Lauren, who in June 2011 married hedge fund founder Paul Arrouet at her parents’ estate in Bedford, N.Y. (Ralph reported that he toiled and toiled to design the perfect wedding dress for his only daughter,) has been obsessed with candy and its power to make people happy since her father used his Hollywood connections to score an at-home screening of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory for her 6th birthday party.
“After that I saw the movie 20,000 times. I really loved the fantasy of living in this candy land where lollipops grow out of the ground and the rivers are made of chocolate.”
Lauren’s candy emporiums obviously thrill the little ones — but she always knew grownups would make up a huge part of her customer base.
“Candy is a rush for everybody. It brings out the inner child. At my wedding, we set up this big candy bar so that people could fill bags with whatever kind of candy they wanted. You should have seen the amount of candy people took home. They would say, ‘Oh, it’s for my kids.’ ”
The Lincoln Road store, boasting 3,500 square feet of lollipops, M&Ms, candy necklaces, sour worms, gummy snakes, jelly beans, wax lips, bacon-flavored this and chocolate-covered that — plus an exclusive Miami mix of gummy alligators, sunglasses and palm trees — includes a café with outdoor seating and a full-service liquor bar for the big kids. The top-selling cocktail at the Manhattan store is the Pop Rock Explosion, made with vodka, Midori, orange juice and Pop Rocks, a fun chemistry experiment for the tongue.
But Lauren says she’s looking to come up with something a tad edgier for South Beach’s 21-and-over set. You tell her you’ve heard of home confectioners infusing gummy bears with vodka. And there are medical marijuana dispensaries, not in Florida, of course, that sell a THC-laced version of gummy bears.
Lauren wants to know more. The, um, more medicinal version of the bears she won’t be able to carry. But the boozy kind she wants to look into.
“We carry edible underwear and stuff like that for Valentine’s Day. And we have vodka ice cream. But I like the idea of more adult gummy bears. I might have to visit some factories and see what they can make for me.”
Is there a certain type of candy that hasn’t been created yet? Anything she’d like to get credit for inventing herself?
“An Everlasting Gobstopper, like from the Willy Wonka movie. But a real one that magically tastes like several different meals in one and lasts forever.”
For now she’ll settle for the new ice cream flavor she’s developing with her team.
“Marshmallow fluff, Nilla Wafers, waffle cone pieces, animal crackers and a birthday cake ice cream base. It’s really good. But some of the pieces we have to work on so they don’t get soggy.”
Earlier this year, Forbes put Ralph Lauren’s net worth at $7.5 billion. Certainly, his daughter could have opted not to work at all. Doesn’t growing a chain of candy stores with endless branding and marketing components cut into Dylan’s playtime?
“College was fun. But it was also kind of boring because I wanted to hurry up and get to work and start my own business. I always knew I would do my own thing. I never wanted to just follow my dad. But he did give me the encouragement to believe in myself, no matter what I chose to do.
“And yeah, sometimes running the business can be stressful. Sometimes you have staffing issues and things like that. But right now I’m thinking about everything you can do with gummy bears and what some of the new retailing trends are and what it would look like to be in a few airports — and none of that feels like a job at all.”