Digger: Please tell us
something of your background and the background to Keep It
Will: We are a medium sized
business based in Dorset. Keep It Sweet was started in
2005 as a trial website on a shoe-string budget. Two of the
three founders worked in the banking industry at this time
(for their sins) and would be packing sweets into the
early hours of the morning from a small unit. Then taking
the orders to the post office in their lunch break. Within 4 months, it could pay a wage and it has gradually
grown from there. At present we sell around 150 tons of
sweets a year, catering for the retail and promotional
Digger: Can you tell us
what can people expect from your online store?
is a fun and simple website to use. We have around 16
categories of sweets containing around 400 products.
Whether it's glass jars, gift hampers, party bags, wedding
favours or a good old packet of black jacks, we do the
lot. Most of our portions are only
1 a bag, allowing you
more variety for your money.
Digger: Please tell us more
about your fascination for and involvement with these
Will: Sweets are a great
product to work with. They are colourful and varied, which
allows us to be very creative when producing a bespoke
package for a client. I find this to be one of the most
enjoyable parts of my job. We have the knowledge and
ability to have bespoke sweets made up. If you want a blue
Lemon Sherbet then we can get you one! Chocolate coins
with your face embossed on them....not a problem. It can
be great fun working with sweets, if not a little surreal
Digger: Sweets are very
evocative of an important early part of our lives. Why do
you think that more generally retro, vintage and nostalgia
is so increasingly popular with so many people these days?
Will: Sweets are a
nostalgic feel good product. It always surprises me how
easy it is to put a smile on someone's face when presented
with their favourite childhood sweets. The same
enthusiasm and nostalgia exists for old TV programmes from
our youth or computer games. Most sweets have never
disappeared (they just became harder to find). The
current revival in retro sweets has been great and there
are lots of new innovative ideas coming through. It did
seem that for 20 years or so the sweet shop was in
decline. It's also quite difficult to label sweets retro
sweets. I use this term to describe sweets from the 70's
and 80's (my childhood). Sweets like Love Hearts, I
include as retro sweets but in fact they were first
produced in the 1920's. Shrimps and Bananas were in the
late 50's. I think the current popularity is linked to
the accumulation of several factors, those being: those
born in the 60's, 70's and 80's having disposable incomes,
greater availability and an increase in Ecommerce. Faster
broadband speeds have also helped.
Digger: Where are you
sourcing these sweets and what are proving to be the most
Will: Without doubt, the
retro sweets from the 70,s and 80's are the firm
favourites. Flying Saucers, Wham Bars and Fizz Wiz are
amongst our best sellers. Other more obscure lines like
Aniseed Twists and Cough Candy are strong sellers from
Digger: What are your other
retro and vintage passions Will?
Will: I am a fan of vintage
clothing. This is another sector that seems to have grown
considerably in recent years. Vintage cars are also
great; I've always wanted a Ford Cortina MII or Escort MI
or II. I'm also a big Art Deco fan and live in an Deco
house with many of the original features intact.
Digger: Who are your
‘typical’ customers, where are they coming from and what
customer feedback/comments do you get?
Will: Our retail customers
are majority female between 20-50 years. We despatch to
an even amount of men and women interestingly. We are a
distance selling company, so despatch of our goods is all over
the world, although the majority is UK-based. The range
and quality of products and speed of delivery is what
normally prompts good feedback.
On the corporate side of
the business, we sell to banks, the cosmetic industry,
mobile phone companies, car manufacturers amongst others. Yet again, our ability to produce bespoke orders on super
short deadlines is what is appreciated.
Digger: What would you say
is special about the to Keep It Sweet experience?
Will: Great range, good
prices and speedy delivery. If you give us a ring we are
always more than happy to help and advise.
Digger: What are the best
and most enjoyable aspects of running Keep It Sweet?
Will: Every day is
different. One week we may be creating a fun bespoke
product and packaging for a corporate company, the next we
may be charging around sourcing a certain sweet at very
short notice for an urgent order. You never quite know
what to expect.
Digger: What are your plans
for to Keep It Sweet in the future?
Will: We are planning to
refresh the website soon to allow for larger portions to
be purchased at cheaper prices. We continue to improve
our own branding and are endeavouring to get our products
into high street retail stores.