Meet the founder of Sweetdreams Ltd
Hi Matt it's great to meet you, please tell us about the man behind Sweetdreams Ltd ?
I’ve always wanted to own my own business, inspired by my Dad who has had many entrepreneurial successes in his career. As such, the opportunity to pick up Sweetdreams when it was due to be closed was to good an opportunity and the chance to fulfill my dreams. What helps is that I’m an idea’s man, so I’m constantly looking for the next opportunity, or a project to stimulate my mind and this has driven Sweetdreamssuccess from the start. Thankfully, I now have a team around me who I can bounce ideas off, or at least sense check some of the more crazy ones.
Finally, I am a family man – everything I do is to allow me to spend time with the wife and kids – my two boys are very sporty, and I follow them all over the country to watch them. If you are looking for any negatives, I stupidly support Sunderland (thanks Dad) so I don’t always get everything right.
The confectionery industry is a large and competitive market, what sets you apart from your competitors?
The fact we innovate and believe in our brand – Choc Nibbles is unique, from its raw materials, taste, look and branding. And its owned by Cath and I. As such, we can develop, guide and build the business as we see best. This means we work with suppliers, customers and people that we want, who also buy in to the brand.
Where did the name Sweetdreams Ltd come from?
If I’m honest, it was inherited from the previous owner. He was planning to close the business down due to business as well as health issues. I thought that was a crackers idea, and managed to talk him in to selling it to me, and the rest is history.
Recently you employed three of the leading names in chocolate, what kind of qualities do you look for when choosing to people to be part of the company.
They have to buy in to my plans and strategy for the company. But more importantly, I have to feel as if I would enjoy a pint with them along. You have to assume they are already technically right for the position (experience, CV etc) but if we don’t get on, it won’t work. Of course we will have ups and downs working together, but the ability to see the good things in them (ascertained over the previously mentioned pint) means you know any issues are short term.
Where do you hope to see the company in 3 years?
We are aiming to be the disruptive chocolate manufacturer. Be renowned for our innovation, sound business and strong customer relations. I will be disappointed if we haven’t at least doubled in size by then (if I’m honest we should be bigger than that)
If you had to recommend 1 of your products to someone to try for the first time, which product would you recommend?
This one is easy – Choc Nibbles. Its massively quirky, visually not that appealing but oh lordy does it taste good. Almost addictive to anyone with a sweet tooth
Who would you say was your target audience ?
I would like to say value driven, but that’s not the only factor. Choc Nibbles are liked by all – they are inoffensive, high quality quirky little bites. I’m proud to say I feel my products cross all boundaries of socio demographics.
What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started out as an entrepreneur?
Find someone who can spot detail. I’m terrible for detail, willing to make decisions, agree to things quickly. I now have a team around me to bounce things off, which I didn’t at the start (which led to some rather expensive wrong decisions).
What advice would you give other entrepreneurs looking to enter the confectionery industry?
Think brand – confectionery has become commodotised in some sectors (sugar, jellies etc) whereas the success stories have recognised brand, provenance and confidence in the product is more important.
What would you say is your biggest accomplishment in your entrepreneurial journey so far?
My biggest accomplishment is happening now – Sweetdreams Ltd is gaining traction with its Choc Nibbles brand on the high street, we have moved to larger premises due to ever growing demand, I have recruited some of the best experts in their field to join our journey and I’m still smiling.
I have made some bold decisions to develop and grow, and we are achieving those targets on time, in profit and successfully. My final accomplishment is to see the company achieve listings in all 4 major supermarkets, and as we are talking to 2 of them as we speak, I am confident it will happen.