Young Entrepreneurs: Melanie Goldsmith, Smith & Sinclair
With an ambitious plan to be the global forerunner of edible alcohol – meet the “sweet-toothed” entrepreneur behind the world’s first alcoholic cocktail sweet
Name: Melanie Goldsmith
Company: Smith & Sinclair
Melanie Goldsmith is the “sweet tooth” behind the world’s first alcoholic cocktail sweet – think luxurious fruit pastilles for grown-ups – which started out as an ‘icebreaker’ for events but has scaled into a lucrative business in its own right.
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Goldsmith, who showed an entrepreneurial flair from a young age when she dreamed of opening a smoky, underground jazz bar, says that Smith & Sinclair was born out of an aspiration to develop a product that targets consumers’ desire for brand engagement through sensorial experiences – the aim is for people to link her alcoholic sweets with real life experiences – and her co-founder chef Emile Bernard’s innate curiosity with flavours.
And it’s proving to be a popular premise. Since inception, the company has hit the ground running; following a successful prelaunch at a dating games event Goldsmith was already running (where “people were coming to events specifically for goodie bags”) the cocktail confectionary group ran a pop-up to further test demand. After selling £3,000 worth of pastilles in just three weeks, Goldsmith and Bernard began approaching stockists and the brand now boasts an impressive list of retailers including Harrods, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols, as well as partnerships with London Fashion Week and Jamie Oliver.
Having originally started out exclusively producing jewel-like sweets that mirror traditional cocktail mixes, but with innovative infusions like violet and lemon sherbet in its gin and tonic sweet for instance; the business has since expanded its offering to include consultancy to drink brands and white label products for events.
The female entrepreneur says that the best thing about being a young entrepreneur is that her and her co-founder are fearless and have limitless freedom – meaning they can grow and adapt with the business. This has also helped the start-up remain self-funded and largely bootstrapped as the two co-founders are able to reinvest everything back into the company.
And after being named one of our top product business ideas last year, and with turnover projected to reach £550,000 and profit set to increase from 12% to 20% in 2015, it seems growth is firmly on the cards – with Goldsmith citing an ambitious 10 year plan to make Smith & Sinclair the global forerunner of a new category of edible alcohol.