interview by Douglas Eby
"There really is no such thing as a bad idea."
That approach has served Roxanne Klein and her family well. A few years ago, when she was a high school student, Roxy was inspired to develop her idea of Sandy Candy: brightly colored edible sand art. The image above is how the candy can look when layered in a jar, plastic tube or other container.
Her dad David is inventor of Jelly Belly candies, and has found that "even a bad idea leads to a good idea. It stays in your mind for years and maybe you'll use a part of it for some other idea."
Roxy agrees, and adds, "You have to find the good in anything."
She had always liked doing sand art when younger, and told her dad about the idea to translate that interest as candy. "And we just started production on it," she says. The company has a small informational website, and set up online marketing through Amazon.com's "Z Shop" area.
Obviously appealing to kids, Sandy Candy is often used for raising money by schools. Roxy wants to be represented at every PTA convention, "because that's where all the parents go to get ideas for fundraising." She offers to go to meetings in California herself, and feels the best way to do marketing is going to trade shows, such as events for party planners, craft stores and gift buyers.
She notes those are also places to find more creative ideas.
Her entrepreneurial family uses her dad's unconventional method for keeping notes about ideas: paper plates. "I've got the one I wrote the original idea for Sandy Candy on, framed on my wall," Roxy says.
"We do everything on paper plates, eat on them, write on them. We have stacks of them. My mom buys them by the case because we go through them so quickly. We use them instead of notebook paper. A regular piece of paper is so flimsy, you have to worry about losing it. It's hard to lose a paper plate."
Now in college, Roxy feels her education is valuable for implementing creative ideas. "The business basically got started when I enrolled as a freshman," she explains. "What's interesting about being a business major is it has different classifications and categories of classes related to the business field, and I experienced in the actual business some of the things they were discussing."
"Like in marketing class, we talked about packaging, and presentation, and point of sale, and different ways of displaying. And personal selling, speech skills, and being able to confront whoever you need to, without being scared or timid.
"Whatever class I've taken, I learned to realize that you can find whatever you need. Wherever you're at is a good opportunity, and you can always learn something from any environment."
Roxy and her family team keep coming up with new ideas for Sandy Candy. "We're always coming up with different packaging," she notes. "We just started shipping a new item, a box with twenty bottles of different flavors, and four six-foot straws. Those are just amazing, to see a child, or even an adult, fill a six-foot straw with different flavors and colors."
The company has clear plastic straws ranging from twelve inches to six feet. "Each color is a different flavor," she explains, "and we're coming up with new flavors every day."
Her family has been a very important part of her creative and business life, and Roxy thinks women and girls need to nourish good relationships to help support their creativity.
"And keep it real," she advises. "Just down to earth all the time. The thing I've noticed in a lot of other businesses with families, they have power struggles. I think everybody should be equal, and if someone comes up with an idea, everyone should give their true opinion, but at the same time, pull out what's valuable and worthy.
"And focus on the positive, never focus on the negative. Encouragement is what it takes. Encouragement and determination would probably be the two key words I would recommend for any female.
"Or any human being for that matter," she adds. "Even if you come up with something, and tell one person, you can't stop there; you have totell other people and make it happen. If you yourself believe in it, that's all that matters."
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website: Sandy Candybook: Stacy Kravetz Girl Boss: Running the Show like the Big Chicks: Entrepreneurial Skills, Stories, and Encouragement for Modern Girls
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