Making a Mint
Entrepreneurs: Amy Katz, 39, & Donna Slavitt, 38
Company:World Packaging Corp.
Location: New York City
Projected 2005 Sales: $9 million
Description: Manufacturer and distributor of promotional, private-label and licensed items--most notably the Clik Clak line of mint- and candy-filled tins
Side Project: Donna Slavitt worked in both the hospitality and retail arenas early in her career, but it was a job in Old Navy's prototype coffee and candy division that led her to her passion--creating fun candy and mint tins. Wanting to branch out with her own specialty retail creations full time, she enlisted the help of college friend Amy Katz, who also works as a corporate lawyer.
Explosive Growth: The pair's first success came in 1997 with a retail product called WebFuel--a mint tin in the shape of a computer mouse that was designed to market websites. WebFuel attracted the attention of big names like AT&T, IBM and Microsoft at the beginning of the internet boom. Says Slavitt, "We started getting calls [saying], 'What can you make for us?'" That launched the company into the private-label arena, creating promotional tins for other companies. Their pivotal moment, however, came in 1999, when they signed an exclusive agreement to distribute candy- or mint-filled Clik Clak tins in the U.S. (the Clik Clak tins were being manufactured and distributed by a French company primarily to European outlets). Named for the sounds the tins make upon opening and closing, the Clik Clak line became a staple of World Packaging Corp. and quadrupled the company's revenue.
Success on the Street: Slavitt and Katz have created specialty candy-filled tins and other items with official Major League Baseball, NBA and NFL licenses, and have worked with clients like Henri Bendel and Kate Spade. Next on the list: an organic confection line to complement their already-yummy candy offerings. The actual "we've arrived" moment for the pair? "I saw one of our Clik Clak tops melted into the tar of a New York City street," says Slavitt. "I thought, 'When you start seeing your own brand as litter, you know you've really made it.'"