Melissa Snover came to Lancaster University on a 12 month Junior Year Abroad Exchange Programme in LUMS in 2003. She is the Founder and MD of Katjes Magic Candy Factory and Founder and CEO of REM3DY Health Limited.
Having graduated from Lancaster University, Melissa Snover co-founded her first business, a financial services company at the age of 23.
More than 15 years later sweet-toothed Melissa is the Managing Director and self-styled ‘Head Magician’ of Katjes Magic Candy Factory. She has developed the world’s first 3D food printer available to the consumer market, so that anyone can make up their own sweet treats exactly the way they like them - whatever the colour and design, with a choice of vegan, animal-free, kosher, Halal, and even the opportunity of incorporating a selfie.
Melissa’s early experiments with ‘gummy candy’ began in Lancashire because she could not find sweets she liked and developed into her first confectionary company, Goody Good Stuff, which she later sold to Cloetta PLC. She then formed the Magic Candy Factory in partnership with Bastian Fassin, from the global Katjes confectionary business. The company was named Best UK Tech Start-up 2017 by Disruptive Tech TV.
Now a business woman with many awards to her name - including Start Up Entrepreneur of the Year in the Great British Awards and Creative Entrepreneur of the Year in the English Women’s Awards, both in 2018 - Birmingham-based Melissa acknowledges the important part that her Lancaster studies played in her success to date. She says, “The best thing that Lancaster taught me was how to be a problem solver in a business setting. That is what you need to be in order to run a successful company.”
She arrived in Lancaster in 2003 on a 12-month JYA exchange programme at the Business School as part of her Business Management and Political Science degree at Colorado Boulder University USA, attracted by its broad-based approach to business. She says, “I had also read incredible reviews of the business school from people from all over the world who had been there.”
Melissa found courses in the business school to be ‘top class’ and thrived in the atmosphere of intellectual flexibility that allowed her to take additional courses in physics and geology, which were an adventure for her inquisitive mind. Being taught in groups of 30 – 40, rather than as one of 500, as in the US gave her the chance to question and interact with the lecturers in a way that fitted her learning style. The programme also offered Melissa her first experience of creating a business, as part of a project designed to do just that within parameters and to gain practical experience of developing an idea. She says, “It was really exhilarating I was discovering what I really enjoyed - working hard and seeing it pay off.”
The campus provided plenty of opportunity for socialising, with trips out with the geology and the rambling groups, as well as the company of fellow athletes in the running club. Enjoying a drink on campus was a welcome novelty as alcohol consumption is illegal under the age of 21 in Colorado State. In doing so, she made friends she has kept to this day, with whom she went on trips to Edinburgh, York, and London’s West End, benefiting from the university’s good rail and road links.
After the successful exit from her financial business, Melissa began experimenting with making confectionery, creating a consumer brand and bringing that brand to market. She had loved ‘gummy candies’ since her childhood in New York, partly because she was the only child that she knew who did not like chocolate. From this seed Goody Good Stuff was born.
Suddenly she was doing something she loved and this was the opportunity to learn every detail of running a business with a tangible product - from packaging and marketing, to strategic planning and understanding the technology underpinning the sweets. That hands-on experience is still something she relishes. She may be the MD of her own company with 12 employees, but she still takes her turn at accepting deliveries at the back door of the business premises.
Recognition of Melissa’s entrepreneurial skills in the form of awards has only fanned her enthusiasm for new ideas. Her development of the 3D printer to make personalised sweets came out of frustration that no matter how many different types of sweets she created she could not satisfy everyone using traditional methods of manufacture. Now, she explains: “You can now truly be the creator of your own product.”
Already considered a rising female entrepreneur in the world of food technology, Melissa is now also developing 3D personalised nutrition and medicine. At the end of the summer she will be launching Nourish3d exclusively in the UK, which provides totally customized nutrition snacks on demand using vegan, sugar free ingredients and totally sustainable packaging. She is also working hard with her small team on another concept called Scrip3d, which will supply personalised medication delivery systems for prescription drugs at doses and formats that are 3D printed to suit each patient.
Melissa puts her success down in part to having the confidence to try things out. “Lancaster encouraged me to branch out,” she says. “The experience of being a foreign student there made me relish new opportunities and travelling, which are a huge benefit when you are an entrepreneur.”
Melissa returned to campus in 2018 to attend the careers fair and host an entrepreneurship workshop. She also very kindly donated one of her 3D printers to the University.
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