Virgin StartUp of the week: Retro Sugar
Margarita King is the founder of Retro Sugar, a mobile sweet stall aiming to recreate the childhood joy of computer games and sweet treats. Her stall has two distinctive looks suitable for a variety of occasions: a traditional 'sweetshoppe' complete with costumes, and a gaming-themed stall where the sweets are displayed in specially-adapted pinball machines. Amazing. Let's find out more!
We choose one Virgin Startup company to be featured on Virginstartup.org each week. We ask our startups of the week to deliver the ultimate elevator pitch. What would they say if they had one minute in a lift with Sir Richard Branson? Please answer the questions below, keeping each answer to five sentences max.
Ground to floor 1 – Explain what your business does
I run a specially crafted travelling confectionery stall selling traditional English goodies and chocolates - all designed to bring the memories flooding back! We have a beautiful twist: we switch into TWO stall types. A vintage 1960s full uniform and apron sweet shoppe, and a retro arcade gaming cabinet with pinball machines. We effortlessly switch formats between venues. We are also available for weddings, birthdays etc.
We simply set up at the site and then, depending on whether we're operating on a pre-paid or full-pay model, you can visit us as much as you like. No candy carts with us! It's a total immersive experience.
Floor 1 to 2 - Where are you based?
We're based in Dartford, Kent. This is where all my planning and paperwork takes place. The actual selling of stock comes from us travelling all over the UK, visiting gaming conventions and vintage craft fairs. We can be found locally around locations that include Essex to Morden, Tobacco Docks, London, Knebworth, Coventry, Stafford, and even as far as NEC Birmingham, with a Newcastle appearance planned for 2016.
Floor 2 to 3 – What’s the business model?
Developing a trusted confectionery stand within a fun and engaging environment. A wealth of knowledge, experience from varying sectors - and, of course, professionalism. This is paramount to build my brand.
We are a fun stall, open engaging and warm, designed to relax and bring back happy childhood memories. We're happy to chat, happy to assist, and happy to serve.
Floor 3 to 4 – Who are your competitors?
My competitors are generally contained to those within the events itself. The great thing is that all sellers are chosen for their unique goods, which ensures we all have a chance to show our stall, skills and product without stepping on each other's toes. It’s a win-win situation.
Floor 4 to 5 – What’s your USP?
We present our goods in TWO design formats. For craft events we use a vintage 1960s theme display. It's pretty, white, and classic.
Our gaming stall, however, is 100% unique. Each sweet type (including sugar, sugar-free, fudge, extreme sour and specialist chocolate) is presented in its own gaming and pinball cabinet, especially designed to hold the goods. My gaming stall is a work of art in itself, and could not have been completed without Mike and his team at Candy Cabs, Derbyshire. (Thank you very much Mike.) It has never been done before and I am extremely proud to say that!
Floor 5 to 6 – Where did the idea come from?
This idea was born from the necessity to create something that was my own. I have fifteen years of retail and managerial experience, and have always been an avid gamer. My love of retro consoles began at six years old, when I started enjoying Atari, SNES, ColecoVision and Amstrad CPC464. I wanted to bring back the memories of us eating sweets and playing those consoles socially.
Floor 6 to 7 – How much funding did you receive from Virgin StartUp?
Floor 7 to 8 – How are you going to use it to grow your business?
This funding has allowed me to get the stall bought and set up. I plan to utilize social media to promote my business, and ensure that I become a resident figure throughout UK craft and gaming events.
Floor 8 to 9 – Who’s your Virgin Startup Mentor?
Bobby Chadha - Accountant Product Manager EMEA at Intuit. Bobby specialises in financial and marketing advice.
Floor 9 to 10 – What’s your workspace like?
Floor 10 to 11 – where will your business be in 12 months’ time?
I hope to be a fully-fledged stall that’s well-known to the local gaming and craft community. Within the next years I would love to own my own shop. That would be sweet perfection!