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How Changing Its Packaging Helped This Company Find Sweet Success A new candy company wanted to present itself as fun and high-end. Its packaging sent a very different message.

By Jason Feifer

This story appears in the May 2017 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Little Secrets / Beardwood

In the spring of 2015, Chris Mears was in supermarkets handing out samples of his new premium, M&M-style candies, called Little Secrets. "Oh," one woman said, "this is perfect for my kids." Another customer ate a chocolate and said, "I didn't think it would taste this good!" Both were meant as compliments, but they made Mears anxious. His candy wasn't for kids. And quality shouldn't have been a surprise.

Related: 4 Creative Ways to Use Free Samples to Grow Your Business

The problem was easy to diagnose. "When people say things like that, it's clearly a packaging issue," he says now. The premium-­chocolate market is full of self-serious brands like Ghirardelli, and he'd wanted something more welcoming. He imagined his candy appealing to 30-somethings after a long workday, so he created a bright, busy bag. To riff on the name (a nod to how people tend to eat chocolate alone), he added mythical creatures like unicorns. But as he discovered, this all made his candy look cheap -- turning off customers and many major retailers.

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