In February 2008, Weimer and Post did a six-minute segment on "The Martha Stewart Show" demonstrating how to make their toffee. Courtesy photo.

What started out as a simple family recipe soon turned into a booming business created by two childhood friends.

Brandon Weimer, a business administration sophomore at University of Arizona, and Leah Post, a business administration sophomore at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, started a toffee business at the age of 15, to raise cash for a spring break trip.

“We never expected it to get this big,” Post said. “I had just turned 15 and couldn’t even get a real job yet.”

Weimer and Post crafted their business plan when they had to raise $2,000 for their spring break trip to Italy. Weimer had the toffee recipe for about six years prior and wanted to try it out.

On Oct. 1, 2006, Weimer and Post launched their own website to sell the toffee.

“Within six weeks we had already made our $2,000 plus all of our spending money,” Post said.

Post said they weren’t even into the busy holiday season yet, so they knew they couldn’t stop.

Maggie Post, Leah’s mother and full-time employee at Brandini Toffee, said she is very surprised at how far the business has gone.

“The kids used to just come home from school and go hang out in the kitchen, and now they have made a company out of it,” she said.

Brandini Toffee got its name because Post called Weimer “Brandini” ever since they were little.

“The name sort of stuck,” Post said. “I never thought our company, with a (childhood) nickname, would grow to be this successful.”

This gourmet toffee company employs both Weimer and Post’s moms full time, their dads part time, about five other full-time employees during the year and 20 more full-time employees during the holiday season.

This student-run toffee company is not only known in its local area of Rancho Mirage but has been recognized by Martha Stewart, Oprah and The Food Network. On Feb. 26, 2008, Weimer and Post did a six-minute segment on “The Martha Stewart Show”, demonstrating how to make their toffee.

In 2008, Brandini Toffee was also recognized on the Web as Martha Stewart’s favorite dessert, as well as one of Oprah’s favorites. Post and Weimer were also the youngest — and only — people under 18 to win the sofi (Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation) Award for “Outstanding Chocolate.”

Brandini Toffee’s gourmet candy will be appearing on the Food Network show “Chef vs. City” on Oct. 22, 2010.

“We have gotten to meet so many important people in the industry, due to these interviews and shows, such as the heads of Jelly Belly and Paula Deen, and we could not be more inspired,” Post said.

After four years, Post said they plan to keep expanding at a steady pace. They have just released a new toffee popcorn which is a big hit, but they plan to pace their growth.

“We have had many offers from investors, but we really want to keep this as a family business as much as possible,” said Post.

Even though Post and Weimer are away at college, they both still play large roles in this company.

“When we are at school and focused on classes we are into our academics, but when we go home it is definitely work time,” Post said. “Since we started this business so young, it is almost like we have been doing it our whole lives, so it is fun and we have learned how to balance our studies, extracurriculars, friends and business time.”

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