Dylan Lauren, 34, was inspired to open DYLAN'S CANDY BAR (now a major GG fave) from fond memories of watching Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory when she was 5 years old. Her parents screened the movie in their home for her birthday--yeah, they can do that kinda thing 'cause dad is fashion kingpin Ralph Lauren.
Dylan opened up the flagship store in Midtown Manhattan, which was renovated last year, making it the world’s largest sweet shop at 15,000 square feet. They sell everything from clothes to cotton candy, and often hand out free samples of fudge. It's a must-stop on the Gossip Girl Sites tour and a hangout for the Upper East Side prep school set. Plus, Dylan's got other stores in East Hampton, NY; Garden City, NY; Houston, TX and Orlando, Fl.
How big a fan are you?
I love Gossip Girl for so many reasons. The show is like candy, a delicious treat for fans. When the show premiered, I was thrilled to see that they set the characters in New York City, and when they come to visit us at Dylan's Candy Bar, it is so much fun for me, those who work at the store, and the customers.
Who is your favorite character? Why? (What kind of candy would that character be and why?)
Picking a favorite character is like picking my favorite candy. It's almost impossible when there are such different flavors. I do think that Blair is like an iconic sweet tart—colorful, surprisingly sour at first, but at her heart she is sweet and loving; a good loyal friend and of course, a total fashion icon.
Why do you think the GG characters love Dylan's so much?
New York City plays a major role in Gossip Girl and Dylan's Candy Bar has become a must-visit landmark. All ages come here for a sweet fun time and all the characters on Gossip Girl love to have fun. It's not just the characters on the show, though. The actors and actresses come to Dylan's when they're not filming, too!
How has the show helped your business?
The show has helped because they show our products and our logo. For example, Halloween treats and the iconic Dylan's Candy Bar shopping bags were featured, which encourages people to think we're the "it" place to get Halloween stuff or for big candy occasions. Or, when Penn Badgley and Jessica Szohr were in the store, people think it must be the place to shop for cool treats or go on dates or meet cute people.
Do you have real life Upper East Siders like the ones in the Gossip Girl books who love your store?
Yes! We get people from all over who either love candy, have seen the episodes that featured us, or know that the stars come to shop in the store when they are not filming. For example, Ed Westwick and Jessica Szohr bought candy apples for his dad from us and Blake Lively came by a few times to stock up on sweets and send her assistants gifts. We attract private and public New York City school kids -- really anyone who loves candy and wants to feel like a kid in a candy store.
In "How to Succeed in Bassness," Rufus buys Halloween candy from DYLAN'S CANDY BAR.