The Tale of Sharapova and the Sweet Shop

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Bucking the trend for endorsing the latest health food products and energy drinks, former world number one and Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova turns Willy Wonka and launches a range of sugar-packed sweets and candy.

Being one of the most famous sportswomen in the world, Sharapova is regularly seen putting her face and name to products and sports equipment, even designing a range of clothing and shoes with Nike and Cole Haan. Sharapova’s candy shop, however, is her very own venture.

“It feels like I’ve been pregnant twice” the current world number 3 joked as she launched the Sugarpova candy range at a brand new It’Sugar store, her partner company which has 40 locations worldwide. Total development of the 12-variety sweet and candy range, which includes gummy fish, tennis shaped gumballs and even dress and shoe-shaped sweets, has taken a total of 18 months from initial concept to Monday’s launch.

Although a world class athlete isn’t the first person you would think of to launch a range of sugary sweets and candy, as far as Sharapova is concerned the move is all part of diversifying her brand. “We looked at a lot of things over the last 18 months that she can focus on in her life after tennis,” Sharapova’s agent Max Eisenbud explained at the launch. The extensive market research conducted in partnership with agency Dentsu America, who also worked with Sharapova to create the brand’s fashion-friendly logo, has revealed plenty of longevity in the sweet market.

“The gummy category specifically had no real name recognition and something like 400 million bags were sold in the UK alone”, Eisenbud revealed. And even though Sharapova’s best days at tennis are far from over, capitalizing on this would be a smart move according to It’Sugar CEO Jeff Rubin who stated that “candy might not be healthy, but the industry sure is.”

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