$397 raised out of $65,000
Overview
Concept

Sweet Hazel & Co is a lifestyle and allergen-friendly candy confectioner expanding to increase production and meet demand.

Story

The Why

Beyond being delicious, Sweet Hazel & Co candy bars are inclusive. The entire product range is dairy-free and egg-free with multiple options for gluten-free, nut-free and sugar-free. One of Chef Fee’s goals, as an LGBTQ+ woman, is to work as hard as possible to make sure as many people as possible never feel left out. Sweet Hazel & Co was founded on the principle of inclusion. It doesn’t matter if you’re not vegan, you can still eat the candy bars and genuinely enjoy them—inclusive eating.


It all began with a local Salt Lake City vegan group on Facebook. Group members would post in the feed asking where they could locate a certain item or if someone had a tried-and-true recipe for something the original poster (OP) hadn’t had since going vegan. Chef Fee, with her plant-based lifestyle and culinary arts background, began offering to the OP, “I can make that for you!” 

Being plant-based herself, Chef Fee didn’t want to settle for plant-based alternatives that tasted heavily of coconut or didn’t have a nice taste at all. So, she began dedicating her time to concocting plant-based sweets and treats that tasted just like, if not better, than the non-plant-based alternatives. And she was wildly successful.


Then the question came of how Chef Fee would turn her plant-based baking into a full-time gig. She began making plant-based candy bars in her kitchen. 

Sweet and soft fresh nougat 🤤

After some trial, mixed with a little bit of error, Chef Fee cultivated the proprietary recipe that became her plant-based Snix bar, which consists of plant-based nougat, caramel and peanuts dipped in semi-sweet traceable chocolate. Her Snix was immediately successful. Chef Fee has fond memories of feeling like she was dealing crack out of the back of her car as people lined up to meet her in grocery store parking lots to pick up their candy. Chef Fee realized right then and there that there was a bigger demand than she originally anticipated, and she was going to fulfill it. 

Chef Fee delivering plant-based candy out of the back of her car (2020)

Currently, there are over 14 tried, tested and true 100% plant-based candy bars being created at Sweet Hazel & Co, including:

  •  Crunchies: a sweet, crisp shortbread cookie layered with buttery caramel and hand-dipped in semi-sweet traceable chocolate.
  •  Gluten-Free (GF) Crunchies: a gluten-free sweet, crisp shortbread cookie layered with buttery caramel and hand-dipped in semi-sweet traceable chocolate.
  •  Peanut Snix: soft nougat, chewy caramel and salted peanuts layered together and hand-dipped in semi-sweet traceable chocolate.
  •  Almond Snix: soft nougat, chewy caramel and salted almonds, layered together and hand-dipped in semi-sweet traceable chocolate.
  •  Jumbo Peanut Butter Cups: semi-sweet traceable chocolate cups filled with creamy peanut butter.
  •  Sugar-Free PB Cups: sugar-free semi-sweet Lakanto® chocolate cups filled with creamy sugar-free peanut butter, sweetened with monk fruit erythritol.
  •  Easy Break: soft nougat and creamy peanut butter, layered together and hand-dipped in traceable semi-sweet chocolate.
  •  Take Two: buttery caramel, crunchy pretzels and creamy peanut butter, layered together and hand-dipped in semi-sweet traceable chocolate.
  •  Salted Peanut Bar: the ultimate sweet and salty combination of soft nougat sandwiched between extra excessively salty peanuts and buttery caramel.
  •  Salted Pecan Bar: an addition to the ultimate sweet and salty club, a combination of soft nougat sandwiched between salty pecans and buttery caramel.
  •  Caramel Pecan Turtle Bar: buttery caramel, partnered with the sweet buttery flavor of pecans, layered together and hand-dipped in semi-sweet traceable chocolate.
  •  Peanut Overload: buttery caramel layered with salty, roasted peanuts and creamy peanut butter, all hand-dipped in semi-sweet traceable chocolate.
  •  Galaxy Bar: soft nougat layered with chewy caramel, hand-dipped in semi-sweet traceable chocolate.
  •  Three Amigos: a light and fluffy chocolate nougat hand-dipped in semi-sweet traceable chocolate.  
Freshly dipped chocolate bars.

Due to limited funds, staff and equipment, Sweet Hazel & Co is unable to share the entire candy bar line nationwide. Only three are currently available to ship.

The success Sweet Hazel & Co has experienced so far tells us that the full candy bar line is ready for the next level—nationwide! And that’s where you come in.

Backers! Sweet Hazel & Co needs you! 

The funds raised through Kickstarter will allow us to purchase equipment, like a Chocolate Enrober, 40-Quart Mixer and Candy Packaging Machine. This equipment will make it possible to increase our candy bar production efforts.

