In a 2014 conversation with ConfectioneryNews, the managing director spoke of his plans to expand Spun Candy beyond its Convent Garden store and premium UK retailers such as Partridges and The Food Company into South America, Asia and the Middle East.
When introduced in 2013, the concept of including consumers in the theatrics of hand making fudge, honey comb, toffee, hard rock candy and other treats in store came as a delight for the senses.
And, it has been that experiential element that has taken Ellender’s business to new heights in Dubai and Abu Dhabi with the roll out of stores in late 2014.
“Partnering with Candylicous and Alabbar enterprises, who know the Middle Eastern market and consumer preference exceptionally well has also been invaluable to us,” Ellender told ConfectioneryNews.
While a British brand is considered to be prestigious abroad, it’s been Spun Candy’s ability to stay true to its heritage while adapting certain flavors or ingredients to cater to UAE consumer taste such as vegetarian marshmallows and gummies, free from gelatin that has enabled it to stand out in an over-saturated market.
In fact, he says his brand has even managed to replace a long standing candy company as a supplier of natural lollipops to Candylicous, a confectionery retailer renowned for stocking international treats in high demand.
Being a British company is about more than prestige for Ellender though.
“While supporting people and businesses at home and abroad, we also manufacture our flavors and equipment in the UK when it may be cheaper to produce these elsewhere,” he told this publication.
Mastering the art of candy making
Speaking of home, Spun Candy has also opened in Hamley’s Regent Street and Spitalfields Market in the last two years.
The latter location takes the in-store experience a step further by offering classes in the art of candy making.
“This has been our biggest growth area. From kids parties to adult parties, speed dating and corporate events; it’s a fun environment to learn how to hand craft your own rock, toffee or self-portrait style lollipops,” James explained.
Aspirations for the future
With all of this under his belt, the Spun Candy founder is now setting his sights on Hong Kong, having traveled to the region for over a decade and settled there two years ago.
“Hong Kong is a lucrative market if we work with the right people. It’s a gateway to many of Asia’s markets and will be an ideal location to train our candymakers as English is a widely accepted language.”
With ambitions to also conquer Miami, Florida, North Africa and Egypt, James and his team are using the internet to talk to potential funders this week to raise £500k to further invest in marketing, R&D and strengthening operations.