FROM bubble gum flavoured goodies to colourful, fizzy treats, a seven-year-old has been busy this summer launching a vegan, eco-friendly sweet business.

Charlie Richardson, from Shaftesbury, wanted to set up the online venture as his mum and stepdad were frequently unable to share sweets with him because of their veganism.

As a result, VG Sweetie Store was born.

The main objective for Charlie’s sweet factory is to offer something for every taste bud, with stock currently including tongue painters, fizzy mix, dummies, rainbow pencils, bubblegum mermaids and more.

“When we were coming back from a road trip picking up lots of furniture, I came up with an idea because my mum and step daddy could not always get sweets, so we started to make the business,” Charlie said.

Charlie, who attends St Andrew’s Primary School in Fontmell Magna, wanted to make some money and had even considered selling Pokémon cards, but after hearing about another child who bought sweets and packaged them up to sell, he was inspired to do the same with a vegan and environmentally-friendly twist.

Mother Emma Norris said the pair stock up on sweets from wholesalers, and then decorate and package up portions in 100 per cent biodegradable materials to then sell.

Since launching in July the business has taken off for Charlie, with stock regularly selling out.

“We never thought this would have this response, and it’s just bringing something new to the market,” Emma added.

Despite the intention of being a summer activity, the business has been an ongoing success for the family, and an Etsy shop has now been launched to sell the sweet treats.

Ten pence from every product goes to Sea Life Trust, a cause close to Charlie’s heart.

The seven-year-old, who is a lover of sea turtles and wildlife conservation, added: “People keep throwing rubbish into the sea which is harming animals.”

A peanut chocolate bar will also soon be added to the menu - the first chocolate product to be a part of Charlie’s enterprise.

At present the most popular product for VG Sweetie Store is a pic’n’mix style combination of sweets, which Charlie said shoppers like as “it gives a bit of everything”.

Shoppers from as far away as Newcastle have ordered sweets from Charlie, in addition to school friends and parents supporting the project.

“Charlie’s school friends think it’s good and parents have been ordering sweets, the local support has just been really nice,” Emma said.

“I just think they wanted sweets!” Charlie added.

Shaftesbury residents can now get their bundles delivered for free, for more information and to order visit