Ever the sweet-tooth, unLTD’s Joseph Food heads down Magna Business Park to visit Molly’s Mixtures, a South Yorkshire-based sweet company that specialises in corporate gifting, bespoke orders and special occasions.

“There’s never a dull moment in the sweet industry,” Molly’s Mixtures owner Olivia Ashdown tells me. This was after I’d made a fairly naïve remark on how it must be nice to have some downtime once Christmas and Valentine’s Day had passed, but I was reminded that Mother’s Day was just around the corner, quickly followed by Easter, and then Father’s Day weeks later before wedding season arrives. When you’re dealing with a universally loved product, there’s not much chance for downtime.

Molly's Mixtures
Olivia Ashdown, owner of Molly’s Mixtures

Olivia and I are joined by her best friend and co-owner Adele, fondly referred to on the company website as ‘the rhubarb to Olivia’s custard’. We’re sat in the office room of their two units at Magna Business Park, which is all very nice and convivial, but it’s next door that had me immersed in a nostalgic trip through sweet paradise. Lining the walls were large industrial shelves packed with every type of confectionery you could think of: chocolate, candy, pick & mix, hard-boiled, fizzy, fudge, toffee, liquorice, mint, sherbet, whips… you get the picture.

However, this sort of collection doesn’t accumulate overnight. It’s been over a decade since Olivia set up Molly’s Mixtures, which originally started as an eBay shop after she became a mum – the name inspired by Olivia’s newborn daughter. “I needed to find something to work on from home,” she says. “We’d noticed people selling sweets on eBay and we were lucky enough to have a confectionery wholesaler just ten minutes down the road, so we decided to give it a go. It started off working from the spare bedroom, ordering sweets in, packing orders in the garage, and within two years had grown considerably.”

Meanwhile, Olivia and Adele had met through a local baby group (their sons who were three months at the time remain good friends) and when the business had outgrown home operations, Adele was brought on board and the search for new premises began. “I worked in Facilities Management at the Outokumpu steelworks, which had started closing down and left me at risk of redundancy. I’d helped Olivia out before while on maternity leave, so when she approached me to say that she was looking to take the business to the next level and whether I’d like to get onboard and find some premises, it felt like something worth taking the plunge for.”

“That’s what we enjoy the most – creating real gifts for real people.”

The growth has continued at a steady rate since, with Molly’s progressing in unit sizes at the business park. The orders continued to roll in, prompting investment in recruitment and the creation of a new, user-friendly website. This has allowed them to pivot away from the faceless platforms of Ebay and Amazon, focusing instead on direct business with local companies and individuals.

“That’s what we enjoy the most – creating real gifts for real people,” explains Olivia. “Working through Amazon and Ebay can feel very impersonal, and I suppose it goes back to what our values are as a company. We want that personal feeling with our customers; we enjoy being creative with what we offer, and the ability to adapt and be flexible is important to us. We’ve had a few corporate clients come onboard recently who’ve commented on how it’s so nice to be able to speak to somebody one-on-one, and that’s exactly how we want it to be.”

Molly’s Mixtures offers a wide range of customisable gift jars, hampers and letterbox-friendly boxes on their website – ideal for corporate gifting. Whether you’re looking to reward your staff, treat a client or add a sweet touch to your next event or promotional campaign, customers can design their perfect choice on the website or submit a bespoke inquiry to ensure they get exactly what they’re looking for.

Molly's Mixtures
Adele White, the ‘rhubarb to Olivia’s custard’

Olivia believes it’s that personal touch that helps them to stand out. “We have the capability to brand up and personalise the gifts in-house, and then we can personally handpick and mix what goes into each order, taking into account any specific dietary requirements. It’s a great feeling to sell a product that makes people smile; everyone likes sweets – and when it comes to making your brand stand out, it certainly beats sending a branded pen or a mug in our eyes.”

Before allowing Olivia and Adele to return to their orders, it was time to finish our interview by dropping the big question: what’s your favourite sweet?

“I’m not just saying this because Easter is coming up,” laughs Olivia, “but Chocolate Mini Eggs are mine. I’m an absolute chocoholic so I’m going for that.”

“I’m going to go for more of a classic,” replies Adele. “Fizzy bubblegum bottles are mine. However, it changes almost daily – we’re spoilt for choice here!”

To browse the range on offer, head to mollysmixtures.co.uk. For bespoke enquiries, contact info@mollysmixtures.co.uk or call 01709 789449.

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