Moorhead couple's one-of-a-kind business finds sweet niche
MOORHEAD—Cotton candy is the name. Freshness is the game.
That's the motto for the area's sweetest start-up business on the block, The Cotton Candy Co.
Owners Jeff and Kaylie Risbrudt started the business in October out of the basement of their Moorhead home for now.
The idea for the business randomly came to Jeff one morning. He grew up working in the family concession business and had a friend living on the East Coast who used to make decorative caramel apples. But with no access to equipment to make decorative caramel apples, the Risbrudts had to think of a similar but slightly different idea for their business.
"Literally, one day, I just woke up and I was like, 'Kaylie, we should make decorative cotton candy,'" he said.
Around the same time, the Risbrudts had their first child, Annie, and Jeff was working two jobs. "It was both of our goals to have Kaylie stay at home with Annie," Jeff said. "We wanted to try and do something at home so I didn't have to be away so much."
With the early success of the business, Kaylie is now able to be a stay-at-home mom while Jeff continues to work toward a career as a full-time financial advisor. The couple says they mainly devote their time to the cotton candy business at night. Jeff is in charge of spinning the cotton candy, while Kaylie handles the design and packaging.
The cotton candy machine was a gift from Jeff's father, who used to run a concession route in Canada for a month during the summer. The route was where Jeff grew to know the business, as he spent many summers on the road with his dad and the rest of his family.
"That's where we spent our family summers," Jeff said.
Jeff's father sold the concession route when Jeff was 14, but Jeff continued to work in the business under new ownership. As he got older, Jeff helped dice onions, split hot dog buns and spin cotton candy.
Starting out, the Risbrudts didn't know what to expect with the business. In their first month, the couple only sold a couple orders of their decorative cotton candy. It wasn't until they started their own company Facebook page that business started taking off with sales jumping from 160 bags sold in February to 525 bags sold in March.
The business offers a unique set of six different flavors: blue raspberry, pink vanilla, purple grape, yellow lemon, red watermelon and green watermelon. Most of the orders have been from people throwing birthday parties, Jeff says. They also have two weddings booked for this summer.
"Ideally, we'd really like to focus on doing more weddings," Jeff said.
The Risbrudts say they'd like to invest in a new, mobile cotton candy cart that, Jeff says, could be brought to weddings, corporate events or birthday parties.
For more information on The Cotton Candy Co., check out their business page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cottoncandycomn.