Delighted to help out a Virgin Atlantic pilot with some advice on how to scale her confectionary business and create an irresistible brand.
Bernice Moran said she has always been obsessed with sweets and airplanes - which I can fully understand. She manages to pursue both passions by flying jumbo jets across the Atlantic one day and running her own confectionary business the next.
If you do what you love and what you’re good at, you’re much more likely to make a success of it. Bernice’s story proves that you don’t have to just focus on one dream – it’s ok to try different things and see what works.
Bernice said she first thought of her business idea when she made a candy buffet for her own wedding with all different types of sweets in apothecary jars. Soon, people were asking her to cater for their events too, so she created Be Sweet Occasions, which soon grew into the Be Sweet Company.
Bernice started flying at the age of 18 and always dreamed of working for Virgin Atlantic. She achieved this goal and had been flying with Virgin Atlantic for over seven years when she came to me asking me for advice.
Bernice said she had learned a lot about creating an irresistible brand from working at Virgin Atlantic, but wasn’t sure what the next steps to growth could be. I was only too happy to put her in touch with three directors from Virgin Atlantic, and she ended up signing a deal to get her sweets on-board.
Often one of the best ways for start-ups to scale and grow is to partner with a bigger brand. We’ve done this many times over the years – especially in the early days of Virgin Atlantic.
I met with Bernice again recently and was thrilled to see her progress.
Six years on, the Be Sweet Company now creates over 40 products and exports to multiple countries around the world. Bernice and her sister have also opened the Be Sweet Café in Dublin and have developed an exclusive range of Up in the Air jelly airplanes available on board Virgin Atlantic flights.
People will thrive and do their best work for you if you empower them to fulfil their potential. I’m often asked – ‘but aren’t you just training people to leave?’ My answer would be no – not if you’re looking after them. If you support them and help them develop their careers, then often they stay working for you for many years to come. You might just end up with some sweet additional benefits too.
Bernice’s entrepreneurial spirit really embodies what Virgin is all about and I wish her all the best for the future.