Nfld. & Labrador

A sweet story: 12-year-old best friends run their own candy business

Two best friends in Old Perlican have started their own business making candy bouquets and unique gifts for the Trinity-Conception area.

A&K Candy Boutique is based in Old Perlican and serves the Trinity-Conception area

Karlie Squires and Alyssa Barrett at the Spaniard's Bay Recreation Centre. (Facebook)

Alyssa Barrett and Karlie Squires aren't just best friends heading to Grade 8.

At 12-years-old, they're savvy young entrepreneurs.

"I always thought it would be a great idea to open a business, I thought it would be really cool," Barrett told CBC Radio's The St. John's Morning Show.
A birthday candy bouquet from A&K Candy Boutique. (Facebook)

"Since we loved candy and we had a desire to make crafts, we thought it would be a good idea to make candy bouquets and unique gifts our family could use." 

The pair, who are from Old Perlican, started A&K Candy Boutique after hearing a presentation at their school by Youth Ventures, an organization that helps people aged 12-29 turn hobbies into businesses.

"Youth Ventures explained to us how they would help us out, and we thought it was a really cool idea," Squires said.

Their Youth Ventures co-ordinator helped the girls with things like making posters and business cards.

Squires estimated the two have sold more than 100 bouquets so far.

Don't eat the merchandise

While the two love candy, they make sure to keep their supplies for customers, not themselves.

"I have a really hard time not eating it all," Barrett said. "I love candy, but my friend Karlie don't usually let me eat it."

Alyssa Barrett and Karlie Squires, both 12, are the owners of A&K Candy Boutique. (Facebook)

A&K Candy Boutique generally serves the Trinity-Conception area. However, they had an order from Alberta for a kindergarten graduation gift.

We got to get all of our orders done the week before a test so we've got time to study.- Karlie Squires

They also attend local fairs to sell their candy bouquets and carnival style treats. They said people are often surprised to learn they are business owners at such a young age.

"When we were at the fair the other day there was a woman who walked up to us and asked us who we were selling the candy for, and she didn't know that we were selling it and it was our own business," Barrett said.

"She was very, very wowed. She said that she was amazed a lot of times."

A Disney's Frozen themed candy bouquet. (Facebook)

Operating the A&K Candy Boutique has taught Barrett and Squires valuable business and communication skills. With school starting again soon, they will also learn time-management.

"We're still going to continue with our business, but we got to get all of our orders done the week before a test so we've got time to study," Squires said.

They could be doing other fun things but the girls have no plans to slow down.

"I enjoy making the bouquets because I get to spend time with my best friend," Barrett said.

"And I like making the bouquets and unique gifts for little kids and seeing their face when we get to give them to them. They're always really happy."

With files from the St. John's Morning Show