A Stratford-upon-Avon mum turned entrepreneur is looking to revolutionise the confectionery market after launching a new hard candy product.
Louise Carr-Smith is the brains behind ‘Cleverpop’, a sugar-free range of healthy lollipops that is promising to take the high-street by storm in 2013 as parents and consumers demand healthy alternatives to traditional mass produced rivals.
Supported by the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), the food scientist and former Unilever professional has taken four years to come up with the right recipe, develop the supply chain and create the brand.
After initial success with school fairs and a host of independent shops in the West Midlands, she is now setting her sights on blue chip retailers with a major retail name set to introduce the lollipops to their shelves.
“It has taken patient work to get to this point, but I do feel like I’m now on the verge of something really exciting that has the potential to steer the confectionery sector in a completely new direction,” explained Louise, who launched the business ‘Clever Sweets’ in May 2011.
“’Cleverpop’ is simply a great tasting hard candy lollipop, with the added innovation that it is completely sugar and sweetener free – an industry first.”
She continued: “Using a unique mixture of fruit, vegetables and vitamins I have come up with a healthy alternative to promote wellbeing that doesn’t harm teeth. The first launch provides 100% RDA of Vitamin C.
“The market research I undertook proved that these are major selling points for parents keen to give their children treats that are good for them. We also worked hard on the brand development so they would appeal to teenagers and young adults, who are increasingly more discerning and looking for something different.”
Louise used all of her food industry knowledge and contacts to help with the development of the lollipops that currently come in three flavours – strawberry, cola and cherry – and retail at just 25p.
Whilst the high street remains the main target, the entrepreneur has also invested in a new e-commerce site that offers the chance to buy ‘Cleverpop’ in packs of ten and fifty.
The online shop – www.cleversweets.com – is also expected to attract early overseas interest with consumers from Germany, Spain and Scandinavia.
“There is massive potential for the business and, if things go well this year and we break into the high street, I would expect to sell in the region of 480,000 lollipops,” continued Louise.
“This would generate about £300,000 in revenue and help create three jobs to support me with fulfillment, marketing and, importantly social media – the latter is going to be essential in establishing the brand and reaching untapped markets.”
The Stratford-upon-Avon entrepreneur has received extensive support from MAS in the last two years, with ongoing mentoring, supply chain development, financial support to help with design and a patent sweep to validate the idea.