Cotton candy with a mission

social media biz oscar williams

Tasha Kornegay is a mental health therapist in Apex, N.C., and a fundraiser for HIV/AIDS awareness.

When her grant writing efforts weren't succeeding, her 14-year-old son -- who loves cotton candy -- suggested she sell the sugary treat to raise money.

In June 2013, she and her husband did just that, selling Oscar William Gourmet Cotton Candy at a fundraiser. They officially launched the business in September, investing about $2,000 of their own money. Their marketing relied solely on word-of-mouth and social media.

"In the beginning, we had 50 likes to our Facebook page, and then it jumped to over 1,000," she said. 75% of all sales come from the company's Facebook page (the rest come from online and event sales). 10% of all sales go to HIV/AIDS awareness efforts.

"We post almost daily," Kornegay. "We recap events, we give a shout out to our fans, we even do fun surveys asking for suggestions about new flavors."

Chili pepper and cherry were two of the flavors from Facebook polls that were adopted by the company.

They recently launched Twitter and Instagram accounts to showcase events and community efforts.

"We've recouped our investment 20 times over and social media got us there," she said.

First published July 16, 2014: 8:27 AM ET

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