“The Transcript Is Auto Generated And May Contain Spelling And Grammar Errors”
Tyler Jorgenson 0:01
You’re listening to biz ninja entrepreneur radio. This show was created for entrepreneurs, business owners, marketers and dreamers who want to learn from the experts of today and drastically shortcut their own success to build a business that supports their dream lifestyle. Since 2011, Tyler Jorgensen has been interviewing business thought leaders from around the world a serial entrepreneur himself. Tyler also shares his personal insights into what’s working in business today. Welcome to biz Ninja, entrepreneur radio. Welcome out to biz ninja entrepreneur radio. I am your host, Tyler Jorgensen. And today we get to talk to the Candyman. Many of you have enjoyed jelly bellies. And today you get to talk to the founder and creator of the Jelly Belly which is really cool, kind of weaves into my family’s story a little bit which is so great too. So please welcome to the show. David Klein.
David Klein 1:01
Hello everybody. I am the canny man. Thank you for having me on your show.
Tyler Jorgenson 1:07
I’m excited that you’re here. David, tell us what’s going on. For those of you that are not watching the show you’re listening on the radio or catching on the podcast. David is wearing a very ornate hat. David, tell us about this amazing hat.
David Klein 1:19
I was in North Hollywood in 1976. And there was a very famous tailor there by the name of nuti. And you d ay ay ay ay ay ay. Ay walked into his store. He’s the one that did all of Elvis’s costumes, anything in rhinestone, Glen Campbell, anything this man did. world famous. I walked in there and I said, I am going to need some clothes. And he said to me son, Sears and Roebuck is about a mile and a half down on Laurel Canyon. My products are very expensive. I suggest you go to Here’s to get your suppose I walked in wearing Kmart clothes, maybe the total value was $15 between everything. And so he gave me the one silver and he said, my product is too expensive for you. And I said, No, no, I’m going to be on the mike Douglas show. And he said, you’re going to be on the mike Douglas show. I said, Yeah, I’m going to be on the mike Douglas show. He said, How are you going to be on the mike Douglas show? I said, I’m the man who created founded the Jelly Belly jelly beans. This was part of the outfit that he made for me. The whole outfit was 40 $325 that is not a small amount of money
Tyler Jorgenson 2:41
to be dressed like, now Elvis is dressed like you. So um, that’s. So let’s go back to it. We’re going to cover a few different things. We’re going to talk about spectrum confections and what you guys are doing now, the treasure hunt you guys are working on. But let’s let’s start at the very beginning. Rumor has it that’s a very good place to start. So, when was the first time where you realized that you are an entrepreneur?
David Klein 3:07
I never really considered myself an entrepreneur.
Tyler Jorgenson 3:10
Okay. So today, right now, so Okay, let’s look at it a different way. When was the last time you realized that you are a founder or a creator?
David Klein 3:19
Okay. I knew my whole life that I would be in the candy business. Nobody in the family was in the candy business. I knew from the age of about seven, that I was destined to be in the candy business, because I loved the candy,
Tyler Jorgenson 3:34
which is an obvious path to law school. So that makes perfect sense why you went to law school? What? So walk us through this. I mean, you went you went and got a law degree. You went to UCLA for your undergrad and then all of a sudden, I’m gonna start a jelly bean company.
David Klein 3:49
Yeah. How did this happen? Okay. I was talking to a buddy of mine on the phone. It was a Thursday night at 810 at night. I was watching And Happy Days in the background. And we used to talk about different businesses that could be started. At that time I was in the wholesale business. I was supplying famous Amos with his beacons. And I said, you know, what, what if I were to open up a store, just selling jelly beans, and he said, anything else like jaw breakers, licorice ropes and anything like that? I said, No, it’s got to be special. It’s got to be just jelly beans. And he said, you know, that might work. But I realized, if I were selling just jelly beans, it would have to be special jelly beans. And that’s how Jelly Belly started. I contacted a company that was making jelly beans. I told him what I wanted. I wanted them to be miniature. I wanted them to be flavored on the inside, as well as the outset. That was the whole clue that the
Tyler Jorgenson 4:58
differences between the two jelly beans of old and the Jelly Belly is the size which most of us know. And then the flavor on the end in the outside.
