Jamal Hejazi realized he could take his family’s candy business to the next level when he decided to switch directions and promote the store online, a decision that made Candy Funhouse Canada’s largest online candy store today.
Hejazi, the CEO of Candy Funhouse, a candy company originally founded by his two brothers, shared that his educational background in business and society helped motivate him to make that shift.
“Everything I’ve learned through all my programs has really helped in the business, whether it’s kind of just experience in running things, or really thinking outside of the box,” he told 6ixBuzz in an interview.
Candy Funhouses’ main goal is to bring childhood memories and joy back to people with the wide variety of candy they sell along with throwback candy as well, Hejazi said.
“There’s no better way to do that than through candy.”
The store’s most popular candies are nostalgic items, exotic candies and Tik Tok candies, according to Hejazi.
“The Nik-L-Nip and Slime Lickers and things along that line, but really the exclusive and exotic candy as well. So a lot of the nostalgic stuff and then the exotic candy and then…the Tik Tok candies,” he said.
For Candy Funhouse the Tik Tok candies have been a huge hit too. The store will sometimes promote a candy on Tik Tok and within hours people will be flocking to buy them.
One candy Hejazi recalls doing really well after being shown on Tik Tok was the store’s Mega Sours.
“I remember for the Mega Sours we sold out…we couldn’t keep them in stock. It was a constant thing where we’d posted on Instagram or we posted on Tik Tok and it would sell out,” Hejazi said.
A few of the candies on the store’s Most Popular page include Cry Baby Tears Sour Candy, Kool-Aid Sharkleberry Fin Drink Mix Packet, Lotsa Fizz Candy Strip, Twix Cookies & Creme Bars and several others.
Some of Hejazi’s favourite candies are the Sour Patch Kids Xploderz and the Sour Patch Kids Mango, which just got discontinued, but were really delicious. He also enjoys England’s Terry’s Chocolate Orange.
Local To National
Before Candy Funhouse took to the online market three years ago, they were originally selling candy locally through independent stores.
“I came through and saw an opportunity online, and especially on social [media] to kind of take it national and be that candy store not only for Canada, but kind of North America,” he said.
Hejazi thought the candy store would also do really well catering to the national market instead of just local communities.
The store provides candy from the United Kingdom, Asia, the United States and other places within North America as well.
There is even a section on the store’s website where people can view the different candies the store has to offer from the United States and the United Kingdom.
One of the national markets Candy Funhouse is currently trying to tap into is Japanese candies that cannot be found in Canada.
“What I can tell you is that we’re looking at bringing over some exclusive Japanese candy that no one has in Canada,” Hejazi said.
“A wide selection of Japanese candy is coming soon, and you can just pick up the best Japanese candy.”
The store is also trying to focus on getting candy from new territories like New Zealand, Hejazi mentioned.
“We have a lot of New Zealand candy coming as well. You’d be shocked at the type of candies that are available there.”
“Whether it’s a vegan Kit Kat bar or a zebra Kit Kat bar, there are different things that different territories get that are exclusive. And we’re looking at bringing all that,” he shared.
Success Online And Celebrity Involvement
The store has had nothing but positive feedback since taking things online three years ago.
“Ever since then it’s been growing massively. We’ve been received nothing but positive response,” Hejazi said.
The Canadian company based out of Mississauga realized the digital space opened up more opportunities for the store to bring back people’s favourite candies that they can no longer find elsewhere, according to Hejazi.
“You go to those candy stores and you see the same things over and over again, you don’t really get those old school candies in the grocery stores now.”
“We aim to provide that to everyone and let people relive their childhoods, try the new candies, try their favourite candies and candies they’ve never even heard of,” he said.
Social Media also gave the company a chance to explore platforms like Tik Tok and Instagram and build a bigger community of candy lovers through videos and pictures promoting the candy.
The company even has celebrities endorsing the brand and reaching out to purchase some of their favourite candies.
“We had Charli D’Amelio…wear a Candy Funhouse sweater in one of her videos. And it went viral had like I think like upwards of 13 to 15 million viewers.”
The store has also had celebrity shoutouts from Khloe Kardashian, basketball player Ben Simmons, singer-songwriter Justine Skye, NBA player Giannis Ugo Antetokounmpo and many more celebrities. All of them can be found on Candy Funhouses’ Instagram shoutout page.
“A celebrity will reach out and say that ‘hey, I saw what you did for so and so. I want to build a candy room or a candy kitchen or movie theater.'”
The company’s Tik Tok page has been skyrocketing with roughly 1.7 million followers, Hejazi said. But more importantly, they are just really glad to be there for people in a time like COVID through their social media pages and online candy store.
“In a time like COVID, we were able to bring happiness to people and really brighten up their days.”
Currently, the company is in the process of launching a candy bag line with their own branded unique candies, Hejazi told 6ixBuzz.
“We hired some taste testers and we’ve been working on what we want to feature in our bag. We’ve kind of narrowed it down now and we’re in the final stages of production,” he shared.
The new candy bag is expected to launch sometime within the last three months of the quarter Hejazi said.
The company is also looking towards expanding their gummy line and having a facility in the U.S. to make shipping over there easier.
But one of the company’s biggest goals that Hejazi is looking forward to is implementing two flagship stores where people can physically go in and buy the candy.
One of the stores will be located in Toronto and the other in Los Angeles. They are hoping to open them within the next 36 to 48 months Hejazi said.
Hejazi’s family has been involved in the candy industry for the last 25 years, he said.
From experience with wholesale candy to independent stores, Hejazi’s family knows the ins and outs of the candy market.
“We have a passion for candy as a family. And we just love being involved in something that everybody loves.”
Hejazi’s two brothers started Candy Funhouse and with the help from family and others have been able to run this large online store.
“My two brothers initially started Candy Funhouse, and of course, my parents were involved as well, but they really started the Candy Funhouse journey,” he shared.
Hejazi recognized one of the things most people like about the store is knowing that it’s family-run.
“People that are super old, super young, everybody wants to kind of be a part of the community and it’s been so positive because being involved in a business like this, [it] really allows you to collab with so many different people, and people of all ages and [in] different walks of life.”