Summertime is a time for indulging our children as well as the child within us. Aiding us in this endeavour is House of Candy – the popular pan-Indian sweet treat chain run by Kanu Sharma. This candy maven, who is the co-founder and director of the brand, joins The Daily Guardian Review for a candid chat.
Q. Why did you choose to start a candy retail franchise?
A. House of Candy, as its name suggests, is a one-stop-shop for all candies – from gummy bears to chocolates. Our USP is the Pick n Mix concept, where the customer has the freedom to pick any number of candies in any quantity and pay per gram. We source our candies from all over the world but our lollipops are produced in-house.
We chose to start a candy franchise because we saw tremendous potential for candy stores in India. Everyone loves eating sweets and we are offering something different from what is available in the market. Fortunately, our plan has worked well. The pandemic brought a major halt to our anticipated retail growth, but in the last financial year, we saw a growth rate of 86 per cent. We are a brand that offers products which are loved by the masses. Now we have over 210 stores pan-India offering over 350 varieties.
Q. How did the pandemic affect your business?
A. Like everyone else in the industry, we took a major hit when the world shut down and that is when we launched our website www.houseofcandy.in. We were overwhelmed with the response we got and haven’t looked back since. We expanded our online presence in these two years and now we work in collaboration with Amazon, Flipkart, Meesho, Halfcute and others. With everything returning to normal, we now have a strong presence both offline and online.
Now, we are targeting expansion through our Shop-in-Shop concept (SIS). It is much more scalable and has a lot more touchpoints than any other concept. We have noticed that Tier-II cities have a lot of potential in the confectionery sector and that’s where we are headed. In the last month, we opened franchise kiosks in Aligarh, Bikaner, Behror, and Bagru. Another high street retail store is coming soon to Anand in Gujrat.
Q. Which are your most popular products?
A. Currently we offer over 200 products. These include Gummies, Lollipops, and Fizzies to name a few categories. Our best-selling ones are Gummy Bears, Marshmallows, Dark Chocolate Almonds, Fizzy Jelly Snakes and many more.
We are also planning to add more vegetarian candy options this year. We recently launched three new types of merchandise, which include the Bestseller Squeeze Box, Wrapped Box and Sugar Plum Cornet. All of these are available at our stores pan-India.
Q. Tell us about your widespread adoption of technology. Has it helped with your growth?
A. Technology plays a really big role in our business – whether it is through our e-commerce platform or our retail outlets. Technology has made communication with customers easier. Social Media and email marketing have been essential tools for us to push our online business. We are now planning to launch a customer loyalty program. The best thing that technology has given us is a way to understand our target audience better. It has also enabled us to predict what our customers might want in the future.
We are also building a community on Instagram through the use of relatable content and new filters. To get more traction on the website, we are focussing on Facebook and Google ads, SMS, email marketing and more. Apart from this, we are planning to increase customer interaction physically through multiple customer-centric events in our stores pan-India. We believe the more people know about us, the more likely they are to return to buy our products.
Q. Any exciting plans in the works?
A. This is a year of tremendous growth for us. We are planning to host a couple of offline events and will be launching new merchandise this year. We are pushing towards increasing our placement in modern trade, as we are already present in Modern Bazaar, More, and Spencer to name a few. We are also looking at more collaborations with kids’ brands to increase our audience and add more value to what we are offering.
Our prime focus in the coming years is to work on and promote our Pick n Mix concept, as we want to scale this up to reach greater heights. Once we are present in every nook and corner, we hope to launch our own branded candies too. Our Pick n Mix concept has been gathering eyeballs at every event and store. We believe that we can scale up to 2000 stores. Despite having over 210 stores pan-India, we still have a long way to go to cater to the market size.
Noor Anand Chawla pens lifestyle articles for various publications and her blog www.nooranandchawla.com. She can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org.