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NSW Success Stories - Sticky

Sticky, The Rocks CREDIT: Sticky

Making candy at Sticky, The Rocks

#ilovesydney

NSW Success
Stories - Sticky

Sticky, The Rocks CREDIT: Sticky

Making candy at Sticky, The Rocks

#ilovesydney

Hashtags #ilovesydney

When the Greater Sydney lockdown was announced and his business was closed, rock candy artisan and owner of Sydney lolly shop Sticky, David King, armed himself with an iPhone and went to work. “We started live-streaming, first on Instagram, then on Facebook. Initially there were 20 people, then 60, then 260, and then it just kind of went a bit viral,” he says.  

After streaming videos of how his colourful and creative rock candies are made, the results were stunning. Sticky’s Facebook followers grew from 90,000 to over a million; Instagram grew ten-fold from 15,000 to 165,000; his YouTube audience went from 1500 to 370,000; and his TikTok account now has more than 4 million followers since King first launched it during lockdown last year. 

“We always had a small but loyal following on social media, and, out of desperation, thought we may just be able to leverage the theatrical nature of our artisanal candy making process into an online presentation, to perhaps generate some online sales,” King says.  

It worked. As a result, Sticky’s revenue has increased 150 per cent over the previous financial year with orders from all over the world. “We restock our website twice a week, and then watch it sell out in about 15 minutes,” King says. 

Since opening Sticky in 2001, the business has always relied on weddings, corporate events and tourism. But when the shopfront’s doors closed, revenue fell to $0.“Twelve months ago we were in solid survival mode. I almost despaired, almost gave up,” King admits. 

Sticky, The Rocks CREDIT: Sticky

Rachel Turner and David King, Owners of Sticky

#ilovesydney

Sticky, The Rocks CREDIT: Sticky

Rachel Turner and David King, Owners of Sticky

#ilovesydney

The whole new world of a dedicated online audience has proven to be a blessing from both a professional and personal perspective. “Once we are live there are maybe 10,000 people watching at any given moment, I enjoy that immediacy,” he adds. “And being entirely in lockdown now, with no face-to-face customers, that interaction is keeping the team and I sane as well.” 

King, whose shop is based in Sydney’s historic The Rocks area, has been called a ‘modern-day Willy Wonka’ as he shares some of the same theatrical qualities as the iconic candy inventor. The unique process behind making the colourful rock candies produces engaging content, with images of animals and fruits and even phrases magically melted into the circular sweets.  

“In a time of real global upheaval, both in a pandemic and political sense, we’ve offered something engaging and yet whimsical. An escape. A blend of personality and genuine artistic process,” King says. 

With a growing audience, Sticky has been experimenting and innovating with new designs and flavours. A cocktail mix and unicorn mix are among the most successful, and to keep up with the global demand, Sticky has tripled its workforce and there are plans for a second production facility.  

“We all feel really grateful for where the business is when we look at the world around us, particularly in a tourist precinct like The Rocks,” he says. “It’s about staying engaged and positive.”   

Aside from day-to-day operations, King has also supported charities, donating about $65,000 to various not-for-profits and raising awareness for RUOK?, Starlight Children’s Foundation, Dry July, Redfern Legal Centre and Beirut Disaster Appeal. “That has personally been one of the very most satisfying things about this whole thing,” he says. 

King doesn’t like to sugar-coat the struggle for many small businesses. He knows as well as anyone how tough it is but says connection has proven the key to survival. “The world doesn’t look like it did, so your business probably can’t either,” he explains. “Finding the human in your business, and being prepared to share it, may give people a reason to find you and support you.” 

sticky.com.au 
Instagram: www.instagram.com/stickylollies 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/stickylollies  
TikTok - vm.tiktok.com/ZS9Pc5W8 
YouTube - www.youtube.com/c/stickysydney  

The NSW Government via Destination NSW is sharing a series of NSW Success Stories – businesses of all types that have adapted their offerings to face the current environment and continue serving their community with a fresh approach and shining success. These innovative initiatives are nothing short of inspiring. 

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