With a series of candy-lovers' holidays on the horizon, it is hard not to have sweets on the brain. If you are buying treats this month, you are in good company. Americans spend $1.9 billion dollars buying 600 million pounds of candy for Halloween, of which 90 million pounds are chocolate. Then comes the December holidays, where 44% of adults buy candy to give as gifts, followed in mid-winter by Valentine's Day, when an additional $1.7 billion dollars are spent on candy. And in case we thought we had to go one cold month without candy, Easter arrives -- where it is best not to know the death rate for chocolate bunnies.
While the market for store-bought candy is going strong, the growing arts and crafts movement has made DIY baked treats trendy. For those looking to make one of the 1000+ DIY Halloween Treats trending on Pinterest -- from spider cookies to mummy snaps -- being able to do some fancy finger work with chocolate can make all the difference. To put these fanciful creations within reach for adults and children alike, Skyrocket Toys has released a Chocolate Pen. Yes, that's right, a pen that writes in chocolate.
Skyrocket is a toy company that has specialized in "infusing playthings with technology" for almost two decades. Interestingly, the company is best known for their success in the hobby drone market. In September, Walmart announced that their Sky Viper Streaming Drone is on their 2016 list of Top 25 Holiday toys. But founders John Ardell, Nelo Lucich, Jon Proudfit and Jackson Ho have created many different innovative toys since founding the company in 2010. In doing so, they've seen 100% annualized sales growth each year since they began; in 2015, they exceeded $100 million dollars in sales.
The Chocolate Pen's development was an outgrowth of a general brainstorming meeting at the company. "We were talking about what we could do with chocolate and discussed a cool way to dispense it as a liquid," they recall. "The Chocolate Pen dispenses real chocolate, in numerous different colors, that hardens into solid chocolate at room temperature or in the refrigerator. The chocolate tubes can be easily switched to create multi-color chocolate treats, and partially used tubes can be stored for future use. Clean-up is easy, as the melted chocolate never actually touches the pen."
The design is so successful that Skyrocket did about $15 million dollars in retail sales of the Chocolate Pen in 2015, and are on track to do at least the same volume this season. Seeing an opportunity to expand, the team launched the "Real Cooking" full baking line this fall. The centerpiece of the collection is an updated Chocolate Pen that comes in a more ergonomic size that makes it easier for kids to use. "It is the perfect tool for decorating t delicious goodies, like cupcakes and cookies," explains the Skyrocket team. They also added "Real Cooking Kits" to help kids make various treats. "All of the real working kitchen tools in the Real Cooking line, including the Chocolate Pen, are designed to be kid-friendly yet quite functional, so kids can enjoy using them over and over again," they note.
Given their adaptability -- and their ability to smell a sweet opportunity -- it is no wonder Skyrocket earned the ranking of No. 306 on the Inc. 5000 list of "fastest-growing private companies in the U.S.". In the past five years, they have also been nominated six times for the coveted Toy of the Year industry award in multiple categories. It's understandable! Who wouldn't want a pen that writes in chocolate -- especially when it is getting 5 star reviews on Amazon. The people have spoken, er, written.