Quote Unquote – Matthew Stephenson, Owner and managing director, Sweetdreams

GT – What’s the most exciting thing about your job?

I work with chocolate every day, what could be more exciting than that! I particularly look forward to the NPD meetings – last week we developed a freeze dried raspberry, coated in white chocolate with a crumbled raspberry coating – oh lordy, those samples didn’t last long.

Matthew Stephenson, Owner and managing director, Sweetdreams

GT –Who’s inspired you most in your career?

My dad. He took me in to his own business at an early age, fresh out of university and exposed me to the mechanics of managing a medium sized business. I was privy to the highs and lows, financials, HR etc which laid the foundations of the businessman I am today. He also gave me a great tip – when making a decision, use the theory of a top drawer. Make the decision, put it in a metaphorical top drawer for 24hrs, and if it still feels right go for it. If it doesn’t, reevaluate.

GT – If you were an item in a supermarket, what would you be?

The tannoy, the voice that can always be heard. GT – If you had to do it all over again, what would you do different? I wouldn’t – yes I have made mistakes, but I’m still smiling, still succeeding and still thoroughly enjoying the journey Sweetdreams is on.

GT –What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you at work?

I’m constantly being caught pretending to be out when I answer the phone to cold callers or people I don’t want to speak to. I have a distinctive voice, so should really know better.

GT –Who or what makes you laugh?

My 13 yr old son – he’s very dry, very funny and is good company. Don’t tell him I said this, as he will stop hanging out with me.

GT – Do you have any hidden talents?

I am the proud owner of an Oscar, for my rendition in a Portuguese hotel of the ‘Dirty Dancing’ lift with a random lady. Beat that.

GT – Who would be your favourite party guest?

Eddie Izzard or Barack Obama.

GT –What is the greatest luxury in your life?

I am sure I am meant to say health, family and stuff but really it’s my Tesla Model S car. It’s lush.

GT –What is your favourite guilty pleasure?

I am not sure it’s a pleasure, but I am a season ticket holder at Sunderland AFC, who quite frankly are rubbish at the minute, but I still love to go and watch them try and play football.

GT – Do you have any secret ambitions?

It’s not really a secret. My ambition is to have a cottage on the Northumberland coast, that meets certain criteria – it can’t be more than a 5 min walk to the beach, it can’t be more than a 5 minute walk to a pub, and that pub must be dog friendly (for my golden retriever Jess), real fire, have wifi, show all the live sports, sell good real ale and serve pub food. I will be a very happy man if I achieve this.

GT – What’s your dream holiday destination?

I love scuba diving, so ‘the great blue hole’ in Belize or the Galapagos Islands.

GT – What are your three favourite movies of all time?

Scarface, Starship Troopers and Deadpool.

GT – What is your favourite book of all time?

Trainspotting.

GT – What’s your favourite pastime?

Eating out – I’m a bit of foodie, and love trying new things. From street food when we go on holiday (we are just back from Thailand so I was in heaven) to Michelin Starred restaurants.

GT – If you won the Lottery, what would you do?

Buy the cottage above, and a dive boat in the Galapagos islands. I might also lend a few quick to Sunderland.

GT – What would be your advice to someone thinking about coming into this industry (apart from “don’t do it”)?

Network, network like your life depended on it. Confectionery is still a people industry, and more than often opportunities arise from who you know, rather than what you know. Confectionery is full of really good, honest and fun people, companies and products. This makes it an enjoyable industry to be in!

SWEETDREAMS

Manufacturer of the Choc Nibbles www.chocnibbles.co.uk range of confectionery, alongside our B2B panning and coating operation www.sweetdreamsconfectionery.com

To take part in Quote Unquote please call: 01923 272960 or email: mail@grocerytrader.co.uk