Rudy and JJ Jimenez, their siblings from Mexico, thought it would be sweet to make extra money selling homemade Mexican-American candy to friends and perhaps a few followers on Facebook.
One year later, what began as a side-hustle has become a full-time enterprise with six-figure annual revenues, Enchilositos Treats. It now ships spicy and sweet candy concoctions across the country.
Rudy Jimenez (19 years old) and JJ (26 years old) started making chilitos or dulces Enchilados. These are sour-sweet candies such as Skittles or Sour Patch Kids or Gushers coated with traditional Mexican spices, like chili powder, chamoy, and chili powder.
Rudy says, “We just looked at one another and had that first bite.” “[And JJ said that] ‘we can make something with this …. Let us start trying to sell to our friends, family, and locals, if possible.”
Enchilositos Treats made over $105,000 from online sales in its first twelve months.
It started as a side-hustle. Our goal wasn’t to make a lot or get rich. JJ states that it just did it by itself.
How they got started
Rudy initially wanted to make the candy because she loved the idea of mixing typical American snacks with Mexican spices. It reminded Rudy of her childhood in Southern California, where her Mexican immigrant parents put Mexican spices on many foods, including fruit.
She says, “The way that we grew up, our parents always kinda told us to make [things] by ourselves, if possible.”
JJ was initially skeptical about his sister’s plan to sell candy. He was concerned that spicy Mexican candy wouldn’t be as sweet or sour as American candy.
He says that he was delighted with the first batch of Gushers and Gushers coated in Chamoy, a spicy-sweet paste made using pickled fruits and chiles, chili powder, and other spices.
They started their candy business using ingredients they bought from their local grocery store. Then, the siblings made their candy in their small apartment in California. They have since moved to Brenham in Texas, which is about an hour from Houston.
In June 2020, they created an Instagram account to promote their treats. A day later, they claim that the account had more than 100 followers and that people were messaging them to place orders for candy bags. This same account now has almost 16,000 followers.
Rudy was finishing her high school diploma, but JJ had worked in various jobs, including at a restaurant and a manufacturing company, as well as delivering GrubHub food. JJ also had a side hustle selling items on eBay. He resold toys, DVDs, and purses that his mother purchased at yard sales.
Rudy gave him the confidence to start his own business.
JJ had saved just a little over $10,000 from his previous jobs, and he put that money into their new venture. He also built a website to help customers place online orders and provided packaging and shipping materials for their treats.
Rudy started reaching out to social media experts that same summer. Yasmin “BeautyyBird,” a Mexican-American beauty blogger, was the most responsive. She is also from Carpinteria. JJ and Rudy noticed an increase in orders after Maya shared the Jimenez brothers’ candy to her 1.1million Instagram followers.
JJ stated that Rudy would typically order 30 candies per day within a few months (60 on a good day). They would then make the candy fresh every day and deliver it themselves.
Rudy now says, “As we continued to progress through the months and received more and more orders,”
JJ and Rudy worked hard to make and deliver candy as the orders grew. JJ left his job at a manufacturing firm three months after the start of the pandemic and began to work full-time on Enchilositos Treats.
Rudy is currently attending cosmetology school, but she plans to concentrate solely on Enchilositos treats once she graduates. Rudy admits that she was “a bit scared” when her bro told her he’d quit the job he held, as it placed more pressure on their company to succeed.
It was a moment when I realized that it was possible to do it if you have done it before. Rudy says that it is essential to invest all of our efforts in this small business we just started.
JJ’s gamble paid off a year later. Enchilositos Treats has grown to six-figure sales even with the sister and brother (co-owners) as its only employees.
Rudy states that the siblings moved to Brenham with their parents in December. The house had a large kitchen and enough storage to store all of their ingredients. The move was already in the planning stages before Candy Business. They have also stopped local delivery to make way for shipping online orders.
JJ says, “Now we can sustain ourselves with it” and pay our bills. “And we hope to continue growing bigger and better.”
The Enchilositos Treats website now offers a more extensive selection of spice-covered candies, including Jolly Ranchers and Gushers, as well as Fruit Roll-Ups and Nerds. A 4-ounce bag of candy costs $4. Rudy and JJ say that they keep about half of the candy after accounting for the cost of goods. This includes the cost of buying brand-name candies in bulk at grocery shops like Sam’s Club.
Rudy and JJ also sell their spice pastes and mixes separately.
Online orders have been flooding in from all over the U.S., and Rudy has received requests from Canada, Mexico, and even Canada. JJ and Rudy soon realized how many people would like to try the candy.
Rudy and JJ have been so successful with their business that they are now looking to open a physical store. Rudy states, “It’s now for us to make that happen. So we’re ready to open up a Texas location very soon.”