In conversation with: Smith & Sinclair

4 min read

In conversation with Smith & Sinclair


Smith & Sinclair

Est. 2014 - London, UK

"We’re a touch of indulgence in a nostalgic form. [...] Being an adult is monotonous and we wanted to create a range of products which are fun, socially engaging and experiential to shop – break being an adult for a second."
- Melanie Goldsmith



We talk to Smith & Sinclair's Co-founder Melanie Goldsmith about play dates, adults being too serious, and how edible cocktails are the perfect accessory for dates nights. She also shares her best advice for anybody looking to set up a business. 


Jeya Narrative: Where does the name ‘Smith & Sinclair’ come from?

Melanie Goldmsith: My surname is Goldsmith and my business partner is Bernard. We sounded like accountants, so dropped the ‘Gold’ and went with Emile’s family name ‘Sinclair’.

 Smith & Sinclair | Behind the scenes

Your product and experiences are unique to the market - what made you want to create edible cocktails and experiences?

We wanted to create products that enhanced creative experiences. Initially for dating nights, then Secret Cinema, Alcohol brand events and we soon realized that product focused brands weren’t representing themselves on a deeper level of experience and we could. Our aim as a business is to bring magical and category breaking products to an accessible audience in a fun, shoppable way.

 

The idea for the edible cocktails stemmed from dating nights that you and co-founder Emile were organising, and the original idea was to free up dater’s’ hands without compromising on a liquid-filled evening. Can you tell us a little bit about that and your beginnings?

When we play as adults, we loose our inhibitions and engage on a deeper level; to make adults play we need to break social constructs and we used the Edible Cocktails to do this. On arrival guests would be given a pick n’mix bag and then there were jars of Edible Cocktails around the space – so it was obvious to guests what they should do and as soon as they tasted them, they were obviously alcoholic and acted as a social lubricant so there wasn’t such an urgency to have a drink, giving guests more time to get on, meet and play.


 Smith & Sinclair | Behind the scenes

What has been the biggest challenge so far? 

It’s a combination of growing the team and cashflow – as a manufacturing business we have to be very cautious around stock management and manufacturing and because culture and growth is so important, finding the right people, who can help us drive and be the best team to work with ever, is of course a challenge.

 

What makes your products so popular? What is the appeal?

We’re a touch of indulgence in a nostalgic form. We offer the quality that matches premium chocolate and wine/ cocktails but packaged into a ‘throwback’ product of ‘pick’n’mix’ so whether it’s a gift, dinner party item or wedding favour we’re totally unique, fun and taste amazing.

Smith & Sinclair | Behind the scenes 

How are the edible cocktails produced? Are they still made by hand in your kitchen?

We have a semi-automated manufacturing site where the products are made by hand and 85% of ingredients are sourced from the UK.

How do you stay innovative and find time to concoct new flavours amidst your growing success and customer orders?

We have a creative brainstorm session twice a week where we set a ‘fake brief’ for NPD to keep the team inspired and ensure we position innovation at the forefront of what we’re doing, always. New flavours are often inspired by trends and popularity and our aim for new products is to fulfill a need (new product coming soon…).

Smith & Sinclair | Behind the scenes
Smith & Sinclair | Behind the scenes

The concept of play is an integral one to your company. Could you tell us more about this and why you wanted to create playful experiences (i.e.the games dating nights, the playful events, the experiential concession at John Lewis)?

Because being an adult is monotonous and we wanted to create a range of products which are fun, socially engaging and experiential to shop – break being an adult for a second.

 

The visuals on your Instagram feed are very abstract and surreal. What is the inspiration behind those and how do they reinforce your values?

The core inspiration is ‘collaging’ which is obviously something we’re encouraged to do as a child but we forget – this is where our brand can come to life visually with colour, humour and creativity – this is the cornerstone for a lot of our brand creativity.

 

What advice would you give to somebody who wanted to start their own business?

Say yes to everything, figure it out later.  

 Smith & Sinclair | Eat your drink


Lastly…

Place you call home: London
A colour: Turquoise
A movie or book: Tuesdays with Morrie
A sound: The sea
A place: Hampstead Heath
Style icon: Solange Knowles
Go-to accessory to dress to impress: My Tatty Devine Tiger Necklace
Most coveted item in your wardrobe: A blue jumpsuit I got in NYC
Favourite tool to work with: My phone!
Favourite inspirational quote, or best piece of advice anybody ever gave you: "Many of life's failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up." - Thomas Edison
Why Jeya Narrative? They’re offering a creative difference in retail


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