Four questions for... Abdul Thadha, m.d., Sweet Cherry Publishing

Four questions for... Abdul Thadha, m.d., Sweet Cherry Publishing

The founder and managing director of Leicester-based children’s publisher Sweet Cherry talks to us about its future plans.

How did you launch the Sweet Cherry list?

It started off with an experiment seven years ago. I was working in book distribution, managing my other business, Books2Door. Through this company, I work with a lot of big players in UK publishing, and I am directly connected to customer demands. In 2011, I was approached by a packager at the Frankfurt Book Fair who gave me the option to publish its Shakespeare set. From my experience, I knew that the books needed redesigning to meet market demands.

By the end of 2012, I had sold 10,000 copies of my redesigned set. Spurred on by this success, I hired a team of three people and Sweet Cherry Publishing was created. Since then, I'm proud to have developed Sweet Cherry from a three-person team to an 18-person company. It’s been a massive change of pace.

Are there any hot licences that you're doing particularly well with at the moment?

At Sweet Cherry we produce quality content that kids will love. The Geronimo Stilton series is a great example of that, with more than 20 books in the series and another 10 coming soon.

We’ve had some great feedback about our new Rainbow puppet books. Despite Rainbow being an older licence, when we showed retailers the new products, they absolutely loved it. We brought the illustration style bang up to date, so the books are fun and colourful, and the puppet format allows for an interactive storytime experience.

Last year you said you were approaching major toy and film studios. How is that coming along?

We’ve just announced a collaboration with Aardman. We’re really looking forward to the release of the next Shaun the Sheep movie, "Farmageddon", later this year, and we have some cool [tie-in] books in the pipeline. I’m also working on "Numberblocks" and "Alphablocks", both of which are popular CBeebies shows. We’ve had some positive feedback from fans excited to get their hands on our new Numberblocks range, and we’re using this licence as an opportunity to branch into some new and exciting formats.

Do you have any plans to grow the business further?

I like to set ambitious goals, and I have found that our team grows in small bursts as we set our sights ever higher. In the past six months we’ve welcomed five new team members, who all bring lots of new and exciting talent to the business. We now have an excellent team that can take on the demands of any new ventures that are brought to the company.