A Redcar couple, faced with the setbacks of a job-loss and the coronavirus lockdown, chose to turn it all into the opportunity to fulfil a dream and create their own sweet business.

In just a few months, Kay Tarry and Marc Teasdale have seen demand for their Sugar Noms range of more than 100 vegan sweets and treats soar after starting the business when Marc was furloughed then lost his job as a kitchen designer.

“We had talked about this idea a lot and it was the push we needed really,” explained Kay Tarry.  “We have always looked for the childhood sweets that we loved to enjoy as vegans but it proved so difficult that it became a mission.”

Sugar Noms products are sourced world-wide with fudge made especially for them on the Isle of Wight and chocolate from Germany. The website features everything from fudge, meringues and the top-selling bon-bons to liquorice, cola bottles and even wonky noms at bargain prices.

“Our customers have total assurance that they are buying the best confectionary available for vegans, vegetarians and allergy sufferers with no risks of cross contamination,” said Marc Teasdale.  “We wanted to supply affordable treats and everything is tested, ingredient-checked and loved by us personally even though it’s a tough job!

“We started out in lockdown from home but were delighted when we could move into UKSE’s Innovation Centre in Redcar.  All the facilities, especially the 24 hour access as we can be packing orders until midnight, are ideal and the UKSE team has been so supportive and friendly.  We have created a Candyland office, been able to take on extra space and can organise Covid-safe collections and tasters,” he added.

The growing range at Sugar Noms, which has also benefitted from the Santander Universities Seed Fund, is 100% vegan and gelatine, egg and dairy free. There are gluten-free and palm oil-free options, clear labelling for ingredients such as nuts and soya and the convenient letterbox-friendly packs, tape and even stickers are vegan and 100% recyclable.

“We want customers to have fun,” says Kay, “so we have party sweets, pick and mix bags and subscription boxes. We have a strong following on Teesside alone and one of our biggest fans is my Nan who is dairy intolerant and owned her own traditional sweet shop in the 1960s.”

“We’re confident Sugar Noms will continue to grow and future ideas, some of them from customers, include sugar-free options and tailored wedding boxes. We plan to expand further outside the UK, create a You Tube channel and become the UK’s leading supplier.”

“It’s been a pleasure to help Sugar Noms settle in at the Innovation Centre during such a challenging time for businesses,” said UKSE’s Diane Parker, “and to see them do so well. We have also been very happy to help out with any testing requests!”