Talk about a cloud-based business — Wondermade is producing clouds of fluffy goodness in the form of marshmallows. It all started one Christmas when Nathan Clark was at a loss for what to get his wife, Jenn. “Every Christmas we come up with a creative gift for each other, and I was stumped,” says Clark, who is also a pastor at Northland, A Church Distributed in Longwood. “The gift is never about dollars; it’s about intent. It’s a week before Christmas, and I don’t have a gift for the person I love the most.”
Googling for Gifts
Clark decided to hit Google for inspiration. In the process of searching for candy recipes, he realized that he had everything except a candy thermometer in order to make marshmallows. So, he bought a thermometer and put together a stack of marshmallow recipes. “I wasn’t quite sure she would be impressed with a bundle of recipes as a present,” he says. But she was impressed, and they quickly got to work making a batch. They were fabulous. “When you make marshmallows, you can’t just make a few. Each batch produces hundreds,” he says. The Clarks, parents to four children — Sebastian (9), Harper (7), Arden (4) and Augustin (2) — shared them with friends from church and school. “Soon we had people asking us to make them a batch for Teacher Appreciation Week, as gifts and more,” says Clark.
A Marshmallow Is Born
Thus, Wondermade was born. That was in 2010; by 2011, the Clarks officially started the business. “We realized there was an opportunity to do what we loved, and it also made people feel special, so we spent a year designing our logo and developing a business plan. We wanted to do it in a way that communicated that sense of love and wonder that we had experienced along the way,” says Clark, whose title is marshmallow agent. Jenn’s title is marshmallow maker.
Wondermade now has a “magical marshmallow workshop” in downtown Sanford and employs anywhere from six to 40 people depending on the season. There you may even catch the Clarks’ older children putting together boxes while the younger children conduct taste tests. After all, says Clark, “It is a family business.”
At the workshop, the Clarks create and test recipes for flavored marshmallows, such as lavender, orangesicle, lemon, root beer and even adult faves, such as Guinness (yes, the beer) and bourbon. Plus, the Clarks have seasonal specialties, such as pumpkin pie and maple bacon flavors for fall. “We use real ingredients — no fake coloring,” he says. A box of 16 marshmallows will run you $7.50, and the adorable packaging is delightful for gift-giving.
Growing a Business, Growing a Family
Clark says the growth of Wondermade has been a blessing. “When you’re doing something well, people notice, and they ask you to do it well often. We thought we prepared for the business by setting sales goals, but we hit them, and it was surprising to us,” he says. But he wouldn’t have it any other way. “Growing a business parallels so well with growing a family. There’s a constant level of surprise. You can’t plan for everything that will come along, so you just hope and trust you built a solid foundation so things will continue to run smoothly.”
Check out all the Wondermade marshmallow flavors at www.wondermade.com.