Niche homewares retailer Red Candy pride themselves on their range of modern, vibrant and exciting gifts and home accessories. Their motto is ‘shut up, beige!’, and the site is crammed with such quirkiness as Michael Jackson tribute tea towels and bottle openers in the shape of dinosaurs. Sara Walker spoke to founder Andy Menzies to find out more.
SW: I’m familiar with the brand, and you’re my go-to website if I need, for example, a skull-shaped decanter for a piece I’m working on! All your products are quirky and some are frankly insane (in a good way). Red Candy looks like a fantastic, vibrant place to work. How did it come about?
AM: Well, that’s mighty fine of you to say so! Insane is better than boring, right?! The idea for Red Candy came about largely from an innate desire to go it alone. Start a business, test myself, see what I can achieve! I studied furniture design at uni, had a few design jobs, and gradually found myself gravitating towards more ‘out there’ designs – stuff that makes you stop and stare. Red Candy was born when these two interests gravitated towards each other!
SW: How do you decide what to stock? How do you balance commercial considerations with personal taste – would you stock something you didn’t like because you thought it would sell, and vice versa? Where do you find your products? Are any of them exclusive to you?
AM: When I first set out I found product sourcing pretty straight forward. Anything I looked at and thought ‘I wish I had designed that!’ was in, so the product selection grew like an extension of my personality. Now the team has grown and there are more people involved in the process I guess the Red Candy curation represents parts of all of us! In general, if it is fun, colourful, a little bit of odd and a whole heap of character, we’re going to get our mitts on it!
At certain points we’ve no doubt stocked products we don’t personally like, and vice versa, but we tend to avoid this now. I mean, if we’re not excited about our latest finds, how can we expect our customers to be? If a potential new product is met with blank faces from my team, then it is dumped. The right product pretty much has all of us shouting ‘YES!’ at the same time!
We’ve had a mere smattering of exclusive items over time, and this is DEFINITELY an area we’re going to be focussing on in 2019. We’ve already got a few crackers on the way, so watch this space!
SW: What’s your current best seller?
AM: You know what, I’d LOVE to say it was something a bit mad like a dinosaur lamp, hippo bottle opener or cactus-shaped glasses, but if the truth be told it is nothing more exciting than a coat hook! It’s a perfectly fine coat hook – made from solid wood with a pleasingly curved body – but compared to the rest of our range it is one of the more shy and retiring types!
Fortunately the remainder of the top 10 is made up of said dino lamps, some fab statement clocks and a bunch of 3D wall décor, so on balance we can’t be too sad.
SW: Why did you decide to move from being ‘Red Candy’ to ‘Multicoloured Candy’?!
AM: As you’ve referred to, the original concept for Red Candy was selling ONLY red stuff. Yeah. Intense, right?? If you wanted a red clock, red vase or red kitchen accessory, you came to us! It was really well received and we grew mega quickly, but all the while we’d have customers asking ‘Hey, do you do this in other colours?’ After a couple of years of telling them politely no, we reached a point where we began to listen.
There was such a growing demand for the style and design of our items that we decided to go with the flow and embrace all colours of the rainbow! Best decision we’ve ever made. I still find browsing Red Candy a total joy, even though I look at these items all day every day!
AM: I like my clothes simple and my interiors eclectic! During my last wardrobe audit I discovered that 97.5% of my outfits were either grey or black, so more recently I’ve pushed the boat out with some rather daring dark blue numbers. I’m rarely spotted without a pair of rather dilapidated once-white Converse, Levis, and one grey pullover or another. Maybe I need to invest in a pair of red socks..?!
My home, on the other hand, contains a right old mishmash! I’ve got vintage ski posters next to a Bowie watercolour next to a HUGE silver-framed mirror next to some of my own photography. Nothing matches, but it all somehow cobbles together to form a smile inducing, warm and homely interior. People always ask me if my home is stuffed full of Red Candy bits and bobs, and strangely it isn’t! However, some of the new Seletti range we’ve just launched is now on my Christmas list…!
SW: Do you have such a thing as a ‘typical customer’, and if so who is it?
AM: Oh, for sure! We’ve amassed quite an eccentric following, many of whom love to call us simply for a chat about their latest weird and wonderful interior ideas! Female, mid 30s, young family, TOTALLY design-inspired and a bit of a creative at heart, our typical customer likes characterful and colourful pieces, and loves to make a strong statement with their interior design.
We notice a lot of the same names coming back to shop each time we have a new product launch, so either they refresh and replace regularly, or they are totally stuffing their homes full of fun décor! We hope the latter. 🙂
SW: Please describe a day at Red Candy HQ!
Every good day begins with Earl Grey! Granted, the rest have a coffee, but I need my 8am earl grey and porridge whilst I’m catching up on the morning’s emails. Then we usually have a quick catch up about what we want to spend our day doing, followed by at least 10 minutes petting one of the many office dogs that stroll around the building (this is probably the most important part of the day).
We do most of the fun stuff in-house (PR, product sourcing, graphic design, copywriting, social media, etc), and tend to work as a team when it comes to developing ideas, so most days frequently come back to lively discussions about each other’s work! There’s rarely a dull moment (other than the dreaded accounts on a Friday…)
SW: What’s next for the brand?
We’re SO excited for 2019! We’ve got some awesome new pieces winging their way to us as we speak, set for launch in early Jan! I don’t want to say too much just yet (sorry to be a party pooper), but I can say that these magical bits will be bravely leading Red Candy in an even more fun and characterful direction! That’s all you’re getting for the meantime, but rest assured you’ll be amongst the first we will contact when the stock is on the shelves!
SW: Thanks Andy!
To find out more about Red Candy and browse the online shop, visit www.redcandy.co.uk0