Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Sugar & Likes & Everything Nice:How a Candy Company was Transformed by Tik Tok

It began as a regular quarantined summer day in California; the sun was shining, the Zooms were connecting, the coffee was whipping, and the Tik Toks were recording. However, for candy lover and current business owner Danielle Shaba, it was no ordinary day- but rather it was the first chapter of her journey to become a successful entrepreneur. Shaba could hardly believe her eyes when she had awoken to millions of notifications from a Tik Tok she had posted of her very own custom candy bags. She had accomplished every small business owner’s dream- going viral.

Danielle Shaba is the owner of Candy Boulevard, a candy business that specializes in creating its own custom mixes of candy that aren’t commonly found in stores. Shaba, 19, started her company with the mere love for candy, and dream of becoming an influencer. She started her account by posting videos of herself making platters of different foods and candies before her company was created. She then realized the impact that Tik Tok has on the growth of small businesses and decided to make her dream come true.

Then, it dawned on her: if she was able to combine her knowledge of viral marketing along with her platform from the platter videos and incorporated her very own mix of candy, she’d be able to build the enterprise she sought after. Shaba pitched the idea to her family, who were immediately on board, and thus began their journey into candy land.

“After extensive research, we found our vendors and started packaging our candy in our home office. It took less than a month and we totally outgrew it, so we purchased a bigger facility-and it’s already getting too small for all of our orders!” Shaba tells.

“I started posting different types of videos of the candy to see which kind would engage a bigger audience,” explained Shaba. After experimenting with different trends, such as packaging videos, mixing videos, and haul videos, she observed what worked and grew her company’s platform.

Danielle’s most viewed Tik Tok is a video of her dumping candy into a bucket for her custom mix. It currently resides at 23.6 million views, and 3.3 million likes. “My audience multiplied daily. There was a point when each day I would wake up with another hundred thousand followers on my Tik Tok account,” she recounted.

With her customer base increasing daily on Tik Tok due to her 2 million followers, Shaba’s orders have increased from 15 to 500 orders per day.

Viral marketing is today’s generation’s most effective method of advertisement, and it is responsible for success stories like that of Candy Boulevard. Tik Tok has a mysterious algorithm that determines which videos appear on the “For You” page for each user. Influencers like @d_shaba do their best to navigate their engagements with careful manipulation of the algorithm by utilizing specific hashtags, sounds, and following trends that have proven popular on the app on that day.

“We blew up so fast, I have no idea how it happened. I thank God for it every day,” admitted Shaba.

Social media strategist Catherine Kennebeck reports that “TikTok saw a huge rise during the beginning of Covid and has become a fan favorite for short, consumable chunks of interactive information. Videos tend to capture your audience quicker and easier.”

Since December of 2020, there have been 6 billion Tik Tok downloads internationally. The app has an annual revenue of $500 million, and with that comes the “$1 Billion Creator Fund” which means that not only can businesses that thrive off Tik Tok promotion get free advertisement, but they also can get paid depending on how much attention their videos get.

Kennebeck explains that “TikTok is giving viewers a unique behind-the-scenes view of businesses that we haven’t really seen before. People are more likely to buy when they’re a part of the experience and feel connected to a brand. It’s hard to feel connected to a static photo whereas when you can see how a product is used or made, the experience it can provide you, or how a company was started – it creates a connection.”

Shaba’s Tik Tok account does just that. While keeping consistent content flowing, she creates a behind-the-scenes look at how her company functions, and the effort that goes into each purchase. This connection is what transforms her audience into customers.

Shaba described her hopes for the future of her business when she explained “In five years, I’m hoping for Candy Boulevard to have multiple locations and storefronts, and to be a household name. I’ve worked so hard for this, and thanks to going viral on Tik Tok, I think that’s achievable and it’s something I’ll continue to strive for.”

Photo by Carly De Girolomo
Photo by Carly De Girolomo