A few bars of dark chocolate, some spoonfuls of unrefined sugar and lots of soya milk later; the idea of a delicious, natural hot chocolate drink was born.
After 3 years of making, packing and selling my delicious chocolate, and having gained a stone in weight, I had reached the first milestone in the business.
It seemed as if Choc affair had reached a ceiling with just myself, one other team member, and my husband who was doing the accounts, delivering orders, and keeping me in check, (or trying to!) something needed to change to grow, or I needed to be content to maintain the status quo.
Well anyone who has an entrepreneurial spirit will know that there is never a time when you are content to maintain the status quo!
Driven by an ever optimistic personality and of course the obligatory touch of madness which I firmly believe is needed to start a business venture, there was only one thing for it. I needed a business partner to help Choc affair reach her potential.
So, business partner it was. Ian is firstly my brother in law (there is nothing like keeping it in the family!) and comes from a retail background with 30 years experience in the field. With Ian’s energy and passion, the company has gone from strength to strength.
As we approach 2017, we have celebrated our 10th birthday, and it has been a busy few years. We have moved to bigger premises, twice, and from our small beginning at home in the kitchen with one tiny machine, we are now a team of 20 and a production factory of 12 machines, all responsible for the creation of our mouth watering chocolate delights.
It’s a busy team, but we all work in a friendly and dare I say a great atmosphere, and the hum of activity is inspiring. If you visit us, the smell of chocolate delights your senses, and there are samples everywhere to try.
My favourite time is when production is finished, everyone has left for the weekend, I pop in on a Saturday morning, fill a small bowl with melted chocolate, and just sit, delighting in the taste of the chocolate, and peace of the factory, surrounded by shelves of packed bars, and products.
What’s next? Not sure, but I do know our relationships with our producers, suppliers, team members and customers are at the heart of all we do. My personal aim? To keep making great chocolate and to go on…