David Klein 5:06
Yeah, that’s one of the differences. Another one was I was the first company to sell jelly beans and straight flavors. So if somebody wanted green, Apple and cherry, they could buy those for Christmas. They didn’t have to buy an assortment and pick out the ones that they wanted.
Tyler Jorgenson 5:23
It’s amazing how something that we now most people know, hey, I’m gonna get jelly bellies and or I’m gonna get chili beans in specific flavors, right? That’s now the normal, but I think a lot of people don’t think of the candy industry, you know, or a specific tight like that niche of a product within the industry when they’re thinking about business. What were some of the first obstacles that you hit when you were inventing this product? I mean, you can’t you found a contract manufacturer you had $800.
So how did you get from $100 to success? That doesn’t sound like an easy path.
David Klein 5:53
No, because there were no credit cards back in 1976. By the way, one of the reasons I want it to do straight flavors. If you sell a candy store your product and they say give me 10 pounds, and all you have is a sorted, you’re only going to have one jar in that store. If you tell them I don’t sell it assorted, you have to buy the straight flavors, you’re going to have six jars in that store. That makes sense. So I had $800 I wanted to open up a retail store, kind of hard to do on $800. You know, I contacted one of my nut customers that I was selling elements to. He had an ice cream parlor in Alhambra. 1824 West main. And I said to him, Bob, I want that little corner. I will bring in a display case. And this is going to be my new product. It’s going to be called jelly bellies. We’re going to sell it for $2 a pound here. You get $1 right off the top of every pound. He said let’s do it. So I went in there work Can you open up in a store without any first last month’s rent, or any really considerable cost? That was how I started jelly bellies, right in his ice cream store.
Tyler Jorgenson 7:12
So in today, a lot of people will do that they’ll start with consignment sales, they’ll start things like that is just a way to get started. How did you parlay what was the next big step that you took to take it from one store in Alhambra into growing?
David Klein 7:26
Okay, next step was to call the Associated Press, I realized that I needed some publicity. I didn’t want to call the local newspapers and call them and I wanted to just call one place and have all the publicity taken care of. And in those days, Associated Press was huge. There was no internet, there was no I mean, it’s still huge. But in those days, I call them up. I talked to the editor of the business section, because I wanted the article to appear in the business section. I didn’t want it could be in the society section. And I said to him, I am the only Jelly Bean store in the world. And he said, that sounds very, very interesting. I said, Would you like to come down and see and he said, What are you doing on Sunday? I said, What time? He said 10 o’clock. I said, I will be there. So I called all my friends, a lot of my buddies, and I said, I’ve got a very important meeting on Sunday, at 10 o’clock. Can you please be there and stand in line in front of my Jelly Bean? And pretend you’re buying product? He said to me, it’s 1015 in the morning on a Sunday. Is it always this busy? I said, you should really see it when it’s really busy. Oh, that’s amazing. That was it. It was taken off. It was in the Chicago Tribune. I got a call from Marshall fields. They said we have $20,000 we want to buy the product. I said, Do you want to see it? He said no. I want it. competitors have it. And I said to him, I don’t really have them. I was honest with him. I said, I don’t really have the money to, I need you to pay for it in advance. Right? We’re Marshall fields, we don’t pay for anything in advance. But he said, here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to walk your invoice through accounting. The day I get your product, I will send you a check that day, and he kept his word.
Tyler Jorgenson 9:25
So he wasn’t able to prepay, but instead of like a net 30, net 90, he gave you a net zero he paid on the day he got product.
David Klein 9:33
Tyler Jorgenson 9:35
Yeah. And for those of you that if you’ve never done wholesale orders, right, a lot of times you’re shipping product and not getting paid on it for a month to three months. And that’s really hard, especially for a startup company. So that’s a great way that you were able to work through that and get that handled. Now. This is 1975 1976. Today, we’re in 2020, you know, years later, and you’re still in the candy business, and you’re in Again now you’re doing jelly beans that have CBD infused right?
David Klein 10:05
Correct their call it brought you
Tyler Jorgenson 10:06
all the way yeah what brought you all the way back around?
