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Brand Builder

Episode 20 | How JJ Rademaekers Built a Company out of Pure Imagination

By February 12, 2018 February 13th, 2018 3 Comments

Episode 20 | How JJ Rademaekers Built a Thriving Candy Biz out of Pure Imagination

with JJ Rademaekers, Founder and CEO at JJ’s Sweets

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Some people follow their dreams in a figurative sense. And then there’s JJ Rademaekers.

JJ is the founder and CEO of JJ’s Sweets. Their signature product is an award-winning, coconut milk caramel called Cocomels, and the idea for Cocomels literally came to JJ in a dream.

For this special episode of Brand Builder, we sent our intrepid field reporter Travis Miller to Boulder, CO to see where JJ launched JJ’s Sweets, and to learn how he went from scientist, to musician, to candy maker, and finally to candy CEO.


  • Don’t cut those corners. JJ shares a few lessons he learned the hard way.
  • Build the right team for your growth stage. JJ explains why he’s built a hybrid team, when to make that first critical hire, and how he iterates his team as the business scales.
  • Get your product in the hands of influencers and media. The proverbial (coconut) cream rises to the top. JJ tells you how to share your product with taste makers to create some earned media magic.

Jump to

  • JJ describes the dream that inspired Cocomels. 2:35
  • Some of the early failures JJ encountered while managing his own candy production. 6:29
  • Tips for rebranding. 8:27
  • How Cocomels ended up in Oprah magazine. 11:34
  • JJ’s newest creation, and the process he took to develop and launch the product. 13:13
  • Why networking is so crucial to building out your business. 14:41
  • Tips for maximizing your experience at trade shows. 18:56
  • How to build your team to your growth stage, and how to adapt as your business scales. 22:50
  • How to keep the big picture in view. 26:05


Have an idea for the show? Drop us a line!

Brand Builder is a co-production of SnackNation and ForceBrands.


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