I’ve taken the plunge and have started a chocolate company! After well over 20 years working for other people, I have decided to set a business up for myself following my passion for making filled chocolates and truffles. I will introduce myself more in a later post, but in this initial post I want to focus on introducing you to Coastal Cocoa and to this blog.
About The Company
Coastal Cocoa will make and sell the delicious handmade truffles and filled chocolates that I have been producing as a hobby for the last 10 years. So many of the people I gave them to asked if they could buy some and I have always said no due to time constraints. Well now I have quit my desk job and decided to dedicate myself to something a lot more enjoyable… making chocolate full time!
“What is the USP?” as the Dragon’s Den would put it (Unique Selling Point for those who don’t watch it). Well our chocolates are all hand-made using top quality ingredients in Hastings, East Sussex. They are beautifully finished and packaged as well but, as a wise man once said, “Quality is a given. It does not make you unique”. What really makes us stand out from the crowd is the new and innovative flavours we will be bringing to the market. I have always experimented with different tastes and textures in my chocolates and this will continue in the Coastal Cocoa range. I’m not revealing too much about our range yet but follow the blog or sign up to the newsletter and I will be revealing all over the coming months. Your only hint for now is that the flavours will be inspired by holidays to the British seaside. Of course we will also do some classic flavours too, let’s face it they are classics for a reason… we love them!
Hopefully you are now asking “when and where can I buy some of these amazing sounding chocolates?” Coastal Cocoa will be up and running in time for Christmas 2019. So that means everything needs to be prepared by early October. Yikes, lot’s to do (see below)! As for where? Well it is 2019 and my background is IT so we will be selling online of course. We also plan to sell face to face but the details on where are not finalised yet so watch this space!
Finally, why “Coastal Cocoa”? I had the idea for the name a couple of years ago – the Cocoa part needs no explanation, the Coastal part is because we are proud to be based on the south coast in the lovely seaside town of Hastings. I think the name has a fun sound to it, without being too wacky, and of course it helps that the domain name was available 😉
About The Blog
This blog will discuss the highs and lows of setting up and running my own business… as well as chocolate (of course). Initially the focus will be more on the business side, but once we have launched there should be more time to immerse ourselves in everything chocolatey. In the run up to launch I plan to blog at least weekly about progress. This is partly to keep you informed, but mainly to hold myself to account around the daunting amount that I need to get done each week. Personally I find that the best way to make sure I get something done, is to tell everyone I’m going to do it in advance!
By the time this blog post goes live, it will have been 2 weeks since I made the decision to start Coastal Cocoa rather than get another job in IT. In that time I have met with the very helpful advisers at Let’s Do Business, found myself an accountant , applied for my business bank account, registered with Hastings Council as a food business, designed a logo, attended a workshop on social media marketing, selected a web-host and built this website (with thanks to James Robertshaw for permission to use his seascapes). This feels like a lot, but it helps that I did a lot of my research before making the decision to go ahead. And it also helped that fewer chocolates were made than planned due to the heatwave – temperatures of 30ºC+ and chocolate making do not go well together.
Having spent some time last week at a social media workshop, my main goal next week is to get my Facebook page up and running. I will also be working more on one of my initial flavours and hope to be able to reveal all next week.