High street giants Next and Lakeland have signed a deal to sell items produced by a Lincolnshire gourmet food firm.
The two national retailers are to stock products from the range by Lincoln-based Naked Marshmallow Company.
The business is in its third year of trading and is run by Ollie Rendall, 27 and Joe Colson, 25. It began life in Ollie’s mum’s kitchen.
They create hand made marshmallows in a range of unique flavours and have previously sold their stock into online store Not on the High Street as well as Liberty London, Selfridges and Fire Box.
Ollie said: “We have been stocked in Lakeland for about three weeks now after month of negotiations. Joe and I went into the store in Lincoln and saw our products in there and we were just buzzing, it was an amazing feeling to be stocked in a company that has such a massive reputation for what it does.
“We have launched alcoholic marshmallows into Lakeland so we have a Raspberry Prosecco, Espresso Martini and a Elderflower London gin flavour, which is really exciting and something completely new. They all contain alcohol as well which is really fun.
“We will also be stocked in Next from September as part of their Autumn / Winter line. We are launching a gourmet marshmallow toasting kit which will be part of their Christmas directory, which we are really excited about. The product is in really high end packaging which really helps to give it that gourmet feel which is something that we’re really passionate about.”
Other flavours of marshmallows that the website stocks includes Candy Floss, Vanilla Bean, Choc Orange, Cookies and Cream, Strawberry and Cream and Salted Caramel.
Ollie added: “We’re constantly trying to create new and innovative products and we focus on creating the experience and not to just ship off our products in plastic packaging.
“It has been a phenomenal year so far, it just seems to be working at the minute with people loving the products that we are creating. We are always looking to expand and I don’t think it hits you just how much has changed until you stand there and think ‘oh my god’ so much has happened since we started three years ago.
“For us we are always looking to expand but into the right retailers, we need to make sure that we are placing our products in the right high end stores so that we are hitting the right audience, we have to be so so careful to protect the brand and we are constantly in talks with people to try and get into other retailers.”
Naked Marshmallow are already stocked with online giant Not on the High Street, Liberty London, Selfridges and Fire Box.
Some of the products currently sold on the website include the Marshmallow Toasting Kit, Smore’s Kit, Fondue Set, Giant Marshmallow Hot Choc Kit and Marshmallow Dipping Kit.
Ollie continued: “Myself and Joe were both in jobs previously that we weren’t very happy in. They were very target driven and we were always pushing for those businesses to make as much money as possible. So it was quite demoralising when you got your standard pay check at the end of every month even though you had put in all the extra hard work and were pumping money into someone else’s business.
“Me and Joe were always looking at food trends and we saw that gourmet popcorn and cupcakes were really flying and also gourmet marshmallows were doing really well. We noticed that a lot of traditional products were being re-invented, so we decided to give it a go and that’s how we started creating our own version of gourmet marshmallows.”
Their journey began in November 2014 when they started making marshmallows in Ollie’s mum’s kitchen in Lincoln and they would both take them into work for colleagues to try.
Ollie continued:“At the time I worked in a call centre and I used to take them in to get feedback when one day someone asked me if they could buy some. The penny dropped and we suddenly thought if someone would pay for these this could be a really great thing,” explained Ollie, Joe added: “Then we started in the world of marshmallow and never looked back.”
The business was originally based on the Wellbeck Estate near to Worksop but last July they made the move to Lincoln and are now on Sadler Road.
Ollie said:”One of our most popular products is the Marshmallow Toasting Kit, and I think it’s the fact that it’s not just a marshmallow that we sell it’s the experience that we sell along with it. So with the toasting kit we have had people contact us on social media with them using it with their family and friends which is fantastic.”
Three years ago the business started out as just the two of them but now they employ six full-time members of staff all year round and have over 15 people working for them over the Christmas period from September to late January.
Ollie said: “We are always looking to expand and we never get complacent as we know that this is a tough industry. We are both looking forward to seeing what the rest of the year brings as we are thrilled to be stocked in these two National retailers.”