The biggest mistake in David Klein’s life was giving up the rights to Jelly Belly. Now, 40 years after creating the popular jelly bean line, Kelin is turning to Kickstarter to reenter the confectionery world with a new bean: the Original Coffee House Jelly Beans.
Klein said he made the mistake in signing away the rights to the Jelly Belly name to Herman Goelitz Candy Company in 1980 for $10,000 a month for 20 years. The deal, he said, includes a 20-year noncompete agreement, something the company cannot confirm. But now, after running Can You Imagine That Confections in California, Klein says he’s ready for a jelly bean comeback, turning to Kickstarter to help his queset.
Launched on Tuesday, his Kickstarter campaign is hoping to raise $10,000 in an effort to start the new Jelly Belly that Klein is calling the “Original Coffee House Jelly Beans.” The beans are infused with caffeine, blending the two most popular beans in the world and selling them in 5-pound quantities for $49.75. They come in five distinct flavors: double buzz, chai tea, hot chocolate with peppermint, coffee and doughnuts and caffe macchiato.
“While I currently own and operate a modestly-sized candy factory I feel the need to do more!” Klein wrote on the campaign. “My NEW jelly beans are the evolution of my original creation focusing on flavors and tastes never before experiences in this form.”
Jelly Belly has been known globally for its popular flavors and its wild ones: such as the oddball skunk spray and moldy cheese flavors included in its new game called BeanBoozled. The more popular flavors in the line include buttered popcorn, root beer and ginger ale.
Klein admits he has jelly beans in his DNA and has wanted to return to making the type of candy that made him so popular in the past. His notoriety as the inventor of Jelly Belly led to a documentary “Candyman” (not the 1992 horror flick). He said that in the 16 years since the noncompete ended, he has itched to get back into it “every single moment.” It was his business partner, though, who encouraged him to turn to Kickstarter to drum up support and buzz of the new bean.
Klein and his business partner, Jeff Thirtyacre, own Candyman Kitchens, an online business selling a variety of sugary treats that include jelly beans. For four months the Kickstarter plan has been in the works, Klein said.
“I’ve seen Kickstarter help so many people,” he said. “And right now I need some additional funding.”
The two thought about bringing the beans in the traditional manner, but it has been projected to be too costly, especially against Jelly Belly.
“A lot of stores you can’t get into unless you give them your first order free,” Klein said. “A little guy is not capable of doing that. It’s so expensive.”
Jelly Belly, which consolidated operations to California last year, sells just one coffee-flavored jelly bean, the cappuccino.
As of noon on Wednesday, Klein’s campaign has $1,217 with 28 days to go.