of the latest news, this “It Girl” shows us around her dreamy flat and shares her best kept secrets behind personal style, the best cuisine in town, and inspires us with her love of journalism to pick up a pen and start writing.
Creative Director & Owner of Blooms by Drea Floral and Event Design
This February, we’re celebrating the month of love with Andrea Swain, soon-to-be bride and event and floral designer behind Blooms by Drea. We catch up with Andrea at home as she effortlessly styles our bohemian and vintage-inspired pieces from our exclusive wedding capsule collection before jetting off to her own destination wedding in Cartagena, Colombia.
Fashion Director and Editor
For Fashion Director and Editor, Caroline Issa, it may not be all glitz and glam prepping for the fervor of fashion month in between editorial meetings, shoots and brand consulting. Yet this stylish sartorial influencer is as prepared as ever, taking her favorite looks from our exclusive winter capsule collection to the streets of Paris and getting us geared up for fashion month with a few of her tips & tricks of the trade.
TV Host and Fashion Journalist
It’s officially gift giving season and we’re celebrating with Louise Roe - author of Front Roe. Join us as we chat Sunday indulgences, unforgettable career moments, and all things holiday. This down-to-earth beauty is no stranger to “front row” experiences and is our go-to girl on cultivating personal style and leading a life filled with confidence.
Founder of Mara Carrizo Scalise Jewelry
Meet Mara Carrizo Scalise–the Argentinian jewelry designer whose passion for travel, eye for unusual vintage, and love for the simple beauty found in nature has influenced the concept behind her namesake jewelry line, handmade in LA. With a lengthy list of loyal celebrity clientele, Mara’s dainty, everyday pieces are the perfect complement to Joie’s perennially chic style. Keep scrolling to read more on the inspiration behind her collection and be sure to check out her pieces featured in the Joie Holiday Shop.
Founder and Partner of GOGOLUXE
Keeping up with the trends is no easy feat in an industry that’s always on the move. That’s why this month, we put the spotlight on in-the-know fashion retail and luxury brand consultant, Ramya Giangola. Named one of New York’s most fashionable women time and time again, Ramya has made a name for herself scouting and guiding “it" developments across design, travel, food and, of course, fashion. We catch up with the stylish working mom in her new Hollywood Hills home and get the scoop on all that’s new and noteworthy for fall…
SVP, Fashion Director at Saks Fifth Avenue
September is officially here and while many are mourning the last bit of summer, the fashion world has eagerly shifted gears in anticipation for the season’s long-awaited fall fervor. With the shows in full swing, we’ve tapped Saks Fifth Avenue’s SVP, Fashion Director and trend forecasting expert, Roopal Patel, for a few inside tips on navigating Fashion Week like a pro. Keep scrolling for her insider tips to survive the month-long fête.
Founder & Creative Director of Simone LeBlanc
Personal stylist turned LA’s most trusted gift-giving guru, Simone LeBlanc, created her dream job—traveling to alluring destinations to source and curate her well-adorned, lavish gift-boxes for friends, clients, and celebrities alike. This month, we sat down with the gifting queen in her Hollywood Hills home and talk personal taste, the meaningful touch, and of course, life on Sundays with her adorable daughter Lillian…
Founder of Crowell Lane Creative
Following our Malibu visit with Minnie Mortimer Gaghan, we cross coasts during the height of summer and relax oceanside in the Hamptons. Join us as Laney Crowell – founder of digital branding agency Crowell Lane— takes us to her favorite seaside shops and shares her personal fashion and interior style tips. With the quaint aesthetics of summer in the Hamptons and blooming flowers as our backdrop, we promise Crowell's view will make you want to pack a bag and head to the beach.
