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Black Candy Companies in Los Angeles: Ann’s Creole Candies

Black Candy Companies in Los Angeles: Ann’s Creole Candies

Today is the beginning of Black History Month and also marks the one year anniversary of Ann’s Creole Candies. Ann’s Creole Candies is a modern family tradition of praline “pecan

  • PublishedFebruary 1, 2023

Today is the beginning of Black History Month and also marks the one year anniversary of Ann’s Creole Candies.

Ann’s Creole Candies is a modern family tradition of praline “pecan candies” made and packaged in South Central, Los Angeles.

They may be in the candy business but Ann’s Creole Candies understand that life isn’t always so sweet. The owners volunteer their time and pledge 5% from purchases, to support environmental and social justice non-profits in L.A and New Orleans.

For Black History Month, we caught up with Ann’s Creole Candies founder Derek, and we discuss the business he founded honoring his mother and New Orleans roots.

What makes your confection company unique from other businesses?

“Foremost, we are right here in South Central LA. While I was born and raised in New Orleans, Channing grew up on 51st Place and Vermont. We are raising our kids, Elle and Beckham, here and know there is much that this community needs.

We volunteer our time and make monetary donations to non-profit organizations serving South LA that speak to our core values.

Channing is an attorney so we’ve assisted with legal clinics for criminal record expungements. I love fishing so environmental issues are important, and knowing that many South LA kids lack a variety of resources, we aid there as well. Elle and Beckham are also involved as it’s important to us that they are aware of their own privilege and can use their time to help improve the lives of others.”

What motivates you the most in business?

“I’m most motivated to change what we as consumers should be able to expect from the businesses we patronize. In my opinion, a business’ relationship with the community it operates in should be more than transactional. This is why we built volunteerism into our company. 

If a business is part of a neighborhood, it is aware of the challenges that community faces. Most just elect to turn a blind eye to them. We dare to be different and hope our efforts challenge other businesses to do the same.”

What has the experience been like for you as a Black business owner?

“I took an interest in learning the recipe. Once I figured it out, I would make pralines for my in-laws and friends in LA. Everyone loved them and would regularly suggest that I start selling them. I really didn’t pay them any mind at first but then would make them for parties to see if other people would like them.

When we launched Feb 1, 2022, our marketing consisted of just putting it out on social media. I suspected that we’d get some initial support from family and friends, which we did, but this got us in front of an extended network of individuals we could not have reached at the time. We’ve just continued to build on that over time. “

What are some challenges you have run into as a business owner? What pushes you through these challenges?

“My biggest challenge is scaling operations but I knew that from the onset. I knew people would like our product, but I was worried about my ability to produce enough. Our pralines are still made one batch (approximately 40 pieces) at a time. We are taking orders now in excess of 650 pieces, requiring almost a week to fulfill as other smaller orders come in. We are nearing the point of needing contract manufacturing to handle it all.”

What are the most rewarding parts of running your own business?

“One of the most rewarding parts is connecting with our customers at pop up events. Angelenos with roots in the south, reminisce and share stories of the pralines made by an aunt or grandmother. Samples are available at these events and we can visibly see how the taste of our candy connects with fond memories of their loved ones. 

Our pop up booth requires all hands on deck. While I’m responsible for cooking, our whole family has a role at events.

Channing and I process sales, while Elle and Beckham distribute fliers and help with samples. I like that they are getting an up-close and hands-on experience in what it takes to run a business.”

Where did you learn to make these type of desserts?

“My mom taught me our family’s praline recipe. I took interest in learning it after my dad passed away some years ago. That was a reality check that someone in our family needed to learn this 100 yr old recipe as my mom was the only one who made it. 

Pralines are far from easy to make. The process requires standing over a stove for upwards of two hours with constant attention, flame control, and stirring. The window to a perfect or ruined batch occurs at the very end of this lengthy process.”

Where did the inspiration for your business name come from?

“The name Ann’s Creole Candies is an adaptation of Lauren’s Creole Candies, named after my sister, which my mother used when she sold her candy. I chose to name the business after my mom since she taught me the recipe.”

 Advice to other Black business owners or aspiring entrepreneurs?

“The advice I would give aspiring entrepreneurs is that you don’t have to look far to find your business idea. Maybe there is a recipe or dish that someone in your family makes that is always popular. Perhaps you see a way of improving on an existing business or see a void in business that you can fill. If there is a need, there will always be an opportunity.”

Ann’s Creole Candies and products are currently available on our website, www.annscreolecandies.com

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