David Klein 10:09
Nothing ever stopped me from wanting to be in the Jelly Bean business every single day that I woke up in the morning I said I need to get back in the Jelly Bean business. Now if you watch my documentary Candyman the David Klein’s story, which is available on our webpage spectrum confections. You can watch it for free on there. You will see how I really was not that anxious to sell to Jelly Belly. They called me up and they said we’re coming to town. And I said I’ll pick you up at the airport. They said it’s not really that kind of a meeting, huh? And I said what kind of a meeting is it guys? They said we’re coming to town to buy your trademark and we’re not going to leave until we do. It was like selling your baby. I never wanted to sell This is back in 19 8019 1980. Correct.
Tyler Jorgenson 11:04
Wow. And so let’s take a leap a little bit from 1980 through getting back now into spectrum confections. You know, you did some other things. you’ve launched some other products and you’ve been in the industry. What were some of the other projects or products that you did during that time?
David Klein 11:19
I was the first person to create a sour licorice. And when we tasted it, everybody said, this is going to be a fad. Nobody this is not going to be a long Jeopardy product. And we created the first seller Gumball the first sour licorice. We created. Just never went. You’re too young to remember that when the yogurt stores were opening up and every block frozen yogurt? Yeah, yeah,
Tyler Jorgenson 11:48
no, absolutely. I owned it for a frozen yogurt chain when I was younger.
David Klein 11:52
Can it hurt? What area was it in?
Tyler Jorgenson 11:54
No, it was just it was I owned a single store of a franchise called hoagie Yogi in Southern California.
David Klein 12:00
Cool, we supplied penguins. Do you remember penguins?
Tyler Jorgenson 12:03
I remember penguins like down in San Diego we had a penguins.
David Klein 12:06
Yeah, pet we supplied penguins. And Jaime’s frozen yogurt
Tyler Jorgenson 12:11
David Klein 12:12
Yes, yes. We supply them with all of their gourmet toppings.
Tyler Jorgenson 12:17
Yeah, I remember the frozen yogurt craze, really through the mid 80s. Yeah,
David Klein 12:21
yeah, they really created scrapple we created all kinds of a unique yogurt until the yogurt market. Just one day it woke up and there was no yogurt market.
Tyler Jorgenson 12:33
That was a fascinating thing. And it’s resurged you know with pink Berry and guys like that
David Klein 12:37
pink pink berry did wonders for the for the yogurt industry.
Tyler Jorgenson 12:42
Yeah, and then now all the all the make build your own and then those guys are back. Man. That’s really fascinating. So what’s interesting is although most other people would consider you very entrepreneurial, you don’t consider yourself that is if you’re just a candy man. You just love creating Candy
David Klein 12:59
Candy I love starting something from zero, even below zero and watching it grow, if that’s an entrepreneur, okay, I’m an entrepreneur,
Tyler Jorgenson 13:08
in my opinion, that is the core and truest definition of an entrepreneur, there’s a very different stage once somebody, a business owner, or an executive, that’s a whole different stage, somebody who can come up with an idea and turn that idea into reality is at its core, in essence, an entrepreneur and I think you’ve done that over and over again.
David Klein 13:28
I have never done it thinking about how much money I’m gonna make. I do it can have fun to create something from zero to add something to the world to make people happy. And if the money comes, the money comes.
Tyler Jorgenson 13:42
That’s really neat. What is one product that you thought was going to just change the world that just never really got momentum?
David Klein 13:49
We’re still working on that right now. We call polar popcorn, and the best it’s like a caramel corn coated with ice cream. Home and birthday cake. And here’s the thing, it’s served at shelf stable, or you can ship it without freezing it. Or you can, the customer can put it in their freezer and serve it 25 minutes later. And it’s so fantastic as a frozen dessert.
Tyler Jorgenson 14:19
That’s really cool. I you know, it’s funny when people have those like unique combinations of food. I always say that I always say popcorn on ice cream and be like what really and it’s it’s a coolest combination. It’s really neat. Wow. So tell us a little bit like you’ve got so you’ve got polar popcorn. You’ve got some other products, you know that you’re working on right now through along with spectrum confections. Right? So tell us a little bit about like, why you’re getting into the CBD space.
David Klein 14:45
We got into it about 16 months ago. Mm hmm. My wife fell down in Colorado. She was in a tremendous amount of pain. We went into one of those legal type stores there. I purchased an edible for her And it made her feel good immediately and relieve the pain. On the way back to Florida. I said we need to get into the CBD animal business.