If you’d like to see your favorite candy bar (but plant-based and allergen-friendly) at your local shopping establishment—so that you can pick one up anytime you’re craving that sweet treat—then we need your help!

Feeling like a kid again 🙂

Why Kickstarter?

We absolutely love the creative platform of Kickstarter and how it brings creators and backers alike together. Inclusivity is what Sweet Hazel & Co is all about. 

One of the branches of Sweet Hazel & Co is a local community co-op where we carry and sell products from other local plant-based creators. And in an effort to support local food vendors operating without a brick and mortar, Sweet Hazel & Co hosts weekly pop up events.

We have never—nor will we ever—see other creators as competition. We are confident in the product and level of service we offer and willingly support other businesses. We see the same approach with Kickstarter. It’s not competition, it’s “coopetition!” 

These candy bars deliver an experience.

The Where

We have exciting news that you’re reading here first—Sweet Hazel & Co is getting a new location! That’s right! In order for us to ship nationwide and provide artisan plant-based candy bars, we need more room for production.

Blueprints for the new Sweet Hazel & Co location.

The funds raised from this Kickstarter campaign will not only go towards new equipment for the candy process, but they will also help towards the costs of renovating our new commercial space! 

We’re going from renting a portion of a commissary kitchen to our own place! The new space will be 5,676 square feet, with an incredible kitchen, a space for our local co-op convenience shop, a dining room for guests to sit and enjoy a meal off the new Sweet Hazel & Co menu and a space dedicated to candy production! And we’ll still be supporting other local plant-based creators by having dedicated time slots for local pop ups, while our kitchen will be closed.

And this is only the first step in the Sweet Hazel & Co expansion.


The Who

Chef Fee: the woman who started it all. Sure, she didn’t invent the concept of vegan candy but she sure has elevated the industry as a whole. Even the “competition” is starting to take notice and reaching out for collaboration. But Chef Fee really doesn’t see anyone as competition, she views it as co-opetition. She supports anything to “help the cause” and supporting other plant-based creators aligns with her value of inclusivity. She’s confident in the fact that there’s only one Chef Fee, which not only means there’s no one else like her, but also that she’s going to need a lot of help to accomplish the goals she has for her business and the plant-based industry as a whole.

Chef Fee (right) and her partner, Lori (left)

Lori: Chef Fees life partner and biggest supporter. Lori has been here from the beginning and is always willing to lend a hand, whether it’s designing the storefront, building cake boxes, washing dishes, purchasing and delivering supplies or running the register. Lori gets it. She sees Chef Fee’s vision and loves her even more for it. Running a small business takes a lot out of a person and capitalizes a lot of their time and Lori still pushes Chef Fee to follow her dreams. She’s the type of person you’re thankful for every day.

Maria: The OG. Maria has been next to Chef Fee since the beginning when they were making candy in her kitchen. Maria assists in training new confectioners, while simultaneously creating candy masterpieces flawlessly and baking delicious cakes. She’s the super woman everyone needs on their team—there’s nothing she can’t do. She’s trustworthy, reliable, dependable and committed to her job so much so that she has a hard time leaving. Chef Fee has to force her out the door some days to make sure she’s spending time with her family. Maria is a true gem, who has dedicated and continues to dedicate long, hard days to the growth of this company. Sweet Hazel & Co wouldn’t be what it is today without her. 

Lola (left) and Maria (right)

Lola: The backbone of the process. Lola is the candy wrapping, dish washing, caramel cutting, chocolate dipping extraordinaire of the entire process. There isn’t anything Lola can’t do. Chef Fee knew there was something missing from her team and Lola was the perfect fit. Sweet Hazel & Co depends on Lola and her commitment to the team. We’re very thankful to work with her.

Kristen: The customer turned marketing strategist. When Chef Fee first began cooking out of her kitchen, Kristen was one of the customers in the local FB group making requests to have her favorite desserts veganized. She recognized what Chef Fee was capable of and supported the opening of the Sweet Hazel & Co storefront, morally and as a team member. Nowadays, Kristen is working on bigger projects (like Kickstarter) and utilizing her marketing background to help more people discover Chef Fee’s magical creations, because the world needs to know there are better options.

Kristen

Graci: the resilient Artisan. Graci has been a part-time candy confectioner at Sweet Hazel & Co since the beginning. She comes in on her days off from her other full-time job to support Chef Fee and her vision. Even though Graci lives with long-term medical conditions, she’s thriving and carries a glowing energy with her that is deeply missed when she’s away.

