There's more to James Middleton than just being Kate's brother. In fact, the youngest of the three Middleton siblings is garnering tons of attention for his latest venture, Boomf, a personalized marshmallow business. Middleton (above, right) and his business partner Andy Bell's (above, left) square 'mallows can be customized with your own personal photos (check out the box he made for the Brides team below!) and are available in boxes of nine or packs of two, making them a great crowd-pleasing favor.
On the heels of Boomf's U.S. launch, we caught up with Middleton, the company's "Wonka-in-Chief" (Bell is known as their "Chief Edible Officer"), to talk about all-things marshmallows, his famed family and how he helped plan the royal wedding.
A customized marshmallow company is such a specific business — can you give us the backstory on why and how you started Boomf?
"I was experimenting with ways of creating edible objects from digital content and I was working to three criteria: 1. They had to be delicious 2. They had to be personalized. 3. They had to fit through a letterbox or in a mailbox," Middleton tells Brides. "After much experiments, Boomf! There it was: photo marshmallows."
Tell us a little bit about how Boomfs are currently being used in weddings.
"Weddings weren't something we had planned for, but that side of the business is taking off organically. They've been used for save-the-dates, invitations, favors, and thank-you gifts," Middleton says. "We recently did a wedding where we printed a picture of the couple on one Boomf and the guests' pictures on the other, and those were used as the place cards."
How did your family's party-planning company influence your decision to start your own business?
"My parents started Party Pieces the same year I was born, so I have grown up with their entrepreneurial way of thinking which to me became the norm," he explains. "Someone pointed out that both businesses are about celebration, bringing people together and sharing joy. I didn't think of that when I got started but perhaps it's a subconscious link."
Do Kate and Pippa ever give you any feedback?
"They are incredibly supportive and are always intrigued by what I come up with. My family is usually the first guinea pigs to try out my new recipes," James says. "The marshmallows got the thumbs up from the first batch so I was pretty happy with that."
Before Boomf, you owned a cake business, so it's safe to say you know a lot about weddings. Did you help Kate with any of her wedding-planning tasks?
"I threw in a few honest comments now and then, but I was more worried about doing the reading! I'm dyslexic and reading aloud has always been a struggle for me," he reveals. "To know your reading [for the royal wedding] isn't just going out to the congregation, but it is being broadcast live around the world to billions [of people]! So that kept me occupied with learning it word for word."
What do you think makes a great wedding?
"If the bride and groom are relaxed and happy, everything flows from there," Middleton says. "Big or small, formal or informal — there is no right way. The most important thing is that the couple feels loved and enjoys their big day."
Also, Boomfs have been used for proposals (see the above Instagram), and Middleton would like to see it happen again! "If anyone else wants to propose on a marshmallow, let me know," he notes. "Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll make you one up for free!"