Dylan Lauren is a real life Willy Wonka. She’s the proprietor of Dylan’s Candy Bar, a chain of candy boutiques with locations from New York to LA, including a particularly delightful installation on Chicago’s Mag Mile. The daughter of fashion legend Ralph Lauren, Dylan is an entrepreneur, a style icon, a former reality show star … and a mom to twin 11-month-olds.
The interior of her eye-popping store at 445 N. Michigan Ave. spirals upwards like a Technicolor Guggenheim Museum. Candy-themed music plays, video monitors show vintage candy commercials, and shelves and displays are chockablock with a treasure trove of sweets, candy-themed fashion, and even a Dylan’s branded stroller.
Motherhood, the charming candy empresaria says, has inspired her to expand the parts of the store appealing to kids–more baby and kids clothes, toys (think irresistible cupcake pillows), as well as a party room featuring candy games and crafts. Fixtures outside the door and everywhere in the two-story space look like enormous lollipops. Children entering the store are immediately agog.
Balancing motherhood and mogulship has, of course, been a challenge for Dylan, who now gets a bit heartbroken when she has to travel. “You lose a lot of personal time when babies come along; you can’t be as selfish. But you more than make up for it with the gains of love and happiness,” she says.
She admits it takes practice for her to fairly share love and time with the twins (Cooper and Kingsley), their dog who is jealous of the new arrivals and her husband. The couple’s favorite moments come when they take the family on walks in the park. “I’ve learned a lot about unconditional love and patience.”
Dylan’s Candy Bar store is whimsical must for Chicago families for ice cream, fudge or savory foods from the cafe. And who could resist the charm of a romantic date to Dylan’s for a cocktails like a Pop Rocks and gin or a vodka Creamsicle float?
The new mom doesn’t balk at the intersection of parenting and her sugary business pursuits: “Everything in moderation,” she says assuredly.