Two months ago, we brought you news of Boomf, a service from Mint Digital offering to print your Instagram photos onto marshmallows. Well, it turns out that Mint is only partly responsible for Boomf. The real mastermind behind it is none other than James Middleton, brother of the Duchess of Cambridge and uncle to royal baby Prince George.
Although Middleton’s involvement was kept quiet initially in order to ensure a relatively soft launch for the enterprise, Mint’s Andy Bell tells us that they’ve decided to go public as it’s not exactly a convenient thing to keep quiet.
Middleton is no stranger to selling sweet foods having founded Nice Cakes, which offers cake-making kits. He tells us that the idea for Boomf came from experiments with ways of creating edible objects from digital content. “I was working to three criteria: 1. They had to be delicious 2. They had to fit though a letterbox (that is, not parcel-sized) and 3. They could be personalizable.”
The Mint Digital connection came about in June last year. “A guy called Steve Finan introduced us,” Middleton explains. “We were watching Andy Murray at Wimbledon last summer. I was telling him about my Instagram marshmallows idea and he suggested I talk to Mint. I was impressed by their previous projects: StickyGram and Projecteo. When I met Mint we clicked from the start. We have a very similar vision but are coming at it from totally different angles: Mint from digital and me from food. I think the most fun we had was coming up with the name: Boomf is the noise a marshmallow makes when it falls through your letterbox.”
Middleton says that he is directly involved in Boomf “daily, pretty much full-time at the moment. I spent a lot of time developing the machines and techniques needed to print onto a marshmallow. I have built a great team who make every pack by hand. Before Christmas, orders kept coming at such a rate so I was wearing a hair net (and beard net), working from the early hours to late at night getting Boomf out the door.”
In 2014, Middleton will continue to work on both Nice Cakes and Boomf. “For the moment we are developing a ‘Boomf on Demand’ system so we will be able to create Boomf while you wait. We hope to use this at events and popups around the world. Also, we keep working on our BPM (that’s Boomfs per minute) to reduce order turnaround time. Our focus is to keep improving Boomf, and to cement our position as number one personalised marshmallow service worldwide.”
Of course, there’s more to life than marshmallows. While Middleton won’t tell us about any future plans for for the tech industry, he says that he and Mint have “no shortage of ideas.”
Although Middleton is often news thanks to paparazzi shots of him doing super-exciting things like walking down the street, Andy Bell is keen to share that he’s a man with serious entrepreneurial chops. “I’ve been amazed at his ability – week in, week out – to resolve problems that I’d have no idea how to solve – across packaging, food production, dispatch, design – he’s an uncommonly imaginative and resourceful innovator.”