Watch CBS News

Aurora candy maker Jana Farmer enjoys the sweet taste of success

Chicago candy maker Jana Farmer enjoying the sweet taste of success
Chicago candy maker Jana Farmer enjoying the sweet taste of success 02:05

CHICAGO (CBS) -- There's nothing like the sweet taste of success.

That's why one Aurora candy maker is opening her doors to other up-starts.

CBS 2's Sara Machi takes us inside Ms. Jana's Candy kitchen.

"I was pleasantly surprised to find out how little I knew about the business that I actually thought I was ready for. It's hard work. It really is hard work to make the leap from the farmer's market to the marketplace.

There's no real recipe for success. So Jana Farmer said she learned the hard way, after launching her organic, butter-based candy business in 2018.

First, using her church kitchen, before finding stability in her own location.

"I literally went knocking on doors."

Taking her product to pop-ups, navigating through the pandemic, and inflation, with guidance from other kitchen incubator organizations in the process.

"A lot of people have helped me along the way (and) filled in gaps with things I thought I knew and I did not. Now that I have a knowledge I would like to pass it on to other people," Farmer said

To pay it forward, Farmer has opened her kitchen to other start-ups, letting them use it for photo shoots, food demonstrations and an apprentice's workshop.

"I asked if she could allow me to do an internship and right away she said yes. She said yes. So when I was leaving, I leapt out."

A culinary arts student from Freetown, Sierra Leone, Humu Knox practices caramels, learning Farmer's business model but adapting all recipes to use the ingredients she can find in her home country.

And this cycle of support could continue, because Knox said her plan is to move back to Sierra Leone, taking the lessons that she learned here and spread them to even more entrepreneurs.

"I am grateful that Ms. Jana gave me that opportunity to pass on the knowledge and mentorship to me which I will be passing onto some generation down the line," Knox said.

Farmer caters to corporate clients. Knox will target tourists. But with each creation, these women showing there's nothing sweeter than success. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.