About Us


Cotton Candy has been providing exemplary service in the promotional products industry for 20 years. John Houlding, Cotton Candy’s major owner and current President, began the company in 1992 when he realized, while selling t-shirts and hats with slogans on them at athletic events, that there was an interesting market niche for branded promotional products.

An accomplished athlete, John participated as a rower in both the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games, and he now brings the same superior level of commitment, focus and energy to building the Cotton Candy empire.

“Our goal is to be an industry leader; not a follower,” says John. “It’s a key component of our business philosophy, and our focus on being the frontrunner that sets the bar in areas such as diversity, sustainment and compliance has definitely elevated us above our competition in the industry.”

Ask anyone at Cotton Candy and they’ll tell you the company’s success is directly linked to its commitment to providing superior customer service. The Cotton Candy mission statement reads in part: … By placing unprecedented emphasis on customer satisfaction and long-term client relationships, Cotton Candy will continuously search for new ideas and approaches which ensure our clients receive the highest level of service in the promotional products industry.

Since its modest beginnings in 1992, Cotton Candy has grown to include more than 75 employees, seven locations across Canada (two with warehouse facilities) and various locations in the United States. Not bad for a mere couple of decades! The company’s design for success has remained clear: locate state-of-the-art, trend-setting products of high quality, procure them efficiently and make them easily available to the client. Cotton Candy knows that consistently satisfied customers become long-term clients and this has been proven out at Cotton Candy many times over.

Cotton Candy developed a unique model of offering a minority ownership to key managers at each office location across Canada while retaining majority ownership at one central location. This model has been very successful; by centralizing its operation, Cotton Candy reduces overhead costs and improves efficiencies. At the same time, by offering key managers equity in the company, Cotton Candy gains huge buy-in from its leadership team while ensuring that every client across North America receives an unsurpassed level of support and service.

Cotton Candy is also strategic in building its ever-expanding team. Understanding that happy, engaged employees are the best marketing tool for attracting new employees, Cotton Candy has carefully crafted an in-house culture that emphasizes not only a great work ethic but fun, creativity, energized flexibility and opportunities to grow. This tends to draw individuals who are original thinkers, quick and creative when solving problems, and strongly committed – to the customers, the company, and to their word. Everybody wins!

The talents, values and dedication that raised John Houlding to the level of Olympic athlete are just as evident today in his leadership at Cotton Candy. The result? Cotton Candy is a force to be reckoned with in the promotional products industry and continues to lead the way in the arenas of innovation, service, growth and sustainable success.