By R. Couri Hay | June 20, 2016 | People

As Dylan’s Candy Bar celebrates 15 years of confectionary creations, founder Dylan Lauren talks charity, childhood, and, of course, candy.

Every artist has her medium. Some choose acrylics, others clay. But Dylan Lauren? The medium she settled on may sound a bit unconventional. “I’m an artist,” she says, “but working in the medium of candy.” This summer, her Dylan’s Candy Bar celebrates 15 years of sweet success. With a celebrity clientele that includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Janet Jackson, and Katie Holmes and her daughter, Suri, and collaborations with brands such as Mattel, LeSportsac, Maclaren, and Havaianas, Lauren has elevated candy, turning it into what she calls “an innovative medium.” Her most recent collaboration, a playful line of candy-adorned undies with Hanky Panky, demonstrates what this artist is capable of.

Boasting 16 locations and more on the way, Lauren varies the sizes of her stores depending on the setting: Flagships anchor cities like Chicago and Los Angeles, while smaller shops have popped up in hotels and airports. In fact, the East Hampton shop was the company’s first mini-store. Lauren chose the location for its nostalgia factor: It was a part of her childhood summers in Amagansett and Montauk with her father, acclaimed fashion designer Ralph Lauren. “The store that is now Dylan’s Candy Bar was initially another candy store that I had gone to since I was a child growing up there,” she explains.

This shop carries a mix of Dylan’s exclusives and perennial favorites. “Swedish fish and sour watermelon gummies are some of our best sellers,” Lauren says. The store also stocks products for pets and babies and items geared specifically to Hamptons customers, including Dylan’s Candy Bar striped beach towels, inflatable rafts shaped like doughnuts or gummy bears, goggles with sprinkles, and swimsuits created in partnership with Zara Terez. “This summer we have these paddleballs and beach totes,” Lauren adds. “It’s a huge tote and you can dump anything you want in it, and it’s very bright and cheery.” There are hostess gifts and things children will love for summer camp, like stationery, pens, stickers, and diaries, all with a candy theme. The East Hampton shop also has a fudge bar and an ice cream parlor that even stocks kosher ice cream. In addition, the store carries Lauren’s book Unwrap Your Sweet Life, “a big, colorful book about the history of candy,” she says, “and it has a lot of recipes.”

A big animal-welfare advocate—she and her husband, Paul Arrouet, have a rescue dog, Jersey, named for the state in which they adopted her—Lauren has established a foundation, Dylan’s Candy BarN, which supports local shelters and animal-welfare groups. She has held fundraisers in Miami, among other cities, and is throwing a benefit for the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons at the East Hampton store on July 8 from 2 to 4 pm. “We’ve also done things with the Humane Society and Friends of Finn,” she adds. The company even offers a special Dylan’s Candy BarN collection, consisting of animal-themed products like red Scottie dogs, gummy bunnies, and chocolate pigs. (It also carries treats for animals, shaped like stars, cupcakes, and dog bones.) A portion of the proceeds from the collection goes to the foundation. 52 Main St., East Hampton, 324-6181