Second Life Podcast: How One Date Inspired a Multimillion Dollar Company

Welcome to MyDomaine's Second Life podcast, a series spotlighting successful women who've made major career changes—and fearlessly mastered the pivot. Hosted by Hillary Kerr, co-founder and chief innovation officer at MyDomaine's parent company, Clique Brands, each episode will give you a direct line to women who are game changers in their fields. Subscribe to Second Life on iTunes, and stay tuned—we'll be releasing new episodes on Mondays.



Second Life

If you've given or received a gift in the last six years, you've probably heard of Sugarfina, the luxury candy brand made for grown-ups. The champagne gummy bears and other adult-friendly candies wouldn't exist had it not been for Rosie O'Neill and a particularly good date she went on to see Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with her now business partner and fiancé, Josh Resnick. Prior to starting her own whimsical venture, O'Neill was working in brand management at Mattel for Barbie. "When I did eventually step away and start Sugarfina, it's like I knew how to do it and I didn't even realize I knew how to do it," she tells Hillary Kerr on episode 30 of Second Life.

O'Neill landed her first dream job while she was studying for her MBA at UCLA. "It was a total childhood dream of mine to work for Barbie," she says. An internship during business school led to a full-time job at Mattel that she saw through while finishing her last year of school. Passionate about the brand, she stayed at the company for seven years before getting the itch to do more, something she attributes to meeting her now fiancé.

"When I realized sort of what it felt like to find my destiny in love, all of the sudden I started thinking Have I found that in all these other areas of my life?" she tells Kerr. Then, on a date to see Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, she and Resnick got to thinking about why there weren't any candy stores for grown-ups, and the rest is history. The pair left their full-time jobs in March of 2012 with some savings and idea, and Sugarfina launched online in July of 2012.

Although it was quickly a success, O'Neill reveals that there were tough times behind the scenes. Her advice to her younger self? "Don't doubt yourself. … Get comfortable doing things when you're not sure if it's going to work out."

Head to iTunes to subscribe to Second Life and hear the full episode.