Name: Sam Part
Job title: CEO
Company: Candy Mechanics
Twitter url: N/A
Linkedin Url: N/A
Tell us about your job/company/role?
I’m the founder of Candy Mechanics, a personalisation startup based in London. We use carving processes to create personalised chocolate gifts in under five minutes. Our products are Lolpops; your head being 3D scanned and carved into a lollipop and Candy Cards; a range of chocolate cards that can be designed and personalised with any name and message.
As a dyslexic designer I had written ‘I’m a lickable guy’ rather than ‘likable guy’ and ended up making my head as a hard candy lollipop.
What drew you to working in the confectionery industry? (Apart from the free chocolate!)
I had no idea when studying design at Kingston University that I’d end up working with the confectionery industry. Candy Mechanics was founded straight out of university from my final graduation project.
As a dyslexic designer I had written ‘I’m a lickable guy’ rather than ‘likable guy’ and ended up making my head as a hard candy lollipop. It was rather the case that the idea could be understood through the fun medium of candy, rather than specifically creating a confectionery product.
By approaching the industry with no prior insight we were able to find exciting ways with our new technology to bridge the gap for big brands to enter new markets such as experiential and online gifting markets. That was the draw, an opportunity to do something a little bit different that could shake up the way that confectionery is sold around the world.
What do you love most about your job?
Being able to innovate and quickly turn ideas into products or activations. We’ve found as a small start-up we’re able to get ideas turned around a lot faster than bigger brands. There’s only a team of nine of us, so there are no internal layers of hierarchy to deal with.
For our first pop-up in Covent Garden, a team of seven of us created every single element of pop-up in around two weeks and got friends on-board to help staff it.
What do you dislike most about your job?
If you don't like something about your job you have to decide whether it is because you are not good at it or you don't want to be good at it. Realising what you are good at and delegating is the only to get the best out of the people around you. Ultimately you don't need to dislike anything because someone else will love it and they will do a way better job than you anyway!
What is your biggest creative achievement so far?
Turning a graduation idea into a business that has nine full time staff who all love Candy Mechanics as much as I do.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
I’d love for Candy Mechanics’ personalisation technology to have global recognition through our partners and for customers to see instant product personalisation as a norm by this time.
On a personal level, hopefully I’ll have more time for holidays!
Describe a typical work day.
As a start-up every day is different, sometimes throwing up challenges that I’d never thought of before or can be deeply rewarding when a meeting changes everything.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
After working hard to build a business over the last couple of years I’ve realised the importance of balancing this with spending quality time with those closest to me. You can probably find me in the pub with these people watching or playing sports.
What do you think will be the next big thing in the confectionery world?
Definitely personalisation and through channels that have not been realised by confectionery brands before! However this should be true product personalisation, rather than just customising packaging.
Apple or Android?
What is your favourite book?
Being dyslexic I prefer podcasts. My favourite being ‘How I Built This’ - the Burton snowboards and Patagonia episodes are pretty inspiring.
Where do you stand on social media – can’t live without it, or an evil necessity?
Social media is a great way to tell the story of a brand and raise awareness. We’re seen a fantastic reaction with some of our own chocolate engraving videos getting over five million organic views with fans all over the world.
If you could change one thing in the confectionery industry, what would it be?
The size of the big players means it is very hard to cut through hierarchy to speak directly to decision makers. I would love if there was more of an appetite for innovation and risk outside of the traditional confectionery business models.
What’s the biggest misconception about working in confectionery?
That I’m eating chocolate all day.
What advice would you give to other people looking to get into the confectionery industry?
I would say if you have an idea then go for it, make it. Then ask anyone that isn't your friends and family for advice and get their feedback.
Time's up! Thank you Sam
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