Retro pick and mix business hits sweet spot during lockdown

Candy Bag is posting sweets all over the UK from Great Yarmouth

Karen Ellis and Richard Hansby -Patterson with Maisie, 13 and Fletcher, aged eight. The family has its hands full with sweet orders from all over the UK. - Credit: Karen Ellis/Candy Bag

A woman's business dipping into the world of retro pick and mix has proved so successful her partner has given up his day job to help her.

While Covid closed the shops Karen Ellis, witness service team leader at Great Yarmouth Magistrates' Court, had a hankering for the type of sweets she enjoyed as a child.

Candy Bag sweets have outgrown their home and moved to new premises in Great Yarmouth.

Which one is your favourite? Candy Bag has tapped into a nostalgia for vintage sweets that has taken off during lockdown. - Credit: @dinky_in_norfolk

To fill the void she created Candy Bag, an online business where the customer picks their selection and has it sent to their door, safe in the knowledge no grubby fingers have handled the goods.

Pretty soon the family home in Redwing Drive, Bradwell, had been taken over by fizzy bottles, shrimps, and mushrooms - and even the children started to moan they were getting in the way.

Karen Ellis of Candy Bag in Great Yarmouth

Karen Ellis from Bradwell has been stunned by the success of her Candy Bag business. - Credit: Karen Ellis/Candy Bag

"Initially I thought I would sell a few sweets locally," she said. "But then I started to get a few requests from further afield."

"At first I had 33 sweets, they all had a number and I was doing it all manually and it was taking so long.

"I started the business in July and launched the website in September. Then it really started to pick up - I was packing all the time I wasn't at work.

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"Then in January it went absolutely mad and we had to shut the website to catch up.

"And from there it has continued to grow."

The business now has its own unit in Main Cross Road where all the packing takes place and orders can be collected.

Candy Bag has taken off during lockdown

A family has found sweet success during lockdown with Candy Bag - an online pick and mix shop. - Credit: @dinky_in_norfolk

Her partner Richard Hansby-Patterson has now given up a  job he loved at Tesco to work for Candy Bag full-time.

"I never expected it to grow into a business of this size," she added.

"We now go all over the UK and have 80 sweets to choose from. This time last year I hadn't even thought of it."

Eco-friendly packaging is also a big focus for the business.

And while retro sweets had long been popular she believed lockdown had fuelled a nostalgia for old favourites which acted as a sugary comfort blanket and made people happy.

Also on board are children Maisie, 13, and Fletcher, aged eight, who film regular sweet reviews.

Candy Bag has a range of vegan and vegetarian sweets and sells charity bags too.

Visit the website at