Elite Interviews: Dylan Lauren, Founder Of Dylan's Candybar
Known as the “Candy Queen,” Dylan Lauren has transformed her love for candy into a successful empire with store locations in Los Angeles, Miami and New York.
Dylan is not only the daughter of American designer Ralph Lauren, but the founder of Dylan's Candy Bar, the largest candy shop in the world.
Prior to launching DCB, Dylan studied art history at Duke University. She then started her own event planning company, but always found herself going back to candy. It was with DCB that she was able to channel art and candy into a shop that would bring people back to a sweeter time in their lives: their childhood.
With five store locations already, Dylan wishes to continue to expand globally, and use her influence to become involved with charity.
What qualities do you look for in the individuals with whom you surround yourself?
Loyalty, depth,supportive, kind to others, fun.
Who are the people that inspired you to follow your dreams and how do they continue to influence you?
My dad is a total example of an entrepreneur who built a lifestyle empire from having a clear and creative vision. For so many years he remains at the top, yet always strives to achieve more success and happiness.
He also remains cool and kind to everyone, no matter how important he has become.
What core values has your family instilled in you as you move forward with family and business?
It is important to spend time with your family and closest friends no matter how busy you get. They ground you and love and friendship is more important than anything.
What plans do you have for your career that we would have never suspected?
Some didn't expect that we have a real cocktail bar in our stores with candy cocktails that 21+ older can get happy hour onwards and at the parties and corporate events we book.
They may not also expect that we have liscensed products that aren't edible such as technology gadgets (cell phone, ipad covers, ear phones) or stationery (markers, coloring books) or spa products (candy scented body butter, body wash), etc.
Also, one day I hope to open a candy themed theme park or resort.
What are three tips you would give to young entrepreneurs starting their own company?
Listen to your gut; surround yourself with positive and supportive people. Don't worry if you don't have certain skills — if you find people who have those, you can make a good team and accomplish your dreams.
Five, 10, 50 years down the line when you've achieved everything you aspire for today, where do you see yourself?
I see myself still being as involved with DCB and having stores in different countries, but personally I'd love to be traveling a lot and living between NYC, Hamptons and California. Also, running an animal camp and shelter on the side.
How do you make time to balance your personal life, such as your recent marriage, while focusing on building your entrepreneurial endeavors?
Balance is so crucial. It's hard, but I am lucky as an entrepreneur I can control my schedule. By having a plan book I can see my schedule for the week and ensure I have a bit of time for love, friends, exercise, self and work.
I do make sure I first mark times to work out so I ensure I get that in. I do emails while on the stair mill. I make date nights with my husband and friends or I work out with them instead of eating so I kill two birds with one stone.
Keeping up with your schedule is hard enough, but what are your necessities for making every minute count?
Having the skill to multitask. I love the blackberry because I can catch up on calls and emails while walking to a meeting or exercising. Candy and coffee are also necessary for energy to keep going.
With your constant and hectic schedule between your entrepreneurial and philanthropic endeavors, what do you do to relax and unwind?
I watch TV when I can with my husband — “The Bachelor,” “The Soup” and “Saturday Night Live” are fun. Then CNN or Charlie Rose for more news, and I read magazines. I also find a tough, workout key to eventually relax and clear my mind.
With the transition from event planning to confectioneries more than a decade ago, what was the biggest lesson you learned about following your dreams?
I still do event planning in a way, because our stores are the place for amazing events and launches. It's fun to have my own venue and be able to control the look, favors, food, decor, etc.
I feel lucky and blessed that I had the conviction to follow my dreams. I love what I do and who I work with. I feel fulfilled and am so happy.
Dylan Thomas's poem “Do not go Gently” is somewhat a reminder to me to aspire to be the best you can and follow your dreams.
Evelyn Pelczar | Elite.
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