One 2 One with Candy Mechanics – When food meets technology, it has to be something special to grab the attention whilst not devaluing the taste. Those clever guys at start-up firm Candy Mechanics may have just found the perfect marriage and we needed little persuasion to find out more about what makes them a little different to the rest.
We spoke to CEO and founder Sam Part to get the lowdown on how he brought chocolate and technology together to such great success.
How did Candy Mechanics first come about?
“The idea for Candy Mechanics was born from my final university project when studying design at Kingston University. It started with a simple spelling mistake that sparked a big idea. I was asked to ‘Know who you are and tell the world’ and wrote, ‘I’m a lickable guy’ instead of ‘I’m a likeable guy.’
“I created my own head as a lollipop and ended up winning D&AD New Blood, (an international design competition) with the idea.”
How many people are involved with the company?
“Candy Mechanics was formed back in 2015 by myself and co-founder Ben Redford. Soon after, we met and collaborated with Confectionary Director William Leigh, (former chief taster at Green & Blacks) to produce the chocolate. The technology has been developed by Engineer and Chief Technologist, Chris Tait to create a completely unique process, with the end result being totally customisable candy products.
“We are now a team of six looking after all areas of the business from production and marketing through to running events, where we collaborate with other brands and private clients.”
What has the response been to the business?
“The response to the idea and what we are doing as a business is incredible. Our customised products help bring context to the 3D space and can be understood by anyone.
“Historically one of the barriers to 3D products has been the knowledge required to understand or create products. You needed to be an engineer, a designer or similar. What we have achieved with a very simple idea opens up the opportunities 3D can offer, in a way that is accessible to everyone.
“Essentially we are focusing on creating instant mass customisation in 3D and we are one of the first to be tackling that space. We’ve found lots of people take an interest in it as they have never seen anything like it before.”
“We’ve had people all across the globe creating the ‘Lolpops’ and now we are seeing many of those customers creating Candy Cards as gifts, which is really exciting and shows we can scale as a business.”
Can you tell us a little bit about the science behind the brand?
“Candy Mechanics is formed from the love of customised products, engineering and a sweet tooth for confectionary. Our process uses CNC mills, (Computer Numerical Control mills). These are typically used in engineering with materials such as wood, metal and plastic, to put it simply we have used existing technologies and customised them.
“We’ve designed our chocolate to fit our carving needs and the flavours have been developed by Confectionary Director, William Leigh the former Chief Taster of Green & Blacks.”
Where has the biggest interest come from?
“We’ve found that most people love the idea of having their own heads carved in chocolate.
“Our recent pop-up shop in Covent Garden was a rewarding experience for us, it was great to see all age groups coming in, getting involved and having their heads made. We’ve also had orders from all over the world on our website for both products. It’s great to see people picking up on the idea and wanting to create their own customised products.”
Are you contracted to any single chocolate brand?
“Our source chocolate is Belgian and we use this to make our chocolate ‘blanks’. These are the starting blocks for both Candy Cards and Lolpops before we start the customisation process.
“At the moment we are not contracted to a single chocolate brand, although this is something we are looking into at the moment.”
What does the future hold for Candy Mechanics?
“This is an exciting time for us. We only launched in October of last year and there are a lot of opportunities both in the U.K and globally to introduce consumers to our customised confectionary products. From a product perspective, we are currently introducing new chocolate flavours including sea salted bars and a special Gin & Tonic flavour.
“We are also looking at how we can evolve the technology through an automation processes to make the experience even more interesting to customers. This will hopefully mean you see us pop up all over the UK in the coming months.”
Do you have a store people can visit?
“We’ve just finished our first retail pop-up in Covent Garden. It was great fun and we hope to be doing another one soon. In this retail environment, customers can see the Lolpops being carved right in-front of their eyes. Both the Candy Cards and Lolpops can also be ordered online from our online store: www.candymechanics.com
Does your machinery also “travel”?
“Yes, our Candy Carts are portable. So far this year we’ve taken Candy Mechanics out all over Europe including Barcelona where we created Lolpops at Mobile World Congress and the team are super excited to be heading out to Ibiza later this month for an event.”
What is the long-term ambition for Candy Mechanics?
“We believe that consumers of the future should have the freedom to completely customise everything they buy.
“We are providing context for customers to fully understand 3D and allow them to easily make their own customised products without needing any additional skillsets. This is just the beginning for us and we are already looking to evolve both our technology and products to make this even more relevant and exciting to customers.
“One day we hope that you’ll see Candy Mechanics in every retail or leisure destination, even to a point where you can customise and create your very own 3D products right in front of your eyes in minutes.”
For more information on Candy Mechanics visit their website here.