We all love a trip to the sweet shop. But while 20 years ago, a handful of penny sweets and a mars bar from the local newsagents or a whirl round the pick’n’mix at Woollies would suffice, we now want a more ‘authentic’ confectionery experience.
Nostalgia has been the key word in sweet sales for the past few years, and now confectionery franchises are realising the importance of this trend when cultivating their image.
Creating a brand that reminds us of traditional old sweet shops - where wooden shelves were packed with jars of apple sours, lemon sherbets, Indian limes and mint-humbugs, and a rosy-cheeked proprietor in a floral apron would hand out stripy bags of a quarter of a pound of pure joy - is key to attracting customers these days.
Think war-time rationing, Just William, Cath Kidston and Charlie Bucket and you are nearly there.
Sweet shop entrepreneurs, Kitty Hope and Mark Greenwood, set up the aptly named ‘Hope & Greenwood’ in Dulwich, London in 2004 after they met, fell in love and Mr Greenwood famously asked ‘Where have all the sweet shops gone?’
Creating a saccharine heaven in an ordinary suburban hub, local children flock to experience this pair’s vision: beautifully presented retro sweets, a counter groaning with Mrs Hope’s specialty chocolates and a range of vintage wares such as floral tea-cosies, parlour games and spotty biscuit tins, whilst jolly 40’s ditties permeate the airwaves.
Supplying Selfridges, Harvey Nicols and The Conran Shop and John Lewis and opening a second shop in Covent Garden, and 11 outlets in Japan, as well as publishing three recipe books and a home-wares range called ‘Life is Sweet’, Hope & Greenwood’s success has been largely down to their beautifully designed branding.
Other sweet distributors such as Hattie and Blythe have followed suit with strong vintage branding (supplying Harrods) and many online confectioners have jumped on the retro bandwagon.
Confectionery franchises have also recognised the allure that an old-fashioned image can achieve.
Mr.Simm’s Olde Sweet Shoppe franchise, which evokes the Victorian era, was inspired by an etching of an old fashioned sweet shop found in an old confectionery magazine.
And a fairly new arrival to the franchising world is Mr Humbug who are enjoying great success with their exquisitely designed brand, and franchise stores which are a picture in pink stripy delightfulness.
The Sweet Perfection franchises also exude old world charm, and wouldn't look out of place in a scene from ‘A Christmas Carol’.
The beauty of these confectionary franchises is that the shop fitting/design and fascia signage are included in the package as is training and other start-up perks (depending on the franchise) like uniforms, marketing packs, integrated local websites, initial sale stock and consistent support.
For those who dreamed of owning a sweet shop as a child, a confectionery franchise can offer a relatively stress free realisation of these reveries.
When considering a sweet franchise, it’s worth bearing in mind how a strong retro image, which runs consistently through the business from shop-front to packaging will likely have a greater appeal to your customers, and will probably make you feel better too!