Since launching her candy line Sugarpova in 2012, life has only gotten sweeter for Maria Sharapova. Her self-described “not-your-grandmother’s candies” are proof that her entrepreneurial skills are just as impressive as her backhand. The business began with gummies and has expanded to include sporty tees, hats, hair accessories and jewelry (with a portion of proceeds benefitting the Maria Sharapova Foundation, helping children in need). Now sold in more than 30 countries, the success of Sharapova’s side hustle shows that her drive is the same on and off the court.
In time for a Halloween sugar rush, Beauty for a Purpose sat down with the tennis star to talk all things Sugarpova.
Where does your sweet tooth stem from?
I’ve been a candy lover since I was a little girl. I’m originally from Russia, and when I’d practice my English my parents would reward me with a sweet. That same habit transferred to my tennis game. I love to celebrate a great match with a fruity gummy candy or two.
Is that how Sugarpova came about?
Absolutely. That and as I grew up, I started to notice a huge void in the marketplace — there were no candy companies that were catering to modern women, most of the mass brands just focused on kids. I really created Sugarpova with myself, and women like me, in mind.
Candy can be like little works of art. What inspires you to dream up a new creation?
When I’m traveling I always find time to explore. I’m also passionate about fashion and design so I follow those industries closely, and am constantly recording inspirations and ideas for future projects. When we were creating Sugarpova, the design and branding was just as important to me as the taste of the candy – it really contributes to the overall experience.
You’re very disciplined when it comes to eating healthy. How do you balance a clean diet with an occasional splurge?
I’m a big believer in everything in moderation. Deprivation can be just as bad as over-consumption, and I think it’s important for women to celebrate themselves with little rewards. If that happens to be enjoying a piece of candy here and there, so be it.
What is your favorite type of candy?
We created a Sugarpova flavor called ’Quirky’. It’s a rainbow-colored, strawberry-flavored toffee with a creamy marshmallow center. It’s delicious!
What will you be giving trick-or-treaters this year?
I think gummy candies will always be my favorite. This year, I’m thinking Sugarpova’s Spooky Sour worms.
How has launching your own business — a candy entrepreneur! — inspired you off the tennis court?
I love the challenge of being an entrepreneur. There are always new things to try, and there’s always something to improve upon. I feel fortunate to have such a multi-faceted career. Women are able to balance so much in their lives, and the opportunity to explore and grow all of these passions at the same time is something I am very proud of.
What’s next for Sugarpova?
I’d like to keep exploring this creative outlet and continue to grow my collections. My love of candy has evolved into a global brand, and I think the opportunities and directions that are open to us are pretty limitless.
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