ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Although Valentine's Day has passed, a local business wants to make anytime a great time to give someone a special gift.
Leslie Lyon and Elisabeth Vezzani were so tired of handing out gift cards to friends and clients, they decided to open a virtual candy shop where the recipient gets to pick their gift.
"We said, 'What if we create a gift where the receiver gets to pick their favorite candies?'", said Sugarwish co-founder Leslie Lyon.
She and co-founder Elisabeth Vezzani hope "sugarwishing" eventually becomes a verb, to bring people happiness.
"We deliver that kid in a candy store feeling," said Vezzani. "It sounds cliche, but it is fun. It's really fun to pick a little of this and a little of that."
They started Sugarwish in 2012, packing and wrapping gift boxes from home when the idea took off almost immediately.
"Before they would get the cute box with their treats, they would turn around and send it to someone else, all because that experience is so fun," said Vezzani. "And then, we 'wow' them again when they get it."
They started filling the boxes with all the candy that was fun and nostalgic, and have added new options along the way.
"You've got to have your childhood favorites," said Vezzani. "You can't just have gourmet candy. That's not fun. I want my Bit'O'Honeys. I want Swedish Fish."
Sugarwish has since expanded to offering popcorn and cookies, each with their own colorful packaging.
"And since then, we've done snacks, coffee and tea, dog treats," said Vezzani. "Wine, cocktails, candles, flowers."
It took them eight years to ship one-million boxes. But, their business doubled in 2021, when they reached the two-million mark. It led them to expand to a 22-thousand square foot warehouse, where things they used to do by hand are automated. And, they have 40-thousand corporate accounts.
"We started with one person sending it to another, and now we've got Microsoft sending it to their employees," said Vezzani.
People use them for holidays, birthdays, and graduations, in addition to everyday occasions.
"We ended up in a business where we get to see like the best part of people," said Vezzani. "It's people cheering people up. Companies telling people they're doing a good job."
And, they always want to treat their customers like a friend.
"No matter how big we get, or how many products we add, I care about every person that's getting a Sugarwish," said Lyon. "And, I want to make sure that that experience remains."
Sugarwish also partnered nationally with the Make-A-Wish Foundation gifting children in-need with boxes during the Covid-19 pandemic who couldn't take visitors in person.