WE are a nation of chocolate lovers but one father and daughter have taken it one step further, by turning their passion for sweet stuff into a money-making adventure.
Kerr Dunlop, 72, and Flo Broughton, 38, started their business, Choc on Choc 14 years ago in a village near Bath – and it now has an annual turnover of at least £1million.
The business now produces about 40 tonnes of chocolate a year – enough to fill three double-decker buses.
Choc on Choc started in their family kitchen, when Flo surprised her father with a homemade creation by messing around with silicon moulds and chocolate.
Flo, a 23-year-old graduate in graphic design from Bristol University at the time, teamed up with her dad, to create unique and quirky chocolate creations shaped like realistic Brussels sprouts, cheese boards or coconuts.
Her dad, who is also invented a boot brush shaped like a hedgehog back in the 1980s, has since made hundreds of moulds used to make the quirky chocolates.
Flo told the Sun Online: “I’ve never attended any classes. We’ve been learning by trial and error and that’s how we’ve managed to create a process that’s truly unique.”
Each chocolate is hand-made and the father-daughter team came up with unique method of layering the chocolate – which is also where their company’s name comes from.
The method allows the duo to create colour within chocolate as well as very distinctive designs.
Mr Dunlop has since patented the process, something he knew about from his days as an inventor.
And their hard work is paying off.
This year the company is projected to hit an annual turnover of £2 million – and they are already halfway towards the goal.
Meanwhile, Choc on Choc’s treats are stocked by a range of high-end retailers including, Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges, John Lewis and Waitrose.
The company, which employs over thirty employees, currently produces more than 63,000 chocolates a week from miniature reindeers, to Brussel sprouts as well as ones that look like popular celebrities.
The business boasts both comedian Michael McIntyre and former Prime Minister David Cameron as fans.
This Christmas, Choc on Choc is selling Christmas crackers filled with Belgian chocolate sprouts – one of the firm’s most popular design.
They’ve also released Prosecco and gin-infused treats, as well as ones which look like avocados.
Flo told the Sun Online: “Even if we have a core range that people love it is important to be constantly moving with trends and innovating to get noticed.”
Flo, who is now a mother of two, says that what she loves most about her job is the flexibility and the joy it gives to people.
She said: “I am a mum. And I love that having my own business gives me the flexibility to work anytime that suits me. I also love to see the smile on people’s faces when they see our product, they can’t quite believe it’s chocolate.
“I still get quite overwhelmed by the reaction.”
Flo’s top tips on how to create a successful business
Flo Broughton, who started a business due to her love of the sweet stuff, shares her tips on how you can do it too:
- Know your customers – Figure out who are your customers and the best way to reach them
- Keep innovating – Having a core range that people love is great, but innovation is key. To get noticed, you need to follow trends.
- Work hard – An overnight success is rare. Accept that it’s going to take some time to get the results you are after and be prepared to put it in the long hours.
- Use social media – You need to be available and your business needs to be seen. Choc on Choc has 15,000 followers on Instagram and we post everyday. People always want to post or tag our products and engage with us and it doesn’t necessarily needs to be instaperfect, you can also post about your failures or fun things as these posts usually get even more engagement than others.
But she admits that any entrepreneur should be prepared to put in the long hours.
She added: “We are a seasonal business. So, managing the cash flow and making sure we got everything in order during a quieter time is probably the hardest thing.”
AHEAD OF THE GAME Female butcher who uses Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to boost her business now makes £350K a year
They are already getting ready for Easter and are now working on a chocolate Ostrich egg with a gold fever engraved on it.
They’ve also recently has success abroad, helping to contribute to the firm’s continued growth and success with loyal customers based in Canada, Japan, Europe and even as far away as Australia.
The next step is across the pond, as they are working with a partner in America to launch in the US next year.
LIVING THE DREAM
Seven brothers have turned their love of beer into a brewery business – and even opened their own bar
But what’s it like working with family? Flo says she loves it because she trusts her dad completely.
“I love working with dad we are both very good friends and we never had any conflict on design,” she said.
“He is just very skilled, so I know I can ask anything and I am going to get something really good from him.”
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Money team? Email us at email@example.com or call 0207 78 24516