Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Sugar Diva: Meet Dianne Wood {Exclusive Interview}

You may have noticed a surge of striped paper straws being used in many staged children's party photo shoots well as for weddings, baby showers and especially on dessert tables! Wondered where to find them? Look no further, Dianne of The Sugar Diva supplies the most fabulous paper straws (and other great goodies) around!

I have worked with Dianne first-hand, and can say that she is a truly remarkable woman, full of kindness and grace, professionalism and absolutely fabulous paper straws! I adore the polka dot ones she recently added to her already wonderful collection of stripes.

It brings me great joy to share with you an interview I recently conducted with her, and I believe you will really enjoy learning about Dianne and The Sugar Diva...including some HUGE businesses she supplies for.

{Question} Please tell us about The Sugar Diva, and everything from the conception of the idea to where your business is today!

After becoming burnt out from being in the sewing business for over 24 years designing and making a line of women’s and children’s clothing, I was looking for a new adventure to carry me for the next phase of my life.

We started our little gourmet business about 10 years ago after creating The Original Cocoa Cone…..Yes, it was all my idea. I’ll never forget taking that hot chocolate filled cone to wholesale market in Atlanta and watching the store buyers going nuts over it. Since then we’ve expanded our line into gumballs and candies and have just started to add paper party supplies.

The Sugar Diva products are sold and shipped to stores nationwide and with the addition of our new Paper Straws, we are now shipping worldwide…!!! We pride ourselves on quality and design paying close attention to every detail and make every effort to create and ship the best product possible. You may have seen our goodies in retail establishments such as Home Goods, TJXX, Marshalls, Disney World, Chasing Fireflies Catalog, Gooseberry Patch, The Biltmore House, Blockbusters, Ritz Carlton, Barnes & Noble College Bookstores and many, many more. Our fun line of gourmet candies, gumballs and hot chocolate fit well into many types of stores from your local Hallmark to casinos, resorts, drug stores, specialty shops and boutiques.

Since launching our new Paper Straws in November, we are now shipping worldwide and have MORE exciting news that we’ll be sharing with you SOON…!!! I’ve been asked to design custom straws for some really exciting stores and establishments with names I KNOW you will recognize. And I can’t wait to tell you about some new stores that will soon be stocking our designer paper straws…!!!

Who would have thought that designing that first little Cocoa Cone would take us on such an exciting new journey and offer me yet another outlet to expand my creative passion? I’m a firm believer of following your heart and doing what you LOVE.

{Question} What inspires you when selecting your products (including colors, designs, etc)?

I think what inspires me the most is the passion for my business and the desire of always wanting to create. I simply love thinking of new ideas and trying something that’s not so available. Paying attention to the newest trends and putting a fresh new twist on an existing product to make it more appealing or fun. I’m not one to go with the new hot color for the season. NO, I like to create a new look or color and make it HOT…!!!

 Make it different, make it mine..!!! Be a trend setter, not a follower…!! With that said I must add, there have been plenty of times that I’ll be well on my way in designing something brand new that’s not “out there”, only to have it pop up somewhere before I get mine completed. This just shows us how creative minds think alike.

{Question} Please tell us a bit about yourself!

Wow…it seems that each time I start a new “hobby”, it ends up being turned into a business…!! I’m married to the best hubby ever who supports me in all my endeavors and works with me in our business. We have two amazing daughters, four adorable granddaughters, two wonderful son-in-laws, a spoiled rotten longhaired doxie named Pearl, in addition to my Mom and the rest of our large family. I’m a lucky girl..!!! Educational is basic high school and the road of hard knocks learning my way into business with help from no one, just lots of hard work and a few amazing opportunities.

 I trained with Dorothea Johnson at the Protocol School of Washington to become a certified etiquette consultant. This opened up a new business adventure in teaching etiquette classes and holding Tea Parties. We were honored to be featured in two of Paula Deens Christmas magazines last month as well as Hoffman Media’s Celebrate Christmas and Southern Lady. Watch for us in the spring issue of Romantic Homes new magazine, YUM for Kids..!!

{Question} What are your goals for The Sugar Diva in 2011, and what steps do you plan to take to achieve them?

Our goals moving into 2011 is the addition of brand new party paper products that will compliment and match our existing line of fun colorful gourmet goodies and paper straws.

Our new paper product line will be launched and branded under the title PAPER SUGAR and we’ve created a whole new web site for this: It’s still in the works so you may not find products their just yet. So keep checking back to find lots of sweet party papers and more…!! Not to worry however, these same paper products will be added to The Sugar Diva site as well.

{Question} Can you give us any hints or previews of new products, colors or patterns we might see in your online store in coming months?

We have 20 new party favor bags designs that include classic hounds tooth, sweet ginghams in 5 yummy colors, black and yellow stripes and dots for bumble bee parties and red with black dots for Minnie Mouse or lady bug themes. And the list goes on!!!

We also have new Paper Straw designs and colors. One is a double stripe of Aqua Blue/Sea foam Green that I designed to look like water, waves, pool, ocean, tropical or spa. This has a matching two color dots straw with the look and feel of “Bubbles” and I can’t wait to get creative with these.

Two other brand new products in the works and you’ll only get a “hint” here, is something fun and fabulous for picnics and cookouts……and all I can say about the other one is…..Watch your mail….these are sure to be a hit and loads of FUN..!!!

We will soon be adding “Party Packs” to our product line that will include: Party Favor Bags…Paper Straws…Cupcake Toppers…and Polka Dot Balloons. These will be offered in various themes to make your shopping EASY…!!!!

You can also expect a new Red/Green Stripe straw for Christmas and an Orange/Black one for Halloween….Coming Soon..!!!

OK…..enough about ME..!!! I would like to extend my greatest appreciation to Kate Landers for giving me this opportunity to share my business and passion with you. She is such an amazing talented gal herself and I’m honored to be featured here on her blog among so many other talented women who like myself have stepped out and created their own success in the business world. Cheers to all…!!!

A tremendous thank you to Dianne for this incredible, insightful interview! I thoroughly enjoyed it, and cannot wait to see all these wonderful new projects from The Sugar Diva in the works!


Dianne said...

Thnak you so much Kate for this interview. Your work is amazing and I appreciate you adding The Sugar Diva to your blog list.

Looking forward to more creative parties from YOU..:)
All the best,

Sprinkles Bath & Body said...

I luuuuuuuuuv paper straws for so many reasons. Mainly because they are just so darn cute! My newest creation uses them in my Lip Lolly. You can check it out here:

The Sugar Diva Rocks!

J. At Your Service said...

I adore Sugar Diva! And I absolutely LOVE paper straws as well! This is definitely a go to place for colorful cuteness. Can't wait to order some straws I've been eyeing for my son's 2 birthday party!

Lissa (The Wedding Bistro at Bellenza) said...

Stripes, polka dots, hearts, stars...all absolutely adorable! Thanks for featuring The Sugar Diva!