Digital labels are perfect for Noni’s Toffee because Stephanie needs to add new lots and change information frequently. We can make changes for her and go right to press. No new plates. High-quality, beautiful labels in small quantities with no extra charges.—Nye Hornor
With special permission, we can picture Stephanie Jay here. She keeps her visage under wraps so customers can imagine an octogenarian Italian grandmother bent over a hot stove stirring batches of sweet-smelling, buttery toffee.
In actuality, Stephanie is a high-energy person of Swedish/German descent whose mother’s given name is Nona, nicknamed Noni. Noni’s toffee recipe was passed to the next generation, specifically for use at Christmastime for gifts to family and friends, at least for the first sixteen years.
Requests starting coming in from sources like the UPS delivery person who was eager to receive that year’s holiday thank you gift. “He and many others told me I should sell the toffee,” recalls Stephanie. So eight years ago, she dropped into Moulton’s store in downtown Amherst, NH, and asked them to sample the sweets and carry the confections. In short order, she had a licensed residential kitchen and steady demand from September through June. It’s too hot in the summer for a recipe so sensitive that a few seconds or degrees one way or the other negatively affects the outcome. “It can’t be chewy, it has to be exact,” according to Stephanie.
Noni’s labels have to be precise too, a great test kitchen for Amherst Label’s new Domino Digital Press which is in early stages of real-time production during final testing. After setup, 3,400 perfect labels were run in 2.5 minutes, reports Nye Hornor, Amherst Label VP of Operations, Sales and Marketing. “Amazing,” agree Nye and Stephanie. The unusual color combination of ocean-blue and red will look great with Noni’s red bags Stephanie confirms.
The original Noni still makes her toffee for Christmas and completed a double batch one day recently. Her daughter, who checks in with her mother by phone regularly at her Newport Beach home, produced 60-pounds of toffee that same day and expects continued growth. “It took me years to get the recipe from my mom,” Stephanie admits, so she won’t be sharing it with anyone soon. The ingredients are on the label however. No corn syrup. No white sugar. Gluten free. The proportions are the family secret. The hottest product is the milk chocolate toffee but the white chocolate peppermint bark is delightful (both pictured here).
In the early days, delivering to Moulton’s was exciting. Then one day, Stephanie found empty Noni’s wrappers in her husband’s car console and realized he was buying up the product to help her get started. Not too many years later, he visited a buyer at Whole Foods who tasted the toffee and wanted to carry it. The timing was not right then or now for Stephanie to make the move to a commercial kitchen and full-scale production. “He wants me to be like Mrs. Fields,” laughs Stephanie in reference to her supportive spouse, content with the sweet success her products experience.
“Digital labels are perfect for Noni’s Toffee because Stephanie needs to add new lots and change information frequently. We can make changes for her and go right to press,” explains Nye. “No new plates. High-quality, beautiful labels in small quantities with no extra charges.”
In addition to holiday gift-giving, Noni’s Toffees are popular as wedding favors and corporate gifts. These growing markets fit in well with Steph’s strategy for managed growth.
During the busy times, members of the family pitch in at Noni’s including her husband, son, a daughter’s boyfriend (who designed her label look), and her two daughters, who say that someday they’re going to take over the company.