Sharapova candy Sugarpova. Maria Sharapova, known for her aggressive tennis style and sweet forehand and backhand swings, is entering a sugary side business.
On Saturday, the Russian-born tennis star with a home in Manhattan Beach, will hold the South Bay launch of her new premium candy line, Sugarpova.
Sharapova will promote her gummy candies from 4-6 p.m. at Tabula Rasa Essentials, an upscale gift shop in downtown Manhattan Beach.
“I’ve always had a sweet tooth, and I’m a foodie. This was just something that was unique, and I’ve always enjoyed doing unique things in my career,” Sharapova said this week after a training session in preparation for a tournament in Germany later this month.
The line of gum and gummy candies debuted before the U.S. Open in 2012. It was only a soft launch and Sharapova tweaked some elements, designing the package and naming the candies before launching again. Sugarpova is carried in high-end boutiques, such as Tabula Rasa Essentials in Manhattan Beach, where she promoted the line on Saturday afternoon.
Sharapova, who splits time between Manhattan Beach and Bradenton, Fla., posed for pictures and signed autographs with every last person in a line that extended nearly down to the pier.
Overwhelmed by the support of the community, Sharapova was reminded of how far she had come since the initial idea of a candy company.
“Seeing the line going all the way down to the strand is incredible,” Sharapova said. “When I sat in a meeting with Henri Bendel’s and they were like, ‘This is brilliant, we want to carry it.’ I was like, ‘Wow.’ This is pretty incredible that someone like Henry Bendel believes in it.”
For now, her focus with Sugarpova is selling it internationally. Stores in Paris and London have already picked it up and she is using social media to get feedback from her fans around the world.
Sharapova acknowledges that fashion or perfume might have been a more expected choice but she is proud that she took a new path and found success.
“It’s about adapting and understanding and working from there,” Sharapova said. “You’re building a brand from scratch with your own money and your own decisions. So there’s a lot on the line but I really like making those decisions.”