If you can’t drink it, why not lick it? This is the unique selling point that lollipop manufacturer Bridgette Barnett had in mind when she hand-crafted alcohol infused lollies for her adult customers.
The 35-year-old candy connoisseur from Joburg established her business The Lollipop League in 2012.
Barnett says she has always been crazy about sweets and decided to turn her delicacy into a solid business concept.
“I make lollipops that are as beautiful as they are delicious,” she says cheerfully, standing next to her stall at the Soko District in Rosebank Mall.
The first-ever confectionery she produced was rose drop sweets before she ventured into making lollies.
“I was making a lot of different kinds of handmade sweets and decided to make a few lollipops for my market stall.
“I got completely inspired by the lollipops, they are the perfect frame for taste and beauty, and I started making more and more unique flavours.
“My first artisanal lollipop flavours were tequila, lemon and salt including my chilli cherry lollipops which are still in my range today,” says Barnett.
Her lollipop range has over 30 different flavours.
The most popular flavour is the litchi (with edible confetti) which is fun to look at and delicious too, according to the confectioner.
On which flavour is her personal favourite, Barnett says: "I love all my flavours and my favourite changes with my mood, right at this minute it is raspberry and basil."
Although her market is mostly adults, she also caters for kids.
“My lollipops are for the whole family.
“There are ones that are more geared towards the adult palette, like the liquor lollipop range, and ones more favoured by kids, like litchi and naartjie, and ones for the more adventurous tastebuds, like pear and rosemary as well orange blossom and fennel floret. I like to think there is a lollipop for everyone,” said the enthusiastic "lollipop-dreamer" as she refers to herself.
Barnett makes all the lollipops by herself in small batches in the comfort of her kitchen.
She says the amount she crafts in a day depends on the types of lollipop she is making at the time as some are more complicated to make than others.
“I have lost count of how many lollipops I have sold since I started the business so it must be a lot but I’m not stopping until I’ve sold one million,” she says with determination written all over her face.
She adds that the biggest part of her business is making custom-made suckers which she designs with her clients as per their request.
Barnett says it was quite difficult to secure a solid client base at first but that did not stop her from doing what she is passionate about.
“In starting to make the lollipops the biggest challenge was that people couldn’t understand what I was doing as they have never seen it before. What do you mean by artisanal lollipops (they asked)?
“It is hard to sell customers an idea that has no reference point.
“It took a while to create a customer base but now I have so many wonderful loyal customers.
“I am so grateful that they keep me busy doing what I love,” she says.
For those who want to sample lollipops with a kick, Barnett will be showcasing her range at the Kamers Makers in Joburg next month and her online store is a click away at www.thelollipopleague.co.za.