‘Strong ethics and shared values are the cornerstone of our success’

February 25, 2014 9:49 am The UK Domain

“When our youngest started school, Sarah announced that she was going to sell her brownies on eBay. It was a slightly unusual idea, however it really took off and our business rapidly began to grow.”

We started to test out other channels to grow the business. Farmers’ markets as well as selling on our own website, cocoaloco.co.uk, proved to be a great option for us. These new channels allowed us to experiment and expand our product range of original and delicious chocolate products, which are now available all over the UK, from independent farm shops to John Lewis.

1. Keeping ethics at the core of our business

No matter how much the company grows there are three elements of our business that we won’t compromise on: taste, quality and equality. It may seem like simple logic but for us it’s essential that our products don’t just look good but they taste good too. Unless a product is spot on we won’t put our name on it. This means sourcing the finest products and we’ve worked hard to find the best ingredients from around the world. Lastly, and crucially, we’re proud to say that we made the decision to convert our whole range to Fairtrade products. We now make a significant contribution to the Fairtrade chocolate market in the UK.

2. Choosing the right partners

We live in a lovely rural area of Sussex and the business started its life in an old rented cow barn. We’ve come a long way from there but we still have these homely, unique values that we are so proud of. It’s reflected in the way we make and sell our products: from the skilled team of experts who make every delicious product by hand, through to how we sell our wares. We really enjoy dealing with diverse organisations who share our values in quality and equality such as Oxfam and Harvey Nichols. It’s also important for the ethos of our business to be reflected on our website: our .co.uk domain helps to show our customers that we are a trusted British business, delivering and producing high quality products which are ethically sourced.

3. Finding the right market

There is a growing market of people who enjoy superior British chocolate, seeking out originality and quality. These are the people who buy our products. We’re not trying to compete with the giants of the industry. Our business model just doesn’t fit with the buy one, get one free supermarket mentality because we’re selling premium handmade products and it’s this element that really sets us apart. Therefore, selling our products online as well as through select retailers is an important part of our business. Having a .co.uk website instantly tells customers that they are buying from a trusted British business and trust is an important part of market growth.

4. Staying passionate

Setting out on your own is never easy because you really have to be a jack-of-all-trades, from accounting to marketing and even maintenance. That’s why it is so important to do something you are passionate about. If you are passionate and care enough about your business and its core values it will be easier to maintain your business identity. You can’t beat the satisfaction of seeing something you’ve created spread its wings.”

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