Graci

Jess: The Protege. Even though she has a hand in almost everything created at Sweet Hazel & Co, if there’s one thing Jess knows above everything else, it’s frosting. Not only does Jess love frosting, but she is the expert when it comes to making large batches of frosting that all taste consistently delicious. And as every good Chef knows, consistency is not only important, it’s crucial.  As Chef Fee’s team was ready to grow, she knew that Jess was going to be the solution to the challenges she was facing as an entrepreneur growing a small business and boy, was she right. Jess’ presence, and her ability to create in Chef Fee’s absence (just as Chef Fee would), have been fundamental in the growth of the company.

Jess

Precious: The Queen of Details and Organization. Where would Sweet Hazel & Co be without Precious? Precious runs the front of the house. She keeps the storefront clean and looking beautiful and stocks the community co-op fridges and freezer. She’s also the one who packs all the orders to ship and run errands for Chef Fee, including shopping for plant-based ingredients not provided by the supplier. Precious is a true professional plate spinner. If there’s something that needs to get done, she’ll not only get it done but it will be done timely, efficiently and beautifully.

Precious

Danely: The Artist. Chef Fee knows her limitations and included among those would be cake decorating. Is she capable? Yes. But Danely has a passion for art and it shows in her work. While Chef Fee might be the mastermind, Danely is the talent behind many of the intrinsically decorated cakes that leave Sweet Hazel & Co. One look will prove to you how dedicated she is to her craft. Danely strives every day to become the best version of herself that she can be and if something isn’t just right, she starts over. She fully encompasses the vision and values of Sweet Hazel & Co and has a bright and successful future ahead of her.

Danely

The What [You Get]

Postcard:

Every pledge counts and we are grateful for each and every backer. If all you’re comfortable with/able to spend is $5, we want to make sure that you know how appreciated you are! Backers of this pledge will receive a postcard of Sweet Hazel & Co’s namesake Hazel, Chef Fee’s cat. Hazel was a very integral part of Chef Fee’s story and an inspiration to choose a cruelty-free life and business. Chef Fee will personally sign each postcard.

Plant-Based Garlic Ranch Recipe:

Backers of this pledge will receive an electronic copy of Chef Fee’s top-selling Plant-Based Garlic Ranch Recipe. We literally cannot keep this item stocked in the fridges at Sweet Hazel & Co for very long. 

High-Quality Enamel Pins:

We have designed two enamel pins, exclusively for backers of this Kickstarter campaign. The pins are symbolic of inclusivity and love. The first pin is a deliciously colorful cupcake, resting on a plate stating, “Vegan for the Animals.”

The second pin is our limited edition kitty cat “Vegan for the Animals” pin that is near and dear to our hearts, given that Sweet Hazel & Co’s namesake is Chef Fee’s cat Hazel. These pins will never be created again.  They’re just for you, our sweet, sweet backers.


T-Shirt:

Vegan for the animals. Inclusive for the humans.

That says it all. That’s what we stand for here at Sweet Hazel & Co. Together, we work towards a safe and loving world for humans and animals, alike. All are welcome here and none will be rejected, regardless of lifestyle or allergy. We get it, everyone is on their own journey and that’s what we want to represent with this shirt.

Two color options: white and gray. Front and back are the same on all shirts, regardless of color.

Candy:

You have two options when it comes to the candy: you can either order a 4-pack from the list below or you can order a sampler package, which will include one of each candy bar (we don’t know what the future holds, but this may be the only time Sweet Hazel & Co does something like this sampler package). 


If you’re steadfast and you know what you like, the 4-pack is the option for you! The sampler is the ultimate opportunity to try every single candy bar, but that also means this will be the last option to be fulfilled as far as scheduling goes. We’ll be able to put together the sampler packages once we’ve completed the production for every single candy bar. 

Please also consider that we will be taking the time, energy and resources to wrap and ship additional items that we usually don’t wrap and ship. Currently our candy bars are sold unwrapped to save our customers money and reduce waste. So if you’re wondering why we’re asking for the pledge amount that we’re asking for, please take that into consideration, in addition to the following information:

The candy bars in the case at our storefront.

It takes a lot to “veganize”a candy bar, or make it allergen-friendly, a lot more effort than you may have ever considered. That’s why your backing means so much to us and our mission. Plant-based establishments pay extra for their ingredients and then they pay even more for allergen-friendly ingredients. But it’s not about the money for us, it’s about the recipient—you.  We want you to be able to enjoy sweets and treats without making compromises.

In addition to that, traditional food suppliers are only slowly adding plant-based ingredients as an option for their clients. Chef Fee and her team have to source a lot of the ingredients themselves by visiting multiple stores, which takes a lot of time and dedication. Then you have to consider that all of these recipes have never existed before. Chef Fee couldn’t just open a cookbook and create what she saw. Everything at Sweet Hazel & Co has come from Chef Fee’s head, and heart, and it would be impossible to add up the hours for that endeavor.

