Smith & Sinclair

Business Name:  Smith & Sinclair

Location:  London

Website:  http://www.smithandsinclair.co.uk/


 

Emile and Melanie are the duo behind Smith & Sinclair; the world’s first alcoholic cocktail pastilles that you really do have to eat responsibly (6% alcohol per pop!) They arrived at London Small Business Centre at the very early stages of their idea and after a series of 1-to-1 sessions with their Business Advisor, they committed to focusing their business on the pastilles.

In just a short period of starting up a business (hasn’t even been a year), their product is being sold in Harvey Nichols, Selfridges, Harrods, been featured in Stylist, Marie Claire, The Telegraph and collaborated with M & C Saatchi, Hayman’s Gin, Langley’s Gin, Beluga Vodka to name just a few.

We spoke to Melanie about the success of Smith & Sinclair.

Where did you get your business idea from?

Emile initially created the product when I asked him to think of something special for the series of events I was running which promoted ‘adult play’ (not sexy, literally board game dating nights).

We wanted the experience to continue beyond the event itself and offer guests a point of re-engagement. In essence, when you’re a kid you go to a party and make, create and taste things which go in a goodie bag, for you to continue a re-engagement beyond the party.

As adults, you have incredible experiences e.g. Cirque de Soleil, West End theatre, boutique hotel stays, where you are given mediocre products like cheap chocolate or popcorn, with nothing that can prompt a reliving of the experience. The Cocktail Pastilles are the ultimate ‘multisensorial’ take away item for the big kid in everyone.  We wanted to combine two items; nostalgia and theatre, but the direction the product has taken has been eye opening.

What were the challenges of being in the food and drink industry?

We’re forging a new category for ‘solid alcohol’.  With 6-8% ABV the products sit between the two industries, which made it tricky in regards to marketing and consumer education.

How did you secure your premises?

We initially worked from church and school kitchens until we could secure our own site which we did through a venue agency.

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“We couldn’t have possibly launched our business without the support of the London Small Business Centre and the savvy nature of our Business Advisor Pete, who was the first person to suggest merchandising the pastilles outside of the events they were created for.”

How did you perfect your recipe? 

Emile worked incredibly hard to stabilise the product. As we are the first people to attempt retailing a solid alcoholic product there were many issues with the pastilles liquid levels and shelf life. It took about 6 months to achieve the product quality, shelf life and flavour.

How important was the business support?

We couldn’t have possibly launched our business without the support of the London Small Business Centre and the savvy nature of our Business Advisor Pete, who was the first person to suggest merchandising the pastilles outside of the events they were created for.

Without his advanced knowledge of retail we wouldn’t have even known where to begin and the support has never dwindled. Knowing that a free service is available for businesses exactly like ours, not only at the beginning but through our growth, is an invaluable asset in London.­­

What would you attribute your growth and early success to?

We absolutely love our business and I think our enthusiasm, hard work and ‘all hands on deck’ attitude emanates from us. We are always working collaboratively with other companies and individuals, which means that word of mouth has travelled extremely quickly. I also think having a completely unique product means we stand out in an incredibly saturated market.

What is the future of Smith & Sinclair?

We aim to continue being the forerunners in alcoholic ‘edibles’ and position the company as the leading premium ‘experience driven’ brand in alcohol. We are working to secure the product in hotels, airlines and retailers globally (but are making sure we secure the rest of the UK first).

Images: Copyright Smith & Sinclair

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