Tyler Jorgenson 15:11
So a similar thing right where you just you actually you wanted it was your core thing that you knew, right? Your candy correct and then something that you had seen a benefit and a way that it helped your personal life? That’s pretty cool. Correct. Now are you gonna have CBD popcorn?
David Klein 15:27
Probably not because it’s too hard to get an accurate dosage. Our dosage. On our Jelly Bean are 10 milligrams each. And we don’t want to just say to somebody, well, you gotta eat a handful of it of the popcorn. It’s hard to say how much is in each kernel.
Tyler Jorgenson 15:45
That makes a ton of sense. So what else I mean you’ve got your story is amazing. I encourage everyone to go check out Candy Man, the David Klein story, check out spectrum confections. Tell us a little bit about the treasure hunt that you guys are working on
David Klein 15:57
that treasure hat. I love new things. I love exciting things, we are going to have a treasure hunt that’s going to outdo any treasure hunt that has ever been in history. And all the details are going to be on LinkedIn very very soon. We’re working out the final details. You’re going to have fun. You’re going to it’s going to be exciting. And who doesn’t like a treasure hunt where they can find something and turn that into money?
Tyler Jorgenson 16:24
Yeah, that’s that most people like treasure hunts that are treasure.
David Klein 16:29
Yes, ours is gonna be totally different than anything else.
Tyler Jorgenson 16:33
Cool. Is that all you’re gonna give us right now? Is there any other
Unknown Speaker 16:36
David Klein 16:40
Believe me it’s worth waiting for.
Tyler Jorgenson 16:43
Okay. All right. So we will link if you’re on biz ninja radio comm you can see the link for the to David Klein’s LinkedIn. But otherwise you can look for him either under David Klein or Candyman on LinkedIn and follow Him there so you can get details of that when that launches. So David, you know Again, we’ve kind of done the book. And we’ve talked a little bit about the early days, we’ve talked about what you guys are working on right now. Since you don’t identify yourself as an entrepreneur, let’s talk just a little bit about how you’re a creator. Any advice to people who are wanting to create something?
David Klein 17:15
Where should they start? Go into any grocery store that’s got a nice selection, get a shopping cart, so they don’t wonder what you’re doing in there. And walk down the aisles, walk down the aisles and stop at everything and say to yourself, there’s some peanut butter over there, what can I do to improve that peanut butter?
Tyler Jorgenson 17:37
And that’s it just look for things.
David Klein 17:41
To make the product for you, don’t make it yourself. So when I
Tyler Jorgenson 17:46
I speak every once in a while, and I was speaking at your alma mater, Alma Mater, about a year ago at UCLA. And I was talking about I was talking on the subject of ideation, how to come up with a with a new idea. And I said, just look First things that suck, like in your daily life, if something just isn’t great,
David Klein 18:06
there’s no way. Yeah, make it great.
Tyler Jorgenson 18:09
Yeah, you’re right. And then so you’re a big believer in contract manufacturing. Why?
David Klein 18:13
First of all, let somebody make it. That’s all set up for the health department. And that’s all set up for everything that they’re going to need. And they have, they can probably have access to ingredients a lot lower than you could.
Tyler Jorgenson 18:28
So they’re all of the benefits from regulatory from cost savings from all of that everything.
David Klein 18:32
They’ve got access to sugar by the truckload. Yeah. And so they can probably give you a price that’s going to be very, very close to what you can make yourself.
Tyler Jorgenson 18:41
Yeah. When people get into manufacturing their own products, sometimes I think it’s the old adage of Pennywise and pound foolish. Yeah, you might be saving a few cents in your margin. But how many other you know pounds or nickels or dollars did you have to spend to save that Penny, right? You’ve got to hire more people. You’ve got to buy equipment and resources. There’s a time where scaling at scale, it might make more sense for you to do that. But at startup, when most people are starting with 100 bucks, you got to keep as much as you can, you know, in the company. So I’m a big believer in that as well. Starting with contracts, starting keeping your risks, diversified. Keeping simple, right? While you get started, you can focus on the core product and the core business.
David Klein 19:22
Exactly. The only problem is if it gets too big, your contract manufacturer might think that you’re making more than they are. And they more might want to take you over.
Tyler Jorgenson 19:33
Yep, I’ve seen it happen for sure. So what are some other cool things happening in the candy industry right now?
