Yvette Mannion has spent the last several years providing sweets to events across the Bay Area with her company SF Candy Bar. Her story, though, wasn’t always sweet. She was born in San Francisco, but moved to Grass Valley, Calif. because her parents wanted her and her siblings to grow up in a safer, more kid-friendly environment.
“Shortly after we moved to Grass Valley, my dad got into a motorcycle accident; he broke his back. The accident left him paralyzed from the waist down and put him in a wheelchair,” shared Mannion. The accident was tragic, and impacted not only her childhood, but her sister’s and brother’s.
They all had to help their father a lot, especially after her parents divorced when she was 9 years old. “After my parents divorced, we ended up staying with my dad because he needed us to help him. My mom lived in Auburn, which is the city next to Grass Valley. My mom eventually remarried and is still happily married to this day,” stated Mannion.
Her weekends were spent with her mom, and her weeks were balanced between helping her dad and being an “A” student in most of her classes. Academically, she generally excelled in most subjects from elementary to high school, and felt like school was really easy for her. She wasn’t very much involved with sports or extracurricular activities, but was most interested in fashion, shopping, and socializing. “I like to think that I hung around the ‘cool’ crowd, but, overall, looking back we were a bunch of kids trying to fit in, while figuring out who we should be when we grew up,” stated Mannion
After spending several years as a paralegal, Mannion decided she wanted to dive into entrepreneurship in 2011. She soon learned that the transition from the legal field to entrepreneurship was a lot easier than expected “I felt like my legal background prepared me to feel comfortable getting the business set-up, and preparing all the filings. The legal field trained me to have a high level attention to detail, which was a key asset in starting a candy buffet catering company,” shared Mannion, “the legal field also taught me to do my best in being two steps ahead of clients so that my team and I can anticipate the needs of clients with ease.”
One of the first lessons learned in shaping and growing SF Candy Bar, was that serving larger crowds was a better business model and more fitting for her. This lesson helped her scale her business, and allowed her to be profitable within her first year.
From those first lessons comes the first successes. Her first memorable business success was booking a 3,500 guest event for Facebook’s 10 year anniversary party. “We booked this event in the earlier stages of SF Candy Bar and learned a lot about prepping, quantities, and how to anticipate crowds on a large scale. I felt that this event was a success because it showed me that working with top Silicon Valley companies was very attainable if you provide a good service and quality product,” shared Mannion.
The next steps for SF Candy Bar are to tie in a passion of Yvette. One of her personal goals when she entered the legal field was to help children and families with international adoption. However, when she decided that the needs of the legal field no longer complimented her key strengths, she almost gave up on the idea that she could help children abroad.
“Through the years of growing SF Candy Bar, I have always had the urge to figure out a way to integrate helping children into the candy business. Therefore, with all my knowledge and experience in understanding what candies appeal to large crowds, I plan to bring a candy product to market. My goal is to start local, and once we get a positive response locally we want to introduce our candy product to other regions in the country,” shared Mannion, “I pray that the right element of philanthropy can be integrated into giving back to local and international NGOs. I feel that by giving back, this will motivate me as an entrepreneur to have purpose in going to work everyday, and that my work is larger than just myself.”
Mannion knows all too well, that living the startup life can take up a lot of aspects of your life. This year she has decided to give back to herself. “I love spending time with my boyfriend, David, and beautiful cockapoo, Bella.”
Together she and David attend a San Francisco Church in the mission district, enjoy doing Yoga, and traveling (both locally and abroad). Other free time is enjoyed with her family and friends, frequenting great San Francisco restaurants, fashion, green smoothies and now starting to brew her own Kombucha.
“This last year has taught me that life is not just about work, but instead life is about appreciating the simple everyday things such as my health and the health and happiness of my loved ones,” shared Mannion.
If you are looking to add some sweets to your next event, give Mannion and her SF Candy Bar a chance. In her own words, her business is, “Sweet, Creative, Fun.”