Sherbet pip: Becky Patterson

Patterson says people 'can't help but smile' when they see her retro sweets and gifts

Name: Becky Patterson
Age: 39
Company: Sherbet pip
Staff numbers: 2
Location: Bedfordshire
Date launched: 01/02/2013

Tell us what your business does:

Sherbet pip sells hampers of sweets and other sweetie related gifts.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

I wanted to do something creative in the winter evenings and started playing around with sweet trees and jar designs. I put some photos on Facebook and I suddenly had requests for Christmas presents!

How did you know there was a market for it?

Firstly, because of the reaction on Facebook and also because today’s sweets have become really boring and people get so excited when they see retro sweets and their old favourites. Customers can’t help but smile when they see our products which is lovely.

What were you doing before starting up?

PR, which I still do.

Have you always wanted to run your own business?

I have run my own PR business for many years, helping people promote their small businesses. I have recently worked with a huge number of clients with retail businesses and I did start to develop a desire to have one of my own. A product business is so different to selling a service.

How did you raise the money?

I just bought some sweets, jars and hampers for £30 and the money increased as I sold to my Facebook group over Christmas.

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What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

My main challenge was postage and delivery; how to pack the items and how to send them. Do I offer next day – even though my products are made to order to ensure they remain fresh? I found a very good courier company who are well priced and decided to make a 48 hour shipping promise.

Describe your business model and how you make money:

We make everything at our workshop in Bedfordshire – hampers, jars, cards, jewellery and bags. We sell the products to the gift market and have created ranges for him, her, love and children. We trade mostly online but are building up third party partnerships, garden centres and have a stand at some rural events this year.

What was your first big breakthrough?

Saturday Night Takeaway (Ant & Dec) has requested a hamper to appear on the show. We have also just had a ‘royal’ order and are supplying to three other TV shows and a concert. People have gone sweet mad!

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

As well as ensuring that people want your product, ensure that some of your products are press friendly. If you can get good reviews and editorial you have free advertising for life!

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?

I would like Sherbet pip to be a recognised brand for all things sweet related.



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