Member Spotlight: Poppy’s Pineapples – Part One

poppy's pineapples

The brainchild of Poppy and Joss, Poppy’s Pineapples has all the fun, vitality and innovation that the name suggests.

Serving delicious fresh cocktails straight from the fruit, whilst ‘Pineapple Steve’ entertains the masses, is a great way to spend a summer; good thing then that’s exactly what they intend to do! Poppy’s Pineapples began after an inspirational trip to Portugal and whilst their intention might not have been to come back from their holiday with a new business plan, they did just that. Upon their return, Poppy and Joss began focusing on selling drinks in Newquay where they live but quickly decided to focus on festivals. Their first summer was intended to be a quiet one to ease them into the experience, but things are bound to grow when you’ve got a great product and a can-do attitude. After less than a year, Poppy’s Pineapples were frantically searching for new staff to help them manage their impressive three sites for Boomtown. In part one of our interview, we sat down with top pineapple herself Poppy to learn more about the business, her hopes for the future of the business and of course, Pineapple Steve.

So I’m going to start with a pretty big question, how did it all begin?

It all started around this time last year/the tail end of 2021, I’ve always had a passion for business and the idea of being my own boss and run my own stall. We love music, food, smoothies and a tipple now and then, so we decided to start our own stall. I organised a couple of festivals for the summer because I didn’t want to overload us with too much, and one of them was the Isle of Wight which was just gorgeous. My partner and I designed everything ourselves, we made it look quite tropical covered in fake leaves and with pineapples all over the trike and our menu on a surfboard, so it looked really fun! Then this guy approached us and was like ‘I love your stand and I would love it at my festival’ and we thought okay cool! We’d only been to a couple of festivals but everywhere we’d been we’d gotten so many compliments and everyone was telling us how different and cool our stand was, so it helped with our confidence and we were feeling great; and then he said ‘I run Boomtown.’

At the time we didn’t necessarily think anything would come from it, that maybe it was something nice in the moment but never follows through, but then two weeks later I got a message from one of his guys saying that our number had been passed on and that he loved us and wanted us to come down for Boomtown. At the time we only had one trike so my partner and I thought, why don’t we ask if we can have two since Boomtown is so big and even Isle of Wight was a bit big for our trike. Isle of Wight was the June and Boomtown the August so we had to organise ourselves pretty quickly but we asked about a second trike and were told yes so my partner built another one really quickly. Then he rang again about two weeks before we were meant to open at Boomtown and he said ‘we’ve got this bar in the woodland rave area and it’s a wood bar in the middle of the trees and we want you to have it!’ So we were blown away that they wanted us to have this built in bar and that’s how we got three bars at Boomtown!

And it was during your first summer that this all happened?!

Yeah we had the idea in winter 2021, we got everything organised, open and built in April 2022 and then we had a handful of small festivals in Cornwall because we loved the idea, but we’d never done anything like this before so we wanted to get some practice. After starting in the April when we opened, to then going to the Isle of Wight in June, and then Boomtown in August with three bars, we were just like ‘this is insane’ and we even did another festival after Boomtown!

Boomtown was a great success and they’ve said they would like us back again for a full pineapple takeover. It’s amazing for people to have such confidence in us without even really knowing us. I think a big factor in why we stand out though is the look and feel of us. We’re fun and tropical and we blast music and customers can come have a drink with us and post the photos on social media and it creates this vibe where people want to come and get a drink and we get to party with everyone. We also have a pineapple mascot!

I was going to ask about the pineapple mascot! I tend to go to the same festival every year but you’re right, it’s the fun vendors who you remember, the ones who are nice to you, or talk to you, or have a little dance with you and obviously because you’re there for 3-5 days you end up going back to the nice ones and telling all your friends about them.

Pineapple Steve, our mascot, is a massive hit with everyone! He’s been with us since day one and I don’t think we can get rid of him now! Steve is a builder and he injured his shoulder skateboarding and he couldn’t work, so he spent the whole summer with us being Pineapple Steve! People love messaging us on Instagram hoping to see us at a festival again! I put up a post recently saying that we were getting our bookings ready for the summer and there were so many people saying ‘please come back to Isle of Wight!’

I noticed that when I was looking at your Instagram! I think that’s so amazing and part of why I didn’t realise that you had only been trading for a year! After the success of the past year is this something that you’re going to be focusing on full time now or are you doing this alongside another job?

Last summer was just supposed to be us dipping our toes in because we didn’t know what we were doing or what to expect and it’s ended up being more that we ever imagined! After Boomtown we went to another smaller festival and the same thing happened again, we were scouted by a company who run events all over Wales.

That’s amazing! I think it also speaks to the great impression that you’re able to make, event organisers are seeing these people in front of your stall having a lot of fun and thinking to themselves ‘I want this at my event.’ It’s a testament to the atmosphere you’re able to create and people clearly want that at their festival which so fantastic.

I know, pinch me! We only did a couple of festivals last year so I’m thinking this year we go all guns blazing and book everything. I applied for all the big ones because now I think I’ve got the confidence that we’ll be accepted and people like us, that will get our name out even more. There are the big name festivals that people want to do, sort of the aspirational ones you want to go for, but it’s also about getting your name known within the community.

It would be great for someone to overhear ‘I’ve heard of Poppy’s Pineapples, I saw them at this festival and they’re cool, let’s recommend them for this.’ Word of mouth is a very powerful thing now, we did a couple of festivals in Cornwall and people recognised us; Pineapple Steve definitely helped as well!

I think that independence is what is at the very heart of independent food and drink businesses so when people start to recognise names or know each other from previous events, it adds to that notion that these aren’t faceless corporations, these are people who wanted to try something new and cool and explore their dream.

It’s the very heart and soul, yeah. We want to grow bigger and so the plan is for me to quit my full time job because I’m fully invested in this now, like this is my life, it’s my baby. We want to grow even bigger so this year we’ve applied for loads more festivals and we’ve got two trikes and my partner’s dad wants to franchise his own Poppy’s Pineapples as well, so he’ll have his own trike and everything.

I was going to ask what your goals for 2023 are but you’ve just answered that for me and it’s clearly to keep growing!

Follow Poppy’s Pineapples’ journey here and keep an eye out for part two here.

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