You may remember* Grazia Daily* met Made In Chelsea’s golden (haired) boy Jamie Laing last year when his new baking book hit the shelves. Since then, the 25 year old entrepreneur, when not on our TV screens gallivanting around Chelsea and NYC, has been working tirelessly on his Candy Kittens business and is on a mission to make candy cool again. So we were delighted to climb aboard the bright pink Candy Van this week to chat business, life, love, feeling old and (of course) MIC gossip...
Grazia Daily: So, here we are in the Candy Van. It’s pretty full on, you can’t miss it!
Jamie Laing: That’s the whole point! Ed, my business partner came up with this genius idea of creating this experience, so we do these pop-up shops all over the place because as a brand we are all about meeting people, so having this van means we can go and park anywhere in the world and be like “Hey, what’s up, come and have some sweets!” We are a fun, young brand and we’re there to excite people and bring some colour to their life and everyone loves sweets!
GD: You dreamt up the idea of Candy Kittens when you were at uni. Is it how you expected it to turn out?
JL: I imagined it to be a sweet shop with cute girl next door types and by mixing it with fashion, creating a brand that challenged the dated traditions of the confectionary market. We wanted to bring the coolness back to candy. We were one of the first businesses to start via social media and have grown this strong, loyal following. They saw me start on MIC and have got behind me and that’s why it’s where it is now. The reason why I started the business is because I love fashion, sweets and girls. I want to be the modern day real Willy Wonka maybe with oompa loompas sometimes but mostly with great, fun, cool, sexy girls.
GD: You can buy Candy Kittens in Selfridges, Topshop and now Waitrose. How did you celebrate when you heard about landing the Waitrose deal?
JL: Selfridges was our first which was really exciting then we got Topshop which was really cool, then halfway through August we got into Waitrose. It’s so perfect and that’s exactly why we were making the sweets because we wanted to get into Waitrose! I was in New York and my business partner Ed sent a message saying we didn’t get the Waitrose gig. Honestly, I was about to start crying and then I phoned him up and he told me he was joking. We went out that night to celebrate and had frozen margaritas. It was so exciting because we put so much effort into this. With all start-up businesses there comes a point where you ask should we continue with this and three years on we’re still here and hopefully it continues!
GD: You have pop up shops, the Candy Van and you’re stocked in the shops. Will you ever have a permanent base?
JL: I would absolutely love to have a permanent base. Have you been to Victoria Beckham’s shop? It’s apparently ridiculous! It’s just about timing and finance but I’m sure at one point we will get there. I would love to have my shop then my office above it.
GD: …and you could come down, like a pub landlord?
JL: Yeah and I could bar people and stuff!
**GD: You’re currently recruiting for an intern. How’s that going? **
JL: We love having our interns! I’m only 25 and I feel like I’m getting older with them around. I’m like “What is this word that you say?” You know you’re starting to get older when new words start to come out. We love everyone who comes to work for us. My mum works for us at the moment.
GD: Wow! How did that happen?
JL: I don’t really know. She started working one day, then it became two days and she’s wangled her way in somehow!
GD: Is she a kitten or a cat?
JL: I think she’s probably a cat. She’s great, she does everything and she’s so organised.
GD: Any advice to budding entrepreneurs out there?
JL: It’s quite difficult to set up your own business in many different ways but anyone whose given it a go and failed or had success I have huge respect for. Just go out and do it! Do something you love and if it fails, give a shit! Everyone always says you haven’t been a success until you’ve failed once. This could fail, we have no idea. It’s the excitement of doing your own thing.
GD: Which business venture of any of your MIC stars do you most admire?
JL: I think Ollie Proudlock with his Serge DeNimes label. He’s very arty and good at his designs and wears such cool clothes, you know.
GD: The MIC spin-off series in New York, you didn’t have much luck with the ladies.
JL: I just had a fun time, being silly and being carefree. I wasn’t too worried about falling in love as I was out there for two months and just wanted a really fun time and I loved it.
GD: Favourite hangout?
JL: I just love Soho House and Brooklyn too, it’s really edgy. We went to this thing called PS1 which was like a big day party which was pretty immense.
GD: Do you prefer British girls to American girls?
JL: New York was great but it made me realise there’s no better city than London. I love it more than anything in the world. I like British girls.
GD: How does Stevie feel after beating Spencer to the post with Billie?
JL: I think he’s loved it. Stevie’s a dark horse, I never thought that was going to happen. Any time you win or beat Spencer, you have to enjoy it. I think the villain at the end of the series was Stevie just because he got himself caught up.
GD: Which was your most awkward scene to film?
JL: It was when I found out that Lucy and Proudlock had hooked up and I had to go and talk to them and I was like ‘Oh God, I just don’t really want to do it’ because I’m pissed off but he’s my buddy so that was a bit tricky. They wouldn’t be told I was going to be in their scene and you don’t get long to digest the new information so the emotions are really real.
GD: Who was your favourite US cast member?
JL: Alik. He’s a nice kid. We might be going to play tennis later. He’s a really nice boy.
GD: If you could choose which city the next MIC was made, where would it be?
Buenos Aires. I just love it! That or Berlin. Go to Panorama Bar but never go to the Black Room.
GD: What songs define your summer?
JL: Ghost by Ella Henderson and George Esra Blame It On Me. He’s 21 and British and he’s killing it.
GD: Fellow cast member Louise has recently released some quite risqué pictures from her new 2015 calendar. Would you consider doing one?
JL: I don’t think I’d do a calendar. I’ll get naked the whole time but not for a calendar! It’s a bit too much. Does anyone buy calendars anymore?!
GD: Finally, how closer are you to your TV presenting dream?
JL: It’s what I want to do. My dream is to create my own show and get out there. I love meeting people and would be like a young, fun Lois Theroux. I think there’s a gap in the market for it. Hopefully I get there!
Candy Kittens can be purchased at Waitrose, Selfridges, Topshops and www.candykittens.co.uk
Made in Chelsea, Series 8 is back on our screens from Monday 13th October. Click here to see the trailer.