By Rachel Galvin
Imagine taking a trip to a land where something new and fun awaited behind every door? That is exactly what you will find at Miami Sweet, a newly-opened experience within the Aventura Mall. One room is a jungle filled with wild animals… don’t worry… they are not real, but they are real sweet, as they are all pieces of art made from candy by Miami Sweet co-creator Jackie Sorkin. You may not be able to eat the art, but you may find sweet treats along the way, or at least at the gift shop! This is certainly not your average art gallery. Each room is a themed experience led by guides who keep it fun along the way, asking people to join in a song, play some trivia and other fun activities. There are 12 rooms and 20,000 sf of candy. Dance with carnival dancers and women with bouffant hairdos on stilts. Hang ten on the beach, browse through an art gallery. This is just the tip of the iceberg. You never know what surprises are around every corner.
The real draw to this locale is that each room is full of perfect places for selfies. Sit on a swing, jump on a surfboard, or jump in a foam pineapple pit! This place is fun for all ages, perfect for a party, and fun for those who want to dance, throw confetti, take some pics, see some art and embrace their inner child.
Sorkin, who also co-founded Candytopia, has had her own “Candy Queen” reality show on TLC and has created artistic experiences made from candy for everyone from The Kardashians to Oprah, said she created Miami Sweet as “a love letter to Miami.” The idea came to her during the pandemic at a time when the world really needed a little sunshine… covered in candy, of course.
Jay Yadon is her co-creator. He said, “Jackie and I have been friends for years and always wanted to work together but timing wasn’t aligned. We decided to partner up in June of 2020 and figure out how to bring joy to the world in an uncertain time. Jackie is the creative genius and spark plug behind this project, and myself and my team support Jackie’s efforts and take care of most operations.”
She added, “Jay is one of my best friends, but also an incredible visionary and insanely talented entrepreneur. It was Jay who pushed me to keep going, keep creating and always believed in my gifts. That kind of partnership and friendship is rare. He encouraged me to fly again. But now, we are flying together, creating an incredible business and outrageous moments of joy for the world to enjoy.”
Asked which room is her favorite, Sorkin says, “I love the energy of the Carnival room. It is a lively party complete with confetti storms, sassy samba dancers, ice cream sandwich swings, a giant golden pineapple DJ booth and hundreds of glitter filled beach balls that bring out the kid in everyone. THIS is connection, happiness and good vibes, where we get to dance and play together again.”
The build-out, she said, took only a few months, with the help of a team of fabricators, designers, creatives, candy artists and their marketing team. “Some things in life are simply that special and that magical,” she said.
Yadon said putting together everything was hard work, of course, but he is happy with the result. “Seeing the reactions and joy, and especially kids’ faces when they walk into the experience, makes all the long hours and sleepless nights worth it,” he said.
Sorkin added, “Miami Sweet is an explosion of FUN. It’s a love letter to the Magic City bursting with color, energy, electricity, culture, diversity, awe-inspiring candy art and mind boggling visuals that encourage our guests to create and capture their favorite moments and memories together. The purpose of life is to LIVE, and we LOVE seeing all our guests truly living their best lives again.”
How did she get inspired to make this unique artistic space? She drew on her experiences from childhood and her love of Miami. She explained, “I will always remember my first family vacation to Florida. My father was an Argentinian Russian immigrant who worked his tail off to move to America and create his own American Dream. He worked overtime to afford this trip for our family of four. We visited all of Florida’s most incredible destinations on that trip from Miami Beach to Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando and St. Augustine. I fell in love with Miami’s inclusivity, cuisine and people. It was just the most incredible ENERGY. I’ll never forget that trip or how it made me feel, and I wanted Miami Sweet to represent all those beautiful feelings that we all get to experience and love about this incredible destination city.”
Yadon also had praise for the Aventura Mall, where Miami Sweet is located, saying, “Aventura Mall is an amazing partner and reached out to us to see if we wanted to do something together. Aventura mall has supported us from the beginning and we are happy to work with them.”
Miami Sweet is only at the mall for a limited time, until February 2022. But this dynamic team already knows what is next for them. They have a project in the works in Tennessee. Yadon said, “I have been working on finalizing our location in Gatlinburg the last few months. We are hoping to open next year. This project is different though in the fact that its not a “pop-up” experience. We will have a permanent location and swap out the experience throughout the year depending on seasons, holidays, etc.”
Sorkin added, “I’m smiling ear to ear just thinking about what we’re about to bring to the Tennessee market. JOY is BACK Y’ALL and we are thrilled about these uniquely designed experiences that embody the culture, energy and Southern Charm of Tennessee topped with an explosion of mega sweetness, sass and super, duper FUN! Extraordinary memories will be made, but this time in our Cowboy Boots!”
Sorkin has so much energy! She certainly has more in the works, right? Absolutely! She said, “The next announcement that I am super excited about is a new TV project that will be announced this month and will drop this holiday season. Our new show features our candy crew but we’re more like a squad. I’ve been building this business for over 14 years now and I’am proud to share our unique artistry, crazy good vibes, love and fun with the world. I feel like the luckiest person in the world who gets to create and create, and create with my beloved family. We truly are the definition of a TEAM.”
You can find out more about everything in her world on Instagram at @JackieSorkin and at @CandyKingdom.
To find out more about Miami Sweet and buy tickets, visit www.Miamisweet.com
Just a few pictures… Don’t want to give all the surprises away!