“If I hadn’t gone for it and started SweetPunkz then I’d always have been asking myself what-if?”
Grant Fraser has always had a sweet tooth and, more importantly, an eye for business and when the second lockdown came round last December, the 28-year-old Business Management graduate used it as an opportunity to roll up his sleeves, and delve into the world of confectionery.
A self-confessed ‘chocolate fiend’, it has been a match made in heaven, opening online sweet store, SweetPunkz, proving to be a resounding success in the space of just a few months.
The former Park Mains pupil explains: “It wasn’t a decision I made lightly and I knew the risks, but in life, you don’t know something until you try, and after a couple months of researching and asking others already in the industry for advice, I decided I had to go for it.
“I worked relentlessly to get SweetPunkz to the stage of launch. Every day I would tick off another step that I had to do. One day it was the logo, the next it was the mission statement. It was just a conveyor belt of stages, and once the stock, certification, and website were sorted, we went live in March 2021.”
Grant’s business now boasts a pick and mix range of over 85 options, including sweets to meet many dietary requirements, importing stock from as far afield as the USA, Dubai and Australia.
There’s Friday night deliveries across Renfrewshire, his customers enticed by his quirky videos on social media, including the Super Sour Challenge, which went viral on TikTok and raised a fantastic sum for Scottish mental health charity SAMH in the process.
Home for his burgeoning business is Start-Up Street, the enterprise centre on Paisley’s George Street.
Providing low-cost workspace and onsite support, the centre was set-up by the Council in partnership with Launch It, who manage the site day-to-day and run a programme mentoring young people to hone their entrepreneurial skills.
Grant adds: “I’d never taken that leap into a business premise before, but at Start-Up Street, it’s a readymade package in a great environment, meaning you don’t need to fixate on the bills, it’s a security blanket that lets you focus all your attention on growing your business.
“When you go self-employed it can be lonely and you can start to feel lost, so it’s great to be here, alongside other business owners and I’ve had great support from James [Edmonds – Grant’s Council Business Gateway adviser], he’s been my go-to guy since the start and has helped me at every turn.
“I’ve been blown away by just how quickly things have taken off, it’s been a whirlwind. I’ve managed to build up a fantastic product range and my focus is always on growing the business further.
“I’m passionate about supporting mental health – the pandemic showed everyone just how horrible loneliness can be. I’m incredibly proud of the Super Sour Challenge, I always want my business to have a social impact too and that’s why I’m supporting a homeless project and will be continuing to support great projects wherever I can.
“Hopefully I can make the most of my time here then turn round and say I started that business with little to no money and look at it now.”