Enfield's very grown up chocolate company

on Wednesday, 16 October 2013. Posted in N21 Business Blog

 

 

 

Did you know that Enfield has a chocolate company, indeed a very grown up chocolate company, which has created jobs and exports 60% of its production, including selling hand made chocolates to Switzerland – the chocolate equivalent of selling coals to Newcastle?

 

Meet James Ecclestone, Enfield resident, chocolatier and founder of The Grown Up Chocolate Company. James has been making chocolate for over 27 years, originally in Muswell Hill, where the company ran a small but successful chocolate shop, selling Belgium chocolates. Currency fluctuations were eroding margins so James began to make his own high quality hand made chocolates for the shop and he also created Casemir, producing high quality chocolates for luxury hotels and restaurants. This gave the company the opportunity to develop their recipes with some of the top chefs in the country. If you have ever been lucky enough to stay in a luxury hotel and found a little chocolate on your pillow, or been offered divine little petit fours after dinner with your coffee in a top restaurant, there is a good chance that it wasn't made in Belgium, but in Enfield as the company now supplies 84 of the top 200 hotels in the country, including the Connaught, the Dorchester and the Ritz!

 

The company moved to Enfield in 2008 when they needed larger production facilities. Not content with being the market leader in hospitality chocolate, James began to explore ways of developing a brand to market directly to chocolate comsumers.

 

 

James says the concept and the name – The Grown Up Chocolate Company, were Eureka moments, albeit based on a detailed knowledge of the chocolate market.

 

"The idea behind our grown up chocolate bars is that they're reminiscent of the chocolate bars we ate as children but with an adult twist.

We focus on great quality ingredients and love the fact that our bars are unashamedly indulgent – we wouldn't have it any other way!"


Here is a selection of the Grown Up chocolate range


 

 

James and his team have created a distinctive niche – 'grown up' chocolate bars, which bear a passing resemble to the top selling old favourites like the Mars bar, but that is where the similarity ends. The 'not for kids' positioning' is used consistently, playfully reinforcing the brand concept that it is higher priced chocolate, hand made in small batches with top quality ingredients, – we're not cheap but we're proud of it. – "our bars are unashamedly indulgent – we wouldn't have it any other way!

 

 

 

 

 Since the launch in 2011, at the Speciality Food Fair, growth has been exponential and the company are currently working double shifts and at weekends, and is developing further production capacity in Harlow, just to cope with demand.

 

The company has a UK agent to develop its home market but it is putting most of its sales and marketing efforts into developing export sales, using its fun brand and 'hand made in UK positioning. They have initially focused on Scandinavia and Northern Europe and also on markets where 'Made in Britain' has kudos, such as the US and they hope to have distributors in Japan and South Africa shortly.

 

The company have also developed a 'Grown Up Chocolate Club' for chocoholics, marketing boxed chocolates on a subscription model.

 

 

 

This is generating between £5,000 and £20,000 of turnover a week, from people buying luxury chocolates for themselves but also as gifts. James describes it as a "giant focus group" which enables the company to connect directly with their consumer. Each order includes a questionnaire and the company uses it to get feedback, especially on new lines and it gets a high response rate, further enriching their relationship with their customers.

 

Meet the grown ups


you can read their stories on the website site here


 

The Grown Up Chocolate ingredients?


James have created an original niche brand in a market which is growing and isn't price sensitive, especially as the company has been trading during a period when most consumers are watching the pennies. James stresses the importance of understanding the market and being very conscious of trends He is highly complementally of the support he has received from Enterprise Enfield and Enfield Council and also from UK Trade & Investment for the advice and support in developing export markets.

 

The company's growth is self-funded and he is highly critical of the Government and the banks in the lack of support they provide for the small business sector. He argues that small businesses must be given access to a wider range of funding options, at realistic rates if they are to build on the upturn and lack of credit for small businesses is potentially damaging British economic recovery.

 

This is a very grown up chocolate company, which has created jobs and exports, through innovation, high quality prodicts which are marketed in an original way. Where can you buy Grown Up Chocolate locally? At the Dugdale Centre and Millfield Theatre and check out the Grown Up Chocolate Club. I know what granny is having for Christmas!

 

 

http://www.thegrownupchocolatecompany.co.uk

 

http://www.thegrownupchocolateclub.co.uk/

 

Did you know that Enfield has a chocolate company, indeed a very grown up chocolate company, which has created jobs and exports 60% of its production, including selling hand made chocolates to Switzerland – the chocolate equivalent of selling coals to Newcastle?

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