A Cotton Candy-Coated Life – How Holland and Brendon Curtis Turned an Opportunity into a Sweet Deal
Article by Christina Madrid
Photography by Provided
Originally published in Franklin Lifestyle
On a cold December day in 2021, Brendon and Holland Curtis decided to take a walk in downtown Franklin. Little did they know, this walk would spark an idea that would change the course of their lives.
The couple met in Los Angeles in 2018. Two years later they decided to relocate to the Nashville area, where Brendon had previously lived. Brendon’s fondness for, and familiarity with, Tennessee made for an easy transition. They settled in Franklin because they already had family and friends living in the area.
Brendon was a web developer and Holland worked for Belmont University as a fundraising research specialist. “Brendon had always dreamed about owning his own business but it was never the right idea, the right time, or the right financials,” Holland says. That changed when they saw a lady selling cotton candy from a cart in Franklin. Even though it was the day after Christmas, when many were already saturated with holiday treats, and the weather was brisk, there was still a line. Brendon loved cotton candy and wanted to wait in line to get some as well. It was then when he realized he might have stumbled upon a business opportunity.
Brendon and Holland decided to open a cotton candy store so people could be indoors and enjoy the treat. They had rarely seen freshly made cotton candy outside of a county fair, specialty store or an event. As soon as they got home, they ordered a cotton candy machine and poured over YouTube tutorials on how to make it. The couple started to practice when the machine arrived.
Holland saw many videos of people making flower shapes out of cotton candy, a trend particularly popular in Asia. “I had been playing around with the candy shape and made what looked like a cupcake girl and thought, ‘We could make characters,’” Holland says.
One of the hardest things to learn was to craft a character quickly because cotton candy can melt. It took them about seven months to master their character creations, using different flavors and colors. “There was a lot of trial and error,” admits Holland. Luckily, they had a lot of friends and family willing to give them feedback.
The couple then studied how to start a business, and by August 2022, they were negotiating with CoolSprings Galleria Mall for a store location. “Since the mall is nice and cool, people can enjoy their treat longer,” explains Holland.
Their kids even got involved, suggesting names, like Sweet Puffy, which evolved into the current store name, Puffy Cotton Candy. Not everyone was convinced this was a good idea, but the couple believed otherwise. They made it a reality on November 11 of 2022, less than a year from its conception. “The best advice that I could offer anyone who is thinking about starting a new business is to simply take the plunge. The biggest obstacle is largely psychological — to overcome the profound fear of abandoning a successful and stable career and pivot into the great unknown,” Brendon says.
The couple admits that starting a new business can be scary, but it can also be fun. With plans to expand to stores in downtown Nashville, Clarksville, Chattanooga, and Knoxville soon, they will continue to live the dolce vita. PuffyCottonCandy.com
“Brendon had always dreamed about owning his own business but it was never the right idea, the right time, or the right financials.” — Holland Curtis