This week, we decided to sit down with Kim, owner and founder of Toute Douceur Candy. Kim has been one of our partners since the very beginning of Pagoda Lab, and we are so excited to share her story and learn more about the woman behind these delicious candies.
Tell us a little about yourself? Where does your story begin?
I started making candy in my very small apartment galley kitchen in downtown Denver around ten years ago with a stack of books to work with. So much trial and error, but it helped me learn so much and create what Toute Douceur is today.
How did you start your company? What was going thru your mind when starting and doing this business? Was it hard or easy in creating a business?
In my early twenties, I really didn't have any direction for my life. I didn't know what I wanted to do. I was just working jobs to get a paycheck. I stumbled into candy, and it was a pretty random thing. But as soon as I started, I knew it was the only thing I wanted to do with my life. It definitely hasn't been easy though. I had to start all over after leaving my ex-husband at the end of 2016 with my daughter who was only six months old at the time. I had to move back in with my parents, I wasn't even working a full-time job. But then I started to get back on my feet and it gave me the drive I needed to build my business far beyond what it had been. I got my own apartment and worked 40 hours a week at a 9-5 job while using any spare time I had to grow my business--a business my ex-husband claimed that I wouldn't have without him. I feel like every wall I've come up against though has made me push harder and given me the strength to grow.
Can you tell us what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I create confections--truffles, caramels, candied peels, etc. I have seen over the years what seems to be the trend for chocolates especially and I went the opposite direction. Everything I make focuses on flavor over flash. No artificial colors or flavors, no molds, no preservatives, just natural, quality ingredients, and fair-trade chocolate.
What are some things you advocate for?
Mental health and the awareness of emotional abuse--after everything that I went through with my ex-husband, this is very important to me. I believe we should all take care of ourselves mentally and physically. I also believe that there should be more of an understanding of emotional abuse, especially since there are no marks to show. There needs to be more support, especially from the justice system. I also will always support the care and protection of rhinos--especially the Baby Rhino Rescue, which I donate to every year for my birthday.
Where we are in life is often partly because of others. Who/what else deserves credit for how your story turned out?
My whole family, but especially my amazing husband Jonathan and my beautiful daughter Kirin.
Where do you like to eat? Any restaurants you want us to help highlight that are small businesses?
I unfortunately don't get to eat out much, but I do love Blue Island Oyster Bar, Deviation Distillery, and Tuk Tuk.
To learn more about Kim and her story, check out our most recent episode of
- The Pagoda Lab podcast: https://open.spotify.com/episode/2kdy7NJVho4qVciZVJ2PvV?si=eR35QlKNSXqJMLJ0vFNGLw
- watch the video: https://youtu.be/X7E2MpNJ9gU
- Be sure to give her a follow on Instagram @toute.douceur.candy.
We will be sharing more of our vendor’s stories soon, so thank you for continuing to support us on our journey to empower local businesses.