17th November 2017
Founder: Harriot Pleydell-Bouverie
“It wasn’t an idea as such,” Harriot Pleydell-Bouverie laughs, explaining how she came up with the idea for her marshmallow company Mallow & Marsh. “My friends bet £50 that I couldn’t make marshmallows at home. I came back to the group the next day and gave them out. The hype around it and the interest that I received from people just got under my skin and it kind of kept on going from there”.
Harriot went on to become a winner in Sainsbury’s PitchUp competition, you can now find her tasty treats across t he country. “I was only in 27 stores to start with, then we nudged it and grew over four years to be in over 1000 stores nationally”. Harriot speaks of her experience with Sainsbury’s as pivotal in the Mallow & Marsh story.
“It was then I realised I needed a proper professional space. Before that, I just made marshmallows in my kitchen and sold them on my market stall. Eventually I realised it was something really interesting and I needed to focus on it.”
Harriot had to learn about running a company on the job and the challenges have come thick and fast: “I’ve gone through a lot of different stages. I was making a product that literally didn’t exist in this country. We had it outsourced initially but then had to pull out due to failures in consistency and quality. It was a nightmare. It was the hardest learning curve I’ve ever gone through.”
Harriot laughs about how she found out “marshmallows melt just like chocolate.” A lorry’s worth of marshmallow melted at the start of her first summer selling. But instances such as these have inspired Harriot to “always keep going” and now she’s eyeing up new opportunities. “We’re looking at export and bringing in new product lines. We’re finally starting to feel like a real business!”
“SAINSBURY’S GAVE ME A BIT OF A KICK. IT DOESN’T MATTER IF YOU THINK YOU’RE TOO SMALL, YOU SHOULD BE GOING FOR COMPETITIVE OPPORTUNITIES ANYWAY.”
Her advice to other businesses is simple: “You just have to go for it! And take advantage of all the resources you have. Sainsbury’s gave me a bit of a kick. It doesn’t matter if you think you’re too small, you should be going for competitive opportunities anyway.
“Small problems can feel huge when you’re a small business but you get used to it. Everything’s alright in the end, and if it’s not alright then it’s not the end! That’s a saying we live by at Mallow & Marsh.”