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Meet Katie Sterling of Floss Cotton Candy in Gilbert

Today we’d like to introduce you to Katie Sterling.

Katie, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’m probably the youngest snowbird you’ll ever meet. From Memorial Day until Fall Break, our little family migrates to Logan, Utah to get out of the Arizona heat and enjoy a little taste of the agriculture life that I grew up with. We have a small vineyard, orchard and quarter acre garden where we teach our children the value of hard work.

This past summer my kids decided they wanted to earn some extra cash by starting a cotton candy stand on the street down the road from our garden. We came up with some unique flavors as a family and made all of our neighbors our official taste testers. One of our neighbors suggested that we enter our two oldest children into an upcoming “Children’s Entrepreneur Fair” coming to town. Our girls (ages eight and ten) did all of the prep work for the fair and they were extremely successful. We decided that we needed to go big and start our own family business. Floss Cotton Candy was officially formed five months ago and we haven’t sat still since!

During these five months we have contracted with BYU and USU athletics started an online store, and are now selling in five Utah and two Arizona stores permanently along with various market events and boutiques. Our amazing team has grown to include more family members and close friends who have made Floss what it is today. We are VERY excited to see where the future leads us!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Our road has been a bumpy one. Some of our struggles have included the following:
The first time… Ok ten times that I tried to make our GIANT cotton candy was/were a complete disaster and I had burnt cotton candy blowing all over the neighborhood/all over the place.

On the way to our first big event, our (fully loaded) truck’s battery died in a small town without a mechanics shop, only an hour before the event started. We were towed by an out of town truck to the event just in time to unload and sell. On the way home from the same event (around 11 PM) my tire was shredded by something I ran over and we were stranded on the side of a narrow Utah canyon road for some late night hours, with ALL of my kids.

Finding the right events for our product was also a struggle. We found that some of the events we thought would be the most profitable were the least and vice versa. We made many wrong decisions in label design and recipes before we found the best of the best.

Starting my own business has opened my eyes to why everything is so expensive. There are so many hands requiring money from businesses before the company even makes a dollar.

The smoothest part of our business has been our team. We have built an amazing team that works like a well oiled machine. Our motto is “It’s ok to make mistakes while you’re learning” and we see any failure as an opportunity for growth. I’m a huge believer in zero micromanagement and letting my employees use their own brains. I often ask them how they would do things differently and I have found that more often than not, their ideas are better than mine.

Please tell us about your business.
Floss Cotton Candy specializes in many flavors of gourmet cotton candy. We sell GIANT cotton candy along with commercially package tubs, which have a three months shelf life.

Wherever we sample, customers are blown away by our uniquely delicious flavors and smooth texture. Our packaging is modern and attractive. All of our tubs are themed with uniquely designed labels and toppings that match the flavor theme. I think the biggest thing that sets us apart is our attractive packaging design and color/flavor combinations along with unique toppings.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite memory from childhood is spending time with my Grandma and Grandpa. They were the kind of grandparents that made you feel like the world revolved around you. My Grandma in particular spoiled us Grandkids rotten with all kinds of treats, including a cereal cabinet stocked with all of the most sugary cereals in the world. I think I had three or four bowls each time I went to her house. This house also happens to be the house we now live in during the summers in Logan, Utah and the location where we built the commercial kitchen for Floss Cotton Candy.

Pricing:

  • Our cotton candy tubs were designed to be the perfect $5 gift. All tubs online are $5 online and in stores range from $5 – $5.99 depending on retail costs.

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.flosscottoncandy.com
  • Email: info@flosscottoncandy.com
  • Instagram: @flosscottoncandy
  • Facebook: @flosscottoncandy

Image Credit:
Only one image credit necessary: Little girl with face in cotton candy – Image Credit Nicole Leavitt Photography

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