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Business Plan

A sweet business that’s all in the family

Kirstyn Pearl is the owner of Seacoast Sweets.

Mark Lorenz for the Boston Globe

Kirstyn Pearl is the owner of Seacoast Sweets.

Kirstyn Pearl’s grandfather had a tradition of making peppermint patties for friends and family during the holidays. Pearl would help, and in 2010, using his handed-down recipe, she launched Seacoast Sweets out of her Bentley University dorm room.

Word spread, demand grew, and Pearl added more flavors to her roster.

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She graduated, joined a commercial real estate firm in Boston — where she works full time — and earned a master’s in business administration from the University of Massachusetts.

She continued making the confections during the holidays, pulling all-nighters in the family’s West Newbury kitchen and packaging boxes in her car during lunch breaks from her day job.

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In October 2015, she decided to “go bigger or go home’’ and expanded to a year-round operation.

We talked with Pearl, 26, founder, chief executive officer, marketer, and sole chocolatier of Seacoast Sweets.

Q. Growth?

A. Although the company has been around six years, the past six months have been a whirlwind. We sold more boxes in the last 60 days than in the previous five years, as a result of going year round.

Q. Market?

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A. Corporate gifts at conferences, open houses, business meetings, and company outings; tags can include the company’s logo. Wedding favors. A weekly Sunday gig at the Newburyport Farmers Market, the Nantucket Wine Festival, and the South End Open Market for the summer.

Q. Retail?

A. Select stores — Sage Market and Design in Newburyport, Newburyport Olive Oil Company, and Rebecca’s Café in Boston. The product has a coastal feel, but is more upscale and modern. I’m not going to keep it local; I want to be everywhere. Online purchases.

Q. Flavors?

A. Peppermint, peanut butter, s’mores, and coconut patties; caramel, almond, and sea salt bark.

Q. Cost?

A. $29 for a box of 12 patties, one flavor or an assortment; $12 for four patties; $29 for bark. A dollar from the purchase of every box of 12 is donated to Dream Big, which provides basic items and fees to low-income girls so they can participate in sports and physical activities.

Q. Employees?

A. I’m a one-man show. I make all of it myself, package and sell it. My 17-year-old brother helps me 12 hours a week.

Q. Future?

A. I want to build a team, automate equipment, hire for the kitchen, get a consultant to help manage the sales process, and get more funding. There is a Kickstarter campaign through February. I refuse to let the momentum die.

Wendy Killeen can be reached at wdkilleen@gmail.com.
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