With it being so close to Halloween ,and Sweets being a masive part of modern day Halloween tradition , we at DGWGO thought we would feature one of the regions Top sweetie producers , Wee Sweetie Confectionery Creations .Donna Bradley The Lady behind the wonderful sweets , tells DGWGO the story all about how she started the business and found the company name !
Born and raised a Doonhamer lassie I’m 30ish and this is my first business venture. Until a few of years ago I worked as a psychiatric nurse specialising in forensics at a private hospital in Ayr. I was pretty good at it too- I was a charge nurse by 25, then things started to go wrong, my health deteriorated and an injury at work resulted in my move back to Dumfries and back home with Mum. During a rough couple of years I finished my post-grad and was told I could never return to practice as a nurse and so the idea of Wee Sweetie started to grow.
I reckon I’m quite the sweetie connoisseur- my first job (aged 12) was in a sweet shop and I eat a massive amount of sweets but for medical reasons (that’s my excuse). I have Crohn’s disease, a chronic digestive disorder and sugar is about the only thing I can eat without being unwell so breakfast and lunch are usually sweets (not a great diet but better than being in constant pain!). I always have a stash in my pocket or bag and I’m the only adult I know that would regularly eat double lollies and cola bottles.
I often complained about the lack of variety and quality of sweets and got fed up of eating the same things so I was delighted when for Christmas 2012 my sister bought me Hope and Greenwoods book Life is Sweet, I had been making tablet and fudge from the age of 12 but had never considered making anything else, and everything kind of snowballed from there. I started making sweet presents for friends and family pretty much straight away and everyone said they were great, I did a sweetie table for my nephew’s 1st birthday last March and a lot of the guests told me I should sell my creations so I began to think maybe it really could work.
Last November I started to put out a variety of samples at my friends business and her customers blind tasted and rated them for me, the results and comments were amazing and I started taking custom orders (far more than I expected) for gifts, weddings, parties, etc. in march of this year – I am fully approved by Environmental Health and Trading Standards to create sweeties from my home kitchen which is fantastic as I can often be found making something at 3am when I’m too sore to sleep!
My friend stocks my sweeties in small quantities at her pilates studio and I currently have a local tearoom/gift shop trialling them but I hope to find other local suppliers- farm shops or cafés. I’ll continue to take on custom orders that can be posted throughout the country whenever I can and attend specialist local craft fairs, gala days & fetes.
Wherever possible I use local products including Uncle Roys colours and extracts, Scottish sea salt and Lockerbie butter. I’m keen to collaborate with other local food businesses too and use their products wherever possible, examples include cider, preserves, beers, juices and peanut butter all produced within Dumfries and Galloway.
I make a point to trade ethically and fairly sourcing only sustainable/organic/ fairtrade/free-range/recyclable raw materials, producing seasonal, limited edition sweets and make a point of ensuring that my prices are fair to my customers too.
I make a broad range of sweeties including taffy, toffee slabs, bonbons and coins, candy canes and lollipops, sherbet dips, nut brittles, fudge, boiled sweets and caramels in a wide variety of flavours and colours from old-fashioned childhood varieties to very modern creations. I’m led to believe that I’m the only person in Scotland (possibly the UK) who currently sells handmade pulled sugar sweets.
I can even create sweeties especially for your event/business- choose which ingredients/colours/ flavours you’d like and I’ll work my sweetie magic just for you! Again I seem to be totally unique in offering this service.
I make everything in small batches to ensure my sweets are as fresh as can be and I always try to make them look and feel handmade, not uniform and mass-produced. I don’t believe in adding anything unnecessarily so make sure everything is always completely natural, preservative and additive free. Most are gluten free and veggie friendly too.
My packaging is deliberately recycled and recyclable, while still looking elegant and special.
Right now Wee Sweetie is tiny but who knows where I’ll end up? I’m doing something I love on my own terms, keeping my own hours and building a fresh start all at the same time!!
• *My papa always called me Wee Sweetie – I’m 5’2”, 7stone and I’ve always had a very sweet tooth. He worked at the Carnation factory and would bring home mountains of mis-shapes and rejected sweets, heaven!
Find out more on the website at http://www.weesweetie.com
or if you want to order some sweets contact Donna on firstname.lastname@example.org