Monday, 3 September 2012

A bitter-sweet disappointment: Candy Kittens

As well as the Olympics, London played host to another supposedly big event this summer - the much anticipated (in certain circles) opening of Candy Kittens.

Conceptualized by Jamie Laing, star of reality TV show Made in Chelsea, viewers of the show have had the chance to watch the development of the business from conceptualization to the all important auditioning process for the Candy Kittens themselves. Yet it is still not clear what this business IS exactly...and a visit later, it's still hard to tell.

Jamie's original idea seemed to be a sweet shop run by scantily clad models  (hey, it's in Chelsea so that makes it classy...right?). However, following Jamie on Twitter and seeing that he was personally making milkshakes and smoothies for customers one weekend suggested that it was more of a cafe than a shop. More on that later.

The first problem was actually finding the place. Situated on the rather glamorous Kings Road (where else?), the website fails to give an address*, however this crystal clear map gives a very precise location on the corner of Flood Street and Kings Road.

If you are planning a visit, DO NOT TRUST THE MAP, MY FRIEND, for it is all lies.

Taken from Candy Kittens website

If you  follow this map, you will find yourself in front of Anthropologie, a lovely shop, but not a whiff of the promised sugar in sight.

This map, adapted from Google, shows the real position of the store, approx. 400m away from where it should have been.

Real position.

It is even on the opposite side of the road from where they said it would be. It's as if they don't want customers. Perhaps making you work for it is a marketing technique to sift out all the riff-raff so that only those who are really worthy of it are allowed to experience the, er, disappointment. Maybe it's a Chelsea thing.

Either way, a disappointment it was. Having gone for an ice cream whilst we figured out our next plan of action, googled Candy Kittens and found another blog giving the real address (336 Kings Rd) we set off on a long walk from our current position outside 58 Kings Rd.

And what a journey it was, not least because we casually WALKED PAST HUGO AND NATALIE FROM MADE IN CHELSEA. If you don't watch MIC, you won't care about this. But then again, if you don't watch MIC, you probably stopped reading a long time ago, because really, this is just a blog about another posh kid setting up a sweet store with mummy and daddy's money, more of a hobby than a business, really.

So yes, Hugo and Natalie. Casually strolling down Kings Rd at 3.30 on a Saturday afternoon. He was on his phone (I'd really like to think it was Spencer on the other end), casually announcing that they'd only just got out of bed. This after I'd been up since 4.45am to get to work that day. How the other half live.  He was really tall and she was really small. They went into Habitat. We considered following them but I've already spent too much of my life following celebrities around Habitat (Antony Cotton, on the off chance you're reading this, I was one of the three 14-year old girls who followed you around Habitat in Tunbridge Wells about 7 years ago. Habitat is no longer there, but my bus ticket which you signed the back of is still stuck firmly in my autograph book alongside the likes of, er, Mickey Mouse and Pocahontas.)

So having done some real life sleb-spotting (I think we played it quite cool), we finally reached Candy Kittens (at the "wrong end" of Kings Road, apparently), and were disappointingly underwhelmed. 

Walking into a very small shop, the smoothie/milkshake bar is in front of you. However, half of the flavours (about 8 in total) were sold out on the day we went.  They also sell cupcakes, but further disappointment came when I overheard one of the staff telling another customer that they were ordered in from an outside company. The only other thing upstairs was a small table with largely overpriced Candy Kittens merchandise- notebooks, Iphone cases etc.

Following the sign downstairs to "Jamie's bedroom", the walls of the staircase are lined with photos of Jamie's childhood - school sports team pictures etc. Downstairs, another small room consisted of a bed (on which sat what I guess was one of the "kittens" but who actually looked more like a rabbit trapped in headlights.) On greeting us, we were informed that all of the items of clothing which were folded in piles a la Abercrombie and Fitch were also available to view in the wardrobe, so we didn't have to rummage. Rough translation: do not mess up the clothes! They mainly consisted of £20 t-shirts with Candy Kittens logos or phrases from the show. I quite liked the "Yea Boi!" one, but I barely have £20 to my name at the moment, so that was that.

We left, despondent and disappointed.

So that was it. No "sweets everywhere (literally covering every surface)" as promised in Tatler magazine's review of the opening. Further confusion abounds. Candy Kittens has largely been branded in the media as a "pop-up store" suggesting that it is open for a limited time only. Some sites state that it was only meant to be open for 3 weeks from 2nd August, yet it was 1st September when we visited. There is no mention of temporality on the official website, only that "The sweets are currently in the production phase at Candy Kittens HQ and will be with us this summer!" 

Furthermore, the official Kings Road website describes the shop window was "a feast for your eyes, deliciously styled with hanging sweet jars filled with tasty treats. The shop floor even has a milkshake bar with velvet seating, decorated with lanterns and lolly-pop shaped trees to create a fun, summer time garden feel." This was certainly not the case when we went, suggesting that we had missed the "Candy" part of Candy Kittens entirely, although I have read elsewhere that it will be reopening for Halloween. Whether the shop will be closing between now and then is a mystery that nobody seems to have the answers to.

 So overall, a very confusing and disappointing visit. I would be intrigued to go back if the promised sweets materialise, as the idea has the potential to be something quite exciting. As it was, we were forced (yes, forced) to take a trip to the Hummingbird Bakery to cheer ourselves up and get our anticipated sugar fix. 

*The website also fails to give opening hours, unless you look really closely on one of the blog posts, and the phone number they give may be a false one as I repeatedly got "This call cannot be connected at this time". When I emailed, the opening hours they gave me were: Mon - Sat: 10-7, Sun: 11 - 5. You're welcome.


  1. Haha, love this! Most excited that you saw Hugo and Natalie! I would have totes stalked them. I forget they are sort of 'real' people. Candy Kittens sounds shite, but then, I feel deep down I knew it would be :( good try biscuity Jamie, if I was rich I would probably do something mad like this for lolz.

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