What happens when you make a dessert syrup with delicious locally roasted coffee and organic cane sugar? Pure two ingredient magic, that’s what!! Tina Clark’s Sweet and Cute Coffee Syrup was love at first bite for our staff and our customers. We wanted to know how this gourmet goodie came about and what other genius ideas were in Tina’s foodie future. Daniel asked her to share what’s brewing with us and got the scoop.
What inspired you to get into business?
I had always loved to bake and to see the happiness created by a sweet treat, so as a way to spend time together after we'd all gone our separate ways from Kodak, I started selling treats at craft shows with my girlfriends.
I would scour Pinterest for ideas for unique treats to make - and with coffee and sugar being two of my favorite things, Coffee Syrup struck me as the perfect product. I developed my own recipe using just locally-roasted coffee and organic sugar - as I myself look for natural products and wanted a recipe that was minimally processed with only natural ingredients. As I sampled it at events (at first I sampled it in milk, then moved on to pouring it over ice cream), people really loved it, so I knew I had a "hit" on my hands. With the early success and the exciting idea of being a specialty food entrepreneur, I was motivated to leave Corporate America (after many years) and start my own biz. I did it not only to pursue my passion for the business but to also set an example for my daughter to also take chances and pursue her passions in life!
The name "Sweet & Cute Sweets" was inspired by her and my love of making sweets that are delicious and adorable (but let's be honest, even ugly sweets are wonderful :)
Your current inspiration and what you see in your future?
Currently, I am inspired by the growth possibilities for Sweet & Cute and the excitement of the specialty food industry. People are looking for high quality, more natural hand-crafted food. They love to support local companies and companies that use sustainable practices (like glass bottles). Parkleigh is a great spot to find these awesome specialty food products!
I have also been developing new recipes - all using the Coffee Syrup as a base - and look forward to launching more products. From Salted Coffee Caramel Popcorn to Sweet & Spicy Coffee-Q Sauce, the future looks sweet!
Why you like selling at Parkleigh
I have always loved Parkleigh. It's one of those stores that is like a dose of therapy - you can walk around checking out all the unique gifties, sipping a coffee sample, and really lose yourself. It always just made me feel good, the people are so friendly and the selection is just awesome. I especially love the coffee area, with all the local products and the cool and hilarious kitchen wares (I absolutely LOVE the cheeky dish towels and oven mitts). I can't tell you how excited I was when Billy from Parkleigh contacted me to tell me they had sampled my Coffee Syrup at a team meeting and everyone loved it. Parkleigh was one of my first retailers and it has been a wonderful partnership, they are so supportive of local businesses. I love coming in to do samplings, it feels like a family and I am so proud to be part of it!