Why life is sweet for Marshall Sykes, Edinburgh Rugby player turned confection mogul

It’s been a pick and mix kind of season for Edinburgh but young forward Marshall Sykes has grasped his opportunity both on and off the pitch.

By Graham Bean
Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 10:00 pm
Marshall Sykes, left, in action for Edinburgh against Ulster in the Rainbow Cup. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS
Marshall Sykes, left, in action for Edinburgh against Ulster in the Rainbow Cup. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS

As well as signing his first pro contract, the lock has embarked on a lockdown business venture.

He and partner Lucy Fruin have set up on an online sweet store called the Treat Plug which supplies customers via mail-order.

“Me and my missus were scheming how to get rich quick, so we thought we’d start punting some sweets,” he explained.

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Marshall Sykes is combining his rugby career with running a burgeoning online sweet business. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS

“We’d been on Tik-Tok and seen that there are hundreds of these sweet companies, and we knew someone that had started one and been really successful with it, and we realised that there wasn’t really one in Edinburgh so we thought why not give it a crack.”

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He used his Edinburgh team-mates as guinea pigs and received favourable feedback - although the players’ dentists might not be so chuffed.

“We brought in all these sweets for the lads – a couple of kilos – and that went down a treat,” said Sykes, a Scotland Under-20 international. “The boys dropped it into their stories, it went really well, the food bloggers got hold of it, and it just kicked on from there.

“We’ve gone from having around 50 kilos of sweets to over 2-300. It’s quite dangerous. We’re going to have to put a lock and key on it in the flat.”

There is a rugby theme to some of the packs. You can have a “Mon Embra” bag and there is also a “Murrayfield Wanderers” option.

Sykes, who played for Ayrshire Bulls in the 2019-20 season, is loving life as a full-time pro and has made six appearances for Edinburgh this season. He says he would be happy to go back to Super6 next season if it meant playing more games but in the meantime he is happy to juggle rugby and selling sweets.

“It has given me the chance to be something more than just ‘Marshall the rugby player’,” he said. “I’ve been feeling quite guilty about that the last couple of years, rugby has been so consuming that I wasn’t very interesting to speak to, but now this has given me that extra thing, I’m “Marshall the rugby player’ and also ‘Marshall the guy who punts sweets’.”

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