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Chili Chews

A gourmet candy brand creating chili gummy candy with the perfect blend of sweet, sour, and spicy.

FOUNDER Shant Reganyan & Vicken Kejejian
HEADQUARTERS Los Angeles, CA
Chili Chews

Behind the Brand

Chili Chews was founded by childhood best friends and San Fernando Valley natives Shant Reganyan and Vicken Kejejian. Growing up, Shant and Vicken would frequent gas stations together in search of spicy candy, a very popular delicacy in their area. As they formed a lifelong bond over a shared love for these treats, Shant and Vicken noticed how difficult it was to find high-quality spicy candy and constantly yearned for better options. After some time, they decided to take matters into their own hands and create their own renditions of spicy candy at home. They ordered some ingredients, mixed together various spice blends and gummy candies, and eventually came up with a product that they both fell in love with.

Though Shant and Vicken went their separate ways for college, they had always dreamt of starting a business together. When the COVID pandemic hit during their last quarter of college, forcing them both to return home, they jumped at the opportunity to start a company with the spicy candy they had created years ago. While studying for the LSAT and starting a Master of Finance program respectively, Shant and Vicken decided to invest $500 into the business. They spent 10-12 hours a day making hundreds of pounds of candy in Shant’s mom’s kitchen, ultimately developing their own proprietary formulas through hundreds of iterations. After having samples of their candy approved by family and friends, Shant and Vicken decided to launch Chili Chews direct-to-consumer and quickly gained a dedicated social media following. Fast forward to today, the Chili Chews team has sold over 1 million bags of their mouth-watering spicy candy, never failing to amaze consumers with their unique and flavorful treats.

Meet the Maker

What has been your most unforgettable moment (good or bad) while building your company? - +

SHANT: The most unforgettable moment while building our company was exhibiting at our first food show in Las Vegas. The moment we stepped into that massive expo hall, we not only felt like we belonged in the confectionery industry, but we also knew we were here to leave our mark! With hundreds of buyers, exhibitors, and attendees flocking to our booth each day, we knew our product was a home run.

VICKEN: The most unforgettable moment while building this company was during the first 5-6 months when Shant was studying for his LSAT exam, and I was in my Master of Finance program at UC Irvine. We would have to prepare candy, package, and fulfill online orders from 8am – 6pm, then go home and I would do homework or have a class I would need to attend and Shant would have to stay up at night to study. These moments were ones that I will cherish forever because it’s all the hard work that we put in that helped our company get to this point.

What is your favorite thing to do in your free time? - +

SHANT: My favorite thing to do in my free time is to explore Los Angeles with my friends! Whether it’s hitting the beach, going to our favorite museums and art exhibits, or just grabbing a bite at a new restaurant, spontaneity never ceases.

VICKEN: My favorite thing to do on my free time is play basketball at the gym or at a park with my friends. I have been playing organized basketball since I was 5 years old, and it really helps me relax and get my mind right during my time off from work.

What is an essential part of your daily routine? - +

SHANT: An essential part of my daily routine begins every morning on my drive to work. Before I turn on any song or podcast, I make sure I take 20 minutes out of my day to pray and be mindful of the blessings and exciting opportunities taking place in my life.

VICKEN: Coffee! I always need to drink a cup of coffee before I start my day. It’s almost a necessity for me to have a productive and energized day. I would say it’s a healthy addiction - LOL.

What is your biggest pet peeve? - +

SHANT: My biggest pet peeve is when people underestimate Chili Chews, due to the fact that we are only 24 years old. We’re learning the ins and outs of this business each and every day, and we’re here to prove the doubters wrong and make the believers proud!

VICKEN: My biggest pet peeve is when people doubt the potential of Chili Chews because of our age. Although we’re only 24 years old, we are on a mission to make an impact in this industry and show that hard work is the deciding factor for success.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you? - +

SHANT: Most people don’t know that I was studying for the LSAT and applied to law schools since the inception of Chili Chews! I placed in the 95th percentile of test-takers, and received a scholarship to study law at USC, however, after weighing my options, growing Chili Chews was too exciting of an opportunity to pass up on.

VICKEN: One thing most people don’t know about me is that I am a first-generation college graduate who not only graduated from the University of California, Irvine for my Bachelor’s degree, but also went on to receive my Masters of Finance from the institution as well.

What do you want to be remembered for? - +

SHANT: I want to be remembered for helping people who faced the same difficulties we did while growing this company. There are so many industry secrets that are withheld, and I would love to help aspiring entrepreneurs in the food industry bring their dreams to fruition.

VICKEN: I want people to truly understand that anything is possible if you work hard and stay diligent to the process. Shant and I started this at a very young age, with no prior experience in the food and beverage industry, while still in school. But with hard work and determination we were able to overcome challenges and get our company to the place it is today.

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