Like most kids growing up in Utah, Allison Andersen loved going to Lagoon in the summers. But her fondest memories of the Farmington amusement park weren't of roller coasters, slippery slides or arcade games--they were of cotton candy.
"I've always had an obsession with it, ever since I was a little girl," she says. Now, that obsession has turned into a successful and ever-growing business.
Andersen is founder and owner of Lollipuff Cotton Candy.
The Spanish Fork-based entrepreneur had toyed for many years with the idea of buying a cotton candy machine just for her family. But when she learned of a woman in California who catered weddings by making cotton candy onsite, a business idea came to mind.
"I told my husband what I wanted to do and he said, 'Go for it,"' she recalls. "I did some research online and bought my first machine, and there was a lot of trial and error. In fact, it took me a good six months to find the right machine to do what I wanted it to do."
For Andersen, it meant having the ability to make different flavors and different colors of cotton candy, and to be able to spin more than one flavor at a time. The more flavors she offered, the more customers she attracted.
"Every customer wants their own experience, and that's been a huge part of our success," she says. "Our machines aren't big or bulky or loud, so they work when we cater indoor events. And we have three machines that allow us to spin cones for individual customers fairly quickly, in somewhere between 30 and 40 seconds. We can turn out around 120 cones an hour."
One of her favorite phrases, as she boasts on the company's website (www.lollipuffcottoncandy.com), is that "Pink is not a flavor." Through research and some mixing and matching of ingredients, Andersen can now offer up to 55 flavors. A business partner...