At age 18, Cloë Lane decided that she wanted to sugarcoat her life. So she got a cotton candy cart, set out to make her own dream job—and Bon Puf was born.
Based in Los Angeles, Bon Puf is an organic cotton candy company that has taken cotton candy to the next level. Topped with everything from dried fruit to edible glitter (or even served on top of an acai bowl), this cotton candy has been transformed from its simple, single-flavor version into something that can now be considered wholly gourmet.
"A lot of people are really tripped out," Lane says with a laugh. "They'll come to my cart and ask for a simple cotton candy. They don't realize there are so many different options."
Fresh out of high school, Lane took some time to travel and work, saving up to buy what would soon become her most prized possession: a cotton candy cart. From there, she started experimenting and realized that organic cane sugar could be spun just as easily as the flossing sugars used to make the classic, fairground-style cotton candy. "Then, it was just a process of finding what flavors were out there that were plant-based and all-natural, mixing those with cane sugar, and then just really letting the machine do the magic," she says.
While many people may think of cotton candy as its own flavor, Lane has challenged the notion that this sugar-based treat has to be simple, bright pink or blue, and served exclusively at carnivals and fairs. Looking to make a sweet snack even sweeter, she created the first Bon Puf by sprinkling Pop Rocks on a stick of vanilla cotton candy. "I was like, 'Honestly, candy on top of candy, that's the greatest idea ever,'" she says. "So I just went for it, and it ended up being really magical and awesome."
Now Bon Puf offers 21 flavors (but the option of customizing single-flavor puffs makes for seemingly endless possibilities). Lane counts her best sellers as her favorites: mango chili (mango cotton candy with a chili salt topping), salted caramel (caramel cotton candy with Himalayan pink salt), and coconut, which gets its toasted taste as a result of the machine warming up the flavored sugar. "We try to keep people's interest with more complex flavors than what they're used to," she says. "Especially since we cater at many events where there are more adults than kids."
"There's such a joy that cotton candy brings to people. I always loved it growing up."
Bon Puf's team of five spreads spun-sugar goodness all around the SoCal area through its catering service, which has led to collaborations with brands like Ban.do and Clinique. "Owning a business is not all fun. It's not just making cotton candy all the time," she says. "So when someone reaches out and wants to collaborate, it's such an exciting time."
At 22, Lane has found a niche in the food industry where she can flourish—and she doesn't have any plans to slow down. By early August, Bon Puf will be gearing up to launch an online retail shop, where cotton candy fans will be able to order flavored pairings of the organic treat. "One of the pairings that we're working on is a tropical-themed one, with coconut, watermelon, and pineapple," she says, excitedly.
As Bon Puf grows, there are many more flavors to create and many more sticks of cotton candy to dole out to smiling customers. "It's awesome that my job is to take this treat that delighted me as a kid, reimagine it, and rebrand it for a new audience," Lane says. "I love that I can do this whimsical, unexpected thing and give people something new and different."