Business Name: Smith & Sinclair
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.