Thrive Questionnaire: Dylan Lauren

The candy entrepreneur shares her best organizing hack and the power of forgiving yourself.

Courtesy of Dylan's Candy Bar
Courtesy of Dylan's Candy Bar

When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Anyone who has watched the Willy Wonka movies has dreamed of living in their own candy-coated world. For Dylan Lauren, that fantasy is a reality. The founder of Dylan’s Candy Bar (and daughter of fashion mogul Ralph Lauren), Lauren runs what’s now the largest confectionery emporium in the world with over 20 locations worldwide, offering over 7,000 candies to choose from. Even sweeter is her hard-earned wisdom on how to stay organized, create boundaries with technology, and the lessons she’s learned from her father about succeeding as a business leader.  

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed? 

Dylan Lauren: I try to do 20 minutes of Transcendental Meditation.

TG: What gives you energy?

DL: Going for a six-mile run in nature and looking forward to a matcha latte after.

TG: What’s your secret life hack?

DL: I use At-A-Glance weekly appointment books so I can see and take in the needs of the entire week and can then better control my schedule and manage priorities.

TG: Who is your role model right now?

DL: My dad, Ralph Lauren, who just celebrated 50 years of business and was knighted by Prince Charles for services to fashion. No matter his success, he continues to work as hard as he did when he first started; he remains kind, humble and follows his gut.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.

DL: Mental Snacks by Julio Melara. 

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?

DL: I still have a Blackberry Bold and remain loyal to it. I try to be cognizant of not checking emails when I am socializing, or two hours before bed. 

TG: How do you deal with email?

DL: I find email overwhelming as there never seems to be enough time to get back to people. I try to take each reply one by one, instead of skipping around or letting the amount freak me out.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it? 

DL: I usually call to check in on a friend or family member.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?

DL: This past November. Between the busyness of the holidays, social obligations, and my twins (then 3.5-year-olds) being under the weather — it was the perfect storm!

TG: What’s one thing your fans don’t know about you, but you wish they did?

DL: Despite my sweet tooth, I’m a health nut and have a library of nutrition books I study. Everything in moderation is what I have learned works best.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?

DL: When I see piles of to do lists with nothing crossed off! To recover from the feelings of failure and frustration, I first forgive myself by saying my favorite motto: “Awareness. Acceptance. Action!” Then, I strategize a plan by setting appointments in my schedule of when I will accomplish each task with a reasonable timeframe.

TG: Can candy actually bring about happiness? 

DL: 100,000 percent. As I explain in my book, Unwrap Your Sweet Life, between the serotonin lift and yummy taste of candy, the nostalgia it evokes of the happiest times, and its vibrant and cheerful colors and fun shapes, candy magically makes people feel like a kid at any age. 

TG: What makes a strong leader? 

DL: I think it’s a combination of many qualities particularly charisma, passion, emotional intelligence, and energy.

TG: People think that running a candy company is all fun — what is the reality of it?

DL: It’s like a mixed bag of candy. Mostly sweet with some sour, spicy, bitter, and hard challenges.

TG: What is your favorite candy?

DL: At the moment it’s Campfire Marshmallows but I’m obsessed with so many different candies, especially pink bubble gum, red cherry flavored gummies, divinity, and candy corn.

TG: How do you keep your team excited about work?

DL: I share my passion for Dylan’s Candy Bar and the endless unique opportunities our company has to truly impact people’s lives by igniting my teams’ inner child, inspiring their creativity and making the world a sweeter place.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.

DL:” “In times of restlessness is when the metamorphosis begins.” —Franz Kafka

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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