On my trip to NYC last week, I got a tip from SoapyLove that PapaBubble was the place to visit on my partial free day. I took the subway to Little Italy and Canal Street and proceeded to walk my way through the neighborhoods until I found this little gem of a candy store.
The PapaBubble ‘chain’ (is it a ‘chain’ if there’s only four stores?) started in Barcelona. In fact, the owners of the New York store originally were packers for the Barcelona store. They loved the concept so much that they started their own candy outpost in Manhattan. They formulate, make and package all of their candy at a bar in the store. If you’re lucky, you’ll get there when they’re making a batch.
PapaBubble will do custom words for anything your heart desires. The minimum order is $330 and they can put words or shapes (or a combo) into little pillow candies to take your next bridal shower to a whole ‘nother level.
The whole ambiance of the shop is sterile, minimalist and a little goth (there’s a lot of black) and this decor makes the color in the candy stand out all the more. Each candy flavor has a unique design and look. They are attractively packaged in adorable (again, minimalist) black and white jars. Or you can buy refill bags for $2 off the jar price.
From a small business owners perspective, I took away three lessons:
1. Do one thing and do it very, very, very well. PapaBubbles doesn’t teach classes (which would seem to be a natural). They make candy with five ingredients (albeit very high end candy). And they make it extraordinarily well. They make candy into a rarefied, elevated art form – enough that my bill was $34 and I left with the equivalent of 2 M&M bags full of hard candy.
2. Turn it into an experience. Part of the PapaBubble magic is that they make candy in front of you, allowing you to be a part of the magic. It’s not just a candy store – it’s an imaginarium where dreams, colors and shapes come to life. We try to do this at Otion with our Soap Bar.
3. Be in a niche. PapaBubble is in a clear sweet spot and charge for that niche. They’re not the low cost provider of candy and they’re not trying to be. They’ve figured out the unique mix that makes it possible to charge quadruple to supermarket brands charge. As Donna Maria from Indie Beauty Network says, ‘The riches are in the niches.’
Next time I go to New York, I am headed to PapaBubble right away so that I won’t be without my Watermelon Chili Salt crack longer than I need to be.
I’ve posted a video below (for blog visitors) from CoolHunting.com that gives the full feel of the shop. And of course, the trendy and crafty Martha Stewart has been there as well. If you can’t get enough of PapaBubble NYC, you can click here to be taken to the Martha Stewart clip of her experience making Valentine’s Day Candies with the owners.
Oooh, I would love to go there too! And thanks for the biz lessons!
this was very inspiring to me, Anne-Marie! i especially like how you included the three lessons. i'm really trying to excell at #1, and it's awesome to see it work SO WELL for someone. 🙂
Ohhh yummy! I bet they could make some fun creations for Halloween!
Looks like a great place to work! Making candy and giving out samples: FUN!
You totally need to stop by Lynn. It is such a fun shop and I love how simple their formula for success is. It's a good reminder for us all.
Next time I'm in NYC I'm there! Thanks for this post.
That's really amazing! 🙂
Burnt Mill Candles and Soap says
great store! wish I was in NY so I could go check it out.
Jilly Bean says
Wow. You have the coolest adventures. Thank you for sharing them with us. I love that you had business lessons while on a supposedly fun trip. Your brain never stops, does it?
Very cool. Love the colors and designs. Would like to try someday.
What a neat post! I'm so glad you were able to make it over there. I only saw the shop's website but had no idea what it would be like in person. I'm surprised that it's so stark and sterile when the candy is so fun and colorful! Interesting!
I hope I get to check it out personally sometime. There's so much to see in NYC!
Love that store.
Saw one in Syndey, Australia.
I was captivated by the candy making, the flavors, the packaging. And, as you point out, the price! 🙂