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Norfolk Business Awards 2018

New business owners hoping for sweet success with hero scheme

PUBLISHED: 09:29 10 September 2018 | UPDATED: 12:14 10 September 2018

Assorted sweets, Oxford Sweet

Assorted sweets, Oxford Sweet

Archant

The owners of a letterbox confectionery business are hoping to taste sweet success, thanks to a socially motivated philosophy.

Co-Founder of Oxford Sweet, Jemma Pennick, with letter box sweetsCo-Founder of Oxford Sweet, Jemma Pennick, with letter box sweets

Owners of Brundall-based Oxford Sweet, Jemma Rennick and Helen Stratford, are hoping that in giving back to their customers more than larger corporations do, they’ll stand out from their competitors.

“The core of our brand is the idea of giving back to our customers and the community. Businesses need to stop being so selfish and start giving back to their customers. Yes, we need to earn a living, but there’s so much more we can do,” Miss Rennick said.

“And this is what gave us the idea for what we’re calling the ‘Sweet Ripple Effect’. The concept of our business had to have social enterprise at the core, and then we decided on sweets because we both love them, and saw an opportunity.”

The Sweet Ripple Effect concept is behind the duo’s idea for a “hero box”. Everybody who buys a box from Oxford Sweets can nominate an everyday hero, and each month 10 of these nominees will be chosen as winners and will receive a free sweet box.

Miss Rennick said: “I think being more socially motivated definitely gives us the edge over competitors. Consumers are becoming more concerned with who they’re giving their money to, and we’re seeing bigger corporations picking up on this and making it a massive part of what they do.”

She added: “Both myself and my business partner Helen are still working full time, and we were squirrelling away these funds to begin our business. It cost us about £5,000 to start. We know we won’t be quitting our jobs this year, but we’re looking at going into partnership with sites like Not on the High Street and Amazon.

“I think because we invested our own money it’s made us be a lot more conscious of our decisions. We haven’t bought loads of stock because we haven’t got loads of space to store it, and likewise with our packaging we chose belly wraps on the boxes instead of full wraps. This actually turned out to be our best idea.”

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