Name: Melanie Goldsmith
Job title: Managing Director
Company: Smith & Sinclair
Twitter url: @SmthandSnclr
Linkedin url: https://www.linkedin.com/company/smith-&-sinclair/
Tell us about your job/company/role?
I’m currently responsible for the overarching business objectives and strategy and how we achieve our creative/ financial/ cultural goals through the incredibly talented execution of each department. I’m responsible for raising outside investment, researching and creating with my co-founder/ our Head of Innovation on New Product Concepts and working on new concepts for PR stunts, pop ups and white label opportunities.
We wanted to create a portfolio of products that were truly innovative, playful for adults and focused on the social experience of consuming sweets, not just the sugar high!
What drew you to working in the confectionery industry? (Apart from the free chocolate!)
It was always a joke that I’d probably run a sweet shop one day. I have always been obsessed by sweets – loving everything from taste and texture to the environment you enter into by having them. There’s nothing like the indulgence in a bag of pick’n’mix. With this said, when we started the business, it was a series of ‘play’ nights for adults centered around board games and what was currently on the market in confectionery didn’t match that adult experience of play. There needed to be innovation in the industry outside of chocolate liqueurs, and eventually, gummy bear shapes, artificially flavoured to ‘taste’ like a Mojito. We wanted to create a portfolio of products that were truly innovative, playful for adults and focused on the social experience of consuming sweets, not just the sugar high!
What do you love most about your job?
I love the open creative bracket we work within, where almost anything is possible. I also love working with the team who are constantly striving for the brand to be bigger and better.
What do you dislike most about your job?
Manufacturing. What we do is so unique that it’s been a challenge to find the right manufacturing solution, especially in the UK where there is very little financial support to set up and run an industry/ manufacturing business.
What is your biggest creative achievement so far?
Our new brand, we’re so proud of the end-to-end look and feel and how much it represents our mission to make being an adult more fun.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Continuing to push the boundaries on what it means to innovate products that make ‘adult’ more fun. I am likely to be between the UK & US building amazing retail spaces that invite consumers in to explore the brand in a sensorial way, which isn’t something to be experienced online; and creating amazing products that aren’t even on the radar yet – but are to come, that break the boundaries of food, drink, sex, beauty.
Describe a typical work day.
I wake up around 7am – take about 30 mins to get ready (not a breakfast person), walk along the Thames to the office where I spend the first couple hours on emails/ internal meetings, then will try to arrange a meeting with a potential new client for an experience or collaborative lunch. I aim to fill my afternoons with meetings ranging from suppliers/ packaging manufacturers/ buyers/ our PR team, etc. I tend to close the work day off around 8pm, and will either pick things up again after dinner, go out with friends or catch up with my boyfriend in our cosy flat and shut off. Running a business is like a game of survival and sometimes you just need to bunker down in the evening to prepare for the next day.
What do you do enjoy doing outside of work?
I love Jazz, theatre and food so I try to go to the theatre at least once every 6 weeks. I eat out a lot so, as many of my friends live all over London, it’s about making time to meet in the middle. I try and steal weekends away in Europe here and there, and try to see live music or do a pub quiz every couple weeks for true distraction.
What do you think will be the next big thing in the confectionery world?
I think the adult category is growing quickly with a lot of brands investing in marketing (rather than product innovation) and I think the ‘added benefit’ world will enter into confectionery as it has with alcohol with more products infused with products such as ‘collagen, ginger, charcoal, ginseng’.
Apple or Android?
What is your favourite book or podcast?
I’m into Casefiles at the moment for podcasts (don’t judge) and am currently reading Bossypants – the Tina Fey book, gifted by one of my marketing team (don’t know whether to take a hint here).
Where do you stand on social media – can’t live without it, or an evil necessity?
I’m personally not an avid social media person, I never take pictures and don’t feel the need to publicly update on my day to day but am realising the importance of it from a personal profile/ networking perspective, so am trying to warm in slowly.
If you could change one thing in the confectionery industry, what would it be?
The lack of smaller scale gummy manufacturers/ a willingness to take on a scale up business in this space.
What’s the biggest misconception about working in confectionery?
That you must be sick of eating sweets all day. We’re not.
What advice would you give to other people looking to get into the confectionery industry?
Always test the idea on strangers and make them pay. Lots of people will tell you your ideas are great but will they part with cash is a much more real representation of the product’s potential.
Time’s up! Thank you Melanie
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