• The Vindicator

Art of Sucre: Creative Cotton Candy

Written by Megan Baranuk // Photos courtesy of Emily Harpel


Meet Art of Sucre and the woman behind the business, Emily Harpel. The creative cotton candy company was created in Cleveland.



Emily Harpel, founder of local cotton candy company Art of Sucre, was inspired to start the business after noticing the lack of gourmet cotton candy services in Cleveland. Art of Sucre specializes in creative twists on the classic treat. Gourmet cotton candy is not something one hears of often, and Harpel took a leap of faith by starting her business immediately after her honeymoon. Featuring flavors such as champagne, watermelon and sugar cookie, Art of Sucre is anything but basic. The company also features new innovations for cotton candy such as edible glitter and glitter bombs (glitter cotton candy dissolved in champagne). One quirky service they offer is mannequin heads topped with a beehive hairdo comprised of cotton candy.


I first came into contact with Art of Sucre while planning an event for Cleveland State University’s Campus Activities Board. I wanted to have cotton candy catered to Cleveland State for Homecoming Week and I was surprised to find Art of Sucre’s website. I was thrilled to find all of the aesthetically pleasing pictures and delighted at the abundance of options. After contacting Harpel, I received an affordable quote. The entire process was easy and quick, so it was no surprise that Harpel came to the event on time and provided a great time to the students who participated. The cotton candy was not only beautiful in its soft, cloudlike appearance, but delivered on the promise of amazing flavors. Unlike the gritty taste of traditional cotton candy, this cotton candy is light, healthier and definitely delicious. The service and the product exceeded my expectations and Art of Sucre became a regular for my events on campus.


Harpel’s warmth and kindness radiated throughout the event. It was obvious that she is someone who chases her passion and builds strong relationships with people she comes in contact with. Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Harpel about her business.


It was a pleasure, and she was every bit as sweet as her cotton candy!


MB: I know you started this company after finding inspiration on Pinterest for cotton candy while planning your wedding, but what inspired you to start your own business?


EH: I grew up without a traditional family, in the sense that neither of my parents worked a 9-5. My dad had his own business and when I got to middle school he started another one - and another one - so I always joke that it's in our blood. Most kids grow up thinking starting a business isn’t a normal thing to do, but it was really all I knew. My degree is in psychology and my plan was to start my own practice, so this wasn’t really that far off. My original degree was going to be graphic design, so I have that creative background, where I knew a creative outlet was something I was good at, and something that would make me happier in the long run. Always having that mindset of seeing things and turning it into a business is something that I have always had growing up .


It was a pleasure, and she was every bit as sweet as her cotton candy!

MB: What was it about cotton candy specifically?


EH: This is not a fun answer, because I don't like cotton candy. That's a really weird thing to say out loud, and when I first started, I was like, “I don't want to lie to people.” Even to this day it feels so weird to say that. I saw the need through planning my wedding. Cotton candy is so unique, it's not like cake, cake pops, or brownies because people actually get to see it happening. It’s also interactive, so it's much more of an experience than your typical wedding or event dessert. I saw an opportunity there and it was creative enough that no one in the area, or even the country, was doing anything like it. There are so many creative outlets you could go with cotton candy that it was enough to be its own business.


MB: What is your favorite part of the business?


EH: Definitely meeting people. I have gotten to meet so many people that I never would have been able to meet without this, whether it’s for 30 seconds while spinning a customer’s cone, or people I meet through business in the area. Really getting to fall in love with my hometown city has been incredible. No one has any clue the gem we have in our backyard, and it's something I am so passionate about now. Through my job, I have gotten first hand experience and have gotten to know the people that make Cleveland what it is.


MB: What is prep like?


EH: That’s what we mainly do at the studio. I have Wendy, who is my studio help. She helps me clean all the dishes, mix all the sugar, make all our bases, and it's all custom. We can have a purple sugar cookie flavor someone wants Friday, and then get a pink sugar cookie flavor someone wants Saturday. Its making that, prepping that, cleaning the carts, equipment, we do all our favors in house, we have orders, glitter bombs, and a lot of times people will do those together. We will have an order of containers for the event as well as spinning at the event. So, it's making sure everything is made and preparing the carts and bags so the employees know which set of equipment is for them.


MB: How do you come up with all of the creative enterprises the company does?


EH: A lot of times, and this goes with being creative with projects, services, flavors, and customizations, its clients that come to us. The cotton candy mannequin hair that we do was a client's idea. A lot of times, it is my ideas and my team’s ideas, but we also get inspired by things we see, or things people ask us. It’s funny, when you own a business, so many people love to get involved or share, which I love.


MB: What advice do you have for entrepreneurial students?


EH: This is the most cliche advice, but just start. Even if it's just securing the Instagram handle, or getting the LLC. Take that first step, because I'm telling you it's the hardest. Reach out to people. It's my favorite thing when people reach out to me and ask for advice in starting a business. People appreciate that, and if they are passionate about what they do, they are going to give you all the advice they have.


MB: What are your plans for the future?


EH: There’s three different ways that we have things in the works. The first thing is franchising. I want to branch out to different cities, but still be corporately owned. The reality is, it's hard to start in the beginning, but to give someone the freedom that I now have I think we would be amazing. I would love to see our stuff on store shelves. I have a connection at Dylan’s Candy Bar, but we need to nail down our packaging. Ultimately, getting to that wholesale level is a goal as well.


Emily’s website can be found at artofsucre.com, and you can follow her on Instagram @artosucre.

83 views