So, with all that being said, we just want to thank you for backing us and understanding that what you’re receiving is so much more than your average gift basket or candy bar.

Coffee Date Gift Basket:

We will never be able to properly express the gratitude we have towards any backers who choose to support Sweet Hazel & Co, but we tried our best by putting a lot of thought and effort into the rewards. 

For the coffee date gift basket we thought about elements that make Sweet Hazel & Co the company that it is. First and foremost, is our love for animals (especially cats) so we included two cat themed coffee mugs (the design of the coffee mugs may change but they will remain thoughtful and cute nonetheless). Then we added some extra special goodies Chef Fee created from the heart, including her delicious plant-based coffee creamer, caramel chews and rich and buttery cookie bars (for two) and ended with including a fellow high-quality plant-based creator, Vegan Hound Beanery.

A lot of time and love went into selecting and creating the elements inside of the basket, what you’re receiving with this pledge is so much more than your average gift basket or candy bar. 

Coffee Date ‘Thank You’ Gift Basket

Plant-Based Picnic Basket:

Our picnic basket is a fun one, filled to the brim with lots and lots of delicious, locally made food. We’ve partnered with other creators to bring you the plant-based picnic of your dreams! As a thank you for your pledge, you’ll receive fresh baked bread from Sweet V Chocolates, creamy mayo created by Chef Fee, Vegan Daddy Meats Smoky Slices (think plant-based roast beef, if you haven’t already tried it), Season’s Cheese* (the best plant-based cheese available on the market), Salsa Del Diablo Utah Made Yellow Corn Tortilla Chips (crispy, salty and perfect), Sweet Hazel & Co house-made Salsa, a Sweet Hazel & Co house-made cheese ball, an assortment of fresh veggies* with Sweet Hazel & Co Garlic Ranch and Sweet Hazel & Co candy bars for dessert.

And it will be your choice to have us prepare your picnic for you or provide the fixings for you to prepare yourself later.

*Season’s Cheese comes in an assortment of flavors (all of them delicious), the flavor provided will be based on availability. Veggie assortment will vary, depending on seasonal selection.

Picnic Basket Overflowing with Local Flavor 🤤

Exclusive First Access

Come join the party! There are a limited numbers of spots available for this pledge because we want to make sure that we can provide an exclusive and intimate event for those backers who feel passionate enough to support Chef Fee and Sweet Hazel & Co at this level. As stated before, there will never be the appropriate words to express our gratitude, but we’re sure going to try.

Backers of this pledge will get exclusive first access to the new Sweet Hazel & Co location before anybody else. But that’s not all. These backers will get to explore every inch of the new location and get to taste new menu items and special treats, like fresh nougat, in a party-like setting. And if you like Chef Fee’s plant-based nougat, you have got to try it fresh. Talk about leveling up!

This pledge will be fulfilled as soon as the new location is ready to open, before the doors open to the general public. We are expecting that to be end of August/early September and will communicate the expected timeline with backers as the renovation develops.

Private Candlelit Full-Course Dinner for Two with Chef Fee

Have you ever dreamed of having a private chef? Then this is your chance! Backers of this pledge will get a romantic plant-based dinner for two with a private meal created just for you by Chef Fee. This pledge has the potential to be fulfilled at a location of your choosing, as long as it works for Chef Fee and there’s a full-size kitchen for her to work in. This pledge includes a full-course dinner for two with romantic ambience, including roses and candles. If you love Chef Fee, and you believe in what she’s doing, and you have the resources to support Sweet Hazel & Co in this capacity, then this is the pledge for you!

Veganize Your Favorite Candy Bar

We understand this pledge is not for everyone, but we’re dreaming big here (can you blame us?)! For the pledge we’d love to have someone like Lizzo, Billie Eilish, Mark Cuban, Joaquin Phoenix or another amazing and plant-based celebrity step up and support our efforts.  So if there’s any truth to the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, someone reading this has to know a plant-based celebrity or know someone who knows a plant-based celebrity, and we’re pleading with you—please send them our way! We’d love to “veganize” a candy bar for them and give it a clever name in their honor too! 

We’ll send backers of this pledge exclusive updates regarding their candy bar, and provide them with 48 pieces of the final results—that’s a 4-pack for every month of the year. There are some exclusions that will apply, so if you have questions or would like to discuss the potential of your personal candy bar, please contact hello@sweethazelandco.com. This pledge will be fulfilled after establishing the new Sweet Hazel & Co location.

 Thank you for taking the time to check out our Kickstarter! We really appreciate your consideration of making a pledge and becoming a backer. We look forward to achieving inclusive eating together!

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