1. So, who is Imran and what inspired the creation of Jealous Sweets?
Imran is the co founder of Jealous Sweets; Jealous was created when Imran came to crossroads in his life: should he continue to slave away behind the confines of his desk or chase the girl of his dreams? Obviously, he thought it best to seduce her with sweet offerings.
2. I love the idea of using a Magpie, how did that come about?
We wanted to develop a strong identity to go with our strong brand name; the magpie is an edgy and quirky bird. It also has a reputation for stealing shiny objects and jewels in an attempt to attract a mate!
3. What do you enjoy the most about running your own business?
The ability to create and develop ideas, the freedom to explore different strategies of building and growing the brand, as well as being able to choose who we work with and who we choose not to work with.
4. What is the biggest hurdle you had to overcome so far?
I think having to deal with a Trademark legal battle over the name just jealous after we had received our first order from Selfridges was a bitter pill to swallow. It was a start-up nightmare and had massive implications on launching the brand and also large costs to absorb before we even started trading.
5. Think back to when you’d just started out – what do you know now that you wish you’d known then?
I wish I had more money saved up for rainy days and also for general living expenses, which don’t go away. It would have also been useful to know that going into business on your own is a hard slog – it can be a struggle mentally and emotionally in all aspects of life, so one has to balance this out very carefully. I also wish I’d known that everything costs three times as much and takes three times as long as you think to develop!
6. Who are your competitors?
Our main competitors are premium chocolate brands as we’re the only brand making sweets for grown-ups that are designed in a healthier way; Jealous is vegan and gluten-free amongst as well as being all natural.
7. Sweet adventures are my favourite, what inspired all the names?
When you mix our sour beans and our tangy worms, the sour, sweet and sharpness create a sweet adventure in your mouth to tantalise your taste buds. Each box creates a different sensation depending on the sweets in the box, hence the various names including Sweet Revolution & Sweet Magic.
8. How was the entire process from concept to launch?
I started thinking about going into the world of sweets as early as 2006 but Taz and I formally became The Sweet Magician and Sweet Revolutionary when we quit our jobs in 2010. We launched Jealous into Selfridges as our first client on the 27th July 2011. So I’d say it took a couple of years in total from concept to launch.
9. How have you funded Jealous Sweets so far?
Initially it was funded through savings, redundancy money and then some Angel investments.
10. You’ve already branched out in a few countries, where do you think is next?
We’re moving into the Middle East and Asia in a big way as well as North America, everyone seems to love the Jealous brand and we’re picking up serious momentum.
11. What business advice stuck with you until now?
A funny quote that I feel applies to business as much as it does in boxing from Mike Tyson, “Everyone has a plan ‘til they get punched in the mouth”.
I think dreaming big, having a clear crystal vision and building a business that you can be proud of is good advice from various entrepreneurs.
12. What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs on the same journey as yourself?
I would say to only start a business if you’re passionate about what you’re about to embark on, because the journey is going to be very difficult and if you don’t love what you do then you wont last very long. Having mental agility and great mentors and peers to lean on during the journey will help you massively.
Having a great idea is only 5%, being excellent at execution is where it counts, so get a business partner with different skill sets otherwise the journey is going to be even tougher and lonelier.
13. Where do you see Jealous Sweets in the next 12 months?
Jealous is branching out into the world of fashion and TV and also pushing into the global circuit in a bigger way.