Co-founder of Vainité
To celebrate the summer collection and Joie’s coastal lifestyle, we're taking our summer vacation from the breathtaking shores of Malibu all the way to the pristine sands of Montauk. Join us as we travel coast-to-coast and catch up with Minnie Mortimer, co-founder of the luxury beauty experience Vainité, and the stylish Laney Crowell, founder of Laney Crowell Creative. Get swept away as we explore Minnie’s stunning oceanfront refuge and get a taste for her laid-back Los Angeles lifestyle. Then jet-set across the country with us next week for a relaxing stay in the Hamptons as we take a trip to the beach with Laney and talk summer essentials. After all, this season is all about travel and lasting memories, so why not pack your bags with your favorite Joie dress and take a vacation with us?
Founder of Max-Bone Boutique
In laid-back Malibu, California, where day trips to the beach and beautiful summer skies are endless, we tap this month’s Sunday Girl, the sophisticated globe trotter and Max-Bone founder & designer, Parisa Fowles-Pazdro. From the pristine sands of Zuma to the iconic Surfrider Beach, Malibu’s surfer style and bohemian way of life are the perfect backdrop for the Joie summer collection. This month we visit Parisa in her home away from home, the Max-Bone store in Cross Creek and talk summer getaways, Sundays in Malibu, and her adorable bulldog Mackintosh. We couldn’t help but be inspired by her carefree wanderlust, and we are sure you will agree.
Inspired, passionate, and accomplished are all attributes that can be used to describe our May Sunday Girls. We've tapped ten stunning women who are breaking barriers in their respective industries while doing an incredible job as parents. With today's working mothers prioritizing their careers and simultaneously dedicating time to raising their children, work-life balance has become an integral part of the everyday routine and each of our Sunday Girls go above and beyond just that. Even though Mother's Day only comes once a year, we believe that honoring great moms should happen year-round. Happy Mother’s Day to our Sunday Girls around the world.
Owner of Camelback Flower Shop
Now that spring has officially arrived and flowers are on all of our minds, we take a moment to chat with Scottsdale’s Camelback Flowershop owner Teresa Wilson about her Sunday routine, florals vs. fronds, and the inspiration behind her recently launched candle collection.
Founder of Jennifer Zeuner Jewelry
In celebration of the launch of Jennifer Zeuner's delicate jewelry line in Joie stores, we've tapped the Southern-based designer to talk all things Sunday, her secret formula for layering necklaces, and the unexpected muse that inspired her line.
This month, we sit down with Kassia Meador—the free-spirited pro-surfer, wetsuit designer, and photographer from Los Angeles—and talk life growing up in Southern California, inspiration and what’s in store for 2016…
The Trio Behind STRIIIKE
Meet the effortlessly talented Streicher sisters: Kristie, Ashley and Jenn, the trio behind STRIIIKE – a collaborative family business and beauty studio in Los Angeles where hair, makeup and feathered brows are artfully crafted under one roof.
PARTNERS AT SWEET LAUREL BAKERY
Friends-turned-business partners Claire Thomas and Laurel Gallucci are the duo behind whole foods focused baking company, Sweet Laurel Bakery.
On building a brand: “Whether it’s a hand-written note in every online order, or a beautifully packaged gift that you feel proud to give, all of those little details matter and they add up to something much bigger.” Pictured: O'Neill in the Bittern Silk DressPhotography By Alex La Cruz
On lessons learned: “I can narrow it down to three D’s: differentiation, details and determination… We’ve created something that’s totally different from any other candy shop and that helps us instantly stand apart.” Pictured: O'Neill wearing the Pattyn Jacket , Layson Top and the Park Skinny JeansPhotography By Alex La Cruz
Picking favorites: “I used to be a dark chocolate person, but now I’m 100% obsessed with gummies. My current fave is Peach Bellini, an all-natural peach gummy with a juicy peach center, dusted in tart sugar crystals. It’s sweet and sour heaven.” Pictured: O'Neill in the Coastal Blouse and the Park Skinny JeansPhotography By Alex La Cruz
The Sugarfina test: “We’re looking at a wide variety of factors – the appearance (it has to be beautiful), the aroma (try smelling our Peach Bellini… yum!), the initial taste, the mouth feel, the aftertaste – everything really adds up to create a beautiful sensory experience.”Photography By Alex La Cruz