Athletes are known for strict diets and exercise regiments but Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova likes a little sugary reward every now and then.
"When I was younger, at the end of a practice, I would always ask my parents to buy me a little something sweet, like a lollipop back in Russia," Maria reveals to The Moscow Times. Now she's turned that childhood memory into a business venture as she's expanding her line of premium, bite-sized chewy candies called Sugarpova.
"When I moved to the United States, I was about 7 years old, and I went to a movie theater and found a huge collection of gummy candies," she says. "I’d never seen anything like it in Russia. I was fascinated by the idea, and the first thing I thought was, 'I can’t wait for my friends to see something like this!'"
There are 12 varieties of the candies which include Sporty, lemon-lime gumballs that look like tennis balls; Splashy, colorful gummy candy shaped like sharks, turtles, and fish; Flirty, fruit-flavored gummy lips; and Chic, fruit-flavored gummy shoes, bags, and sunglasses.
"We first launched Sugarpova in the States, but Russia was a big target of mine," Maria says. "I think Russians appreciate quality very much. We all know that they like brands and they like names, but at the end of the day, I think they’re very good at differentiating what’s a good product and what’s not a good product."
While she's excited about expanding her business, she's also looking forward to the 2014 Olympics in her hometown of Sochi.
"You have the Black Sea and the mountains, and I was talking about this for so long," she says. "When we got the Olympics, that was the first thing I thought of: I’m so happy because I will no longer have to tell people what that city is all about. They’ll have a chance to see it soon themselves."