Throughout her tennis career, the 27-year old Maria Sharapova has not been sweet to her opponents, winning five Grand Slam titles, most recently the 2014 French Open. But Sharapova is looking to be a lot sweeter to many, as she launched Sugarpova, a premium candy line that reflects her fun, fashionable, sweet side.
With such a great name, who coined it? “I can’t take credit for coming up with the name. I was having a meeting with my manager who had met with Jeff Rubin, who is pretty influential in the candy business, and they had started talking about it. Originally, it was something I was going to be a part of, then I thought…I really want to own this,” Sharapova said. “I guess I can say it started because I have been part of so many little things in my career, been a part of collaborations and collections. It came to a point where I really wanted to invest my own money into something, make all final decisions.”
Sugarpova offers a bit of luxury and aims to interpret classic candies in her own signature style. She hopes to bring a new level of quality to the candy world through fun, unexpected types, shapes and names. Some of the names include Smitten Sour, Flirty, and Cheeky.
Reflecting on the success of Sugarpova, Maria spoke about the time since the company’s launch. “It’s been a really unique experience, because I had no experience coming into it. I feel everything that’s come my way I have been able to learn from. We have grown tremendously in two years. We are in over 30 different countries now with exclusive distribution deals. For a new company, that’s very, very rare. We are in different hotels. My goal is to keep it as premium as possible. I mean, from Four Seasons Hotel to unique boutiques around the world, Colette in Paris or somewhere in Asia. Yeah, it’s very interesting. You learn, because it’s candy. It’s, you know, a certain amount of dollars per bag. Obviously the more money you’re going to make is by the more bags you sell. At some stage you have to make decisions in terms of mass and where you want to go and the directions that you take. But it’s been a lot of fun.”
Should we expect Sugarpova to remain in the hands of Maria or will it get purchased by a bigger candy company? “Well, we do attend a few of the candy shows during the year where the big players are also in attendance. We’re like the mom-and-pop booth and they’re like basically take over the whole show. We have had a lot of interest from others, but I still want to carry the business in my hands because it’s my baby. It’s how I started. I’m far from ready to give it to anyone else.” Sharapova’s baby continues to grow, and that success is sweet to watch.