David Klein 19:38
That candy industry is just waiting for CBD to be more highly federally recognized by the FDA. And once that happens, you’re going to see an explosion in the candy industry of CBD edible products.
Tyler Jorgenson 19:54
Yeah, that makes sense. And that’s a kind of a Venn diagram. You look at the general trend. And then what your niche and industry is and you can find a place where that overlays and candy for you. That’s your niche. That’s your baby. And it makes sense that CBD is the next big frontier for you in that. Yeah, I think so what’s a candy that you didn’t create that you wish You did?
David Klein 20:15
I’ve always been fascinated. What if you take carbon dioxide under pressure? And that’s how those things that the big Brock has missed? Oh,
Unknown Speaker 20:27
David Klein 20:28
That’s how Pop Rocks was originally made by a division of General Foods of all people. And they didn’t know what to do with it. But I always wanted to get in on the pop rock action. And the patent has expired, by the way.
Tyler Jorgenson 20:41
Oh, interesting. So that’s more people. One of the few
David Klein 20:43
candies that can claim it’s got technological advance, and it can fall under it. You can get a patent on it.
Tyler Jorgenson 20:50
Interesting. Maybe now’s the time. Get into that auction.
David Klein 20:55
You never you never know.
Tyler Jorgenson 20:57
Alright, so we’ve learned about your hat. We’ve learned about The upcoming treasure hunt. We’ve learned about spectrum confections. What’s one other part of your entrepreneur? I’m gonna keep calling it your entrepreneurial journey that you just think people really need to know.
David Klein 21:11
I spend a great deal of my time helping people starting businesses. I enjoy doing that. I think in this world, you need to give something back to the world. And it’s not always about our charging $200 an hour or whatever. I love giving back to the world. I mean, I really enjoy it. And when they become successful, I enjoy their success.
Tyler Jorgenson 21:39
Yeah, that’s a big thing that I think more more business people need to be able to be okay with, right, like, especially most niches are not fully mature. And so to think that you have to compete for the same piece of pie is not understanding that the pie itself will grow if everyone works together, right? And so instead of competing for the small piece, like everyone grow. There’s a lot of opportunity out there. And there’s nothing wrong with celebrating other people’s success, in fact, for me is a lot more enjoyable to look at it that direction.
David Klein 22:10
Yeah, I agree. We both are on the same page.
Tyler Jorgenson 22:13
Yeah. Well, look, it’s been great getting to know you a little bit. David, for me, again, business about creating the lifestyle that you want. You’re still creating amazing things and doing really cool stuff. What’s one item on your personal bucket list that you’re going to accomplish in the next 12 months? Not candy related?
David Klein 22:31
Not candy related. Sorry about that.
Unknown Speaker 22:36
Okay, can we can treasure
David Klein 22:38
chest treasure chest is not candy related. Okay, well, there you go. Okay, let’s make it that
Tyler Jorgenson 22:45
deal. So this big the big treasure hunt that you’re working on? That’s, that’s bigger than just candy. That’s a bigger thing.
David Klein 22:51
It’s gonna be enormous. And if you would like it once it gets going, I would love for you to interview me for that.
Tyler Jorgenson 22:59
Okay. Sounds good. Well, awesome. I think anybody looking to get started, you’ve given them some huge pieces of advice on how they can, you know, look for new product ideas and some really wise wisdom on avoiding unnecessary costs at the beginning. I also loved your advice on how to get some great publicity, right and how to really make sure that publicity goes a long way. I thought that was great. Any last words of wisdom as we close out,
David Klein 23:25
I just want to wish everybody success and health. Just be happy and stay happy.
Tyler Jorgenson 23:32
Awesome, everybody. That was David Klein of spectrum confections, the original and founder and inventor of the Jelly Belly, which I’m sure you’ve all enjoyed, and now it’s your turn to go out and do something. Thank you for tuning in to biz ninja entrepreneur radio. What you didn’t hear was one more very important question that Tyler asks each guest if you want to be a fly on the wall when the real secrets are shared, go to biz ninja.com slash VIP and get your access today. Remember to subscribe so that you don’t miss any future episodes. And our one last favor. If this episode was meaningful to you, please share this podcast with a fellow entrepreneur so they can grow along with us biz ninjas, it’s your turn to go out and do something