Joseph Chakra of Sloane. Bros
Joseph Chakra has already expanded his Brick Lane frozen yoghurt parlour with a new store in Nottingham. Now he is looking to take his quintessential British brand global…
The Sloane Bros Frozen Yoghurt Company is the brainchild of entrepreneur Joseph Chakra, a former international banker with a love for all things British.
Priding itself on its British craftsmanship and ingredients, Sloane Bros provides fat free frozen yoghurt along with thick smoothies from its flagship Brick lane store and its newly opened Nottingham outlet.
“Before launching the company, I was an investment banker,” said Joseph. “But more importantly, I have always been and still am, absolutely passionate about frozen yoghurt!
“Sloane Bros was created to fill a clear gap in the market for a frozen yoghurt brand which champions British dairy and British tradition.
“British craftsmanship and British dairy are known and respected throughout the world, yet we felt there was no brand focusing on combining British frozen yoghurt with traditional British branding.”
Joe has always been a big frozen yoghurt fan but he felt that most existing brands either fell short on taste, or failed to inspire with their branding.
He spotted a gap in the market and a need for a brand with an engaging story (we’ll explain later) and superior quality and taste.
The thinking was: The UK is known around the world for the quality of its craftsmanship and the delicious taste of its dairy, so why didn’t it have a froyo brand to match?
After significant market research, and working diligently on brand and supply chain development, Joe launched Sloane Bros. with the aim of delivering the best tasting premium British frozen yoghurt which matches the ‘high expectation of a great British dairy experience.’
The inspiration behind the name Sloane Bros. stems from Joseph’s idea of creating a brand which was quintessentially British. As previously mentioned, he wanted a brand which had a story behind it, something that his customers could relate to.
“Walter and Arthur Sloane are two characters with an inspirational yet humorous story to tell,” said Joseph. “The story is written on the wall of our Brick Lane shop, where it is explained that it is a fictional story, but which has very successfully created a unique and fun connection with our customers.”
It goes as follows...
'Our fable started long ago in Victorian London, where the two brothers Walter and Arthur Sloane were well-respected dairymen based in East London.
On a relatively mild winter morning, the brothers were preparing for their daily expedition across the fields by the river Thames to deliver fresh yoghurt to a particularly important customer. Just as they were about to pack up their wares, Arthur knocked over and broke the last pot. Never one to let standards drop, Walter improvised and used his bowler hat as a receptacle for the yoghurt.
As the brothers made their way to their customer, they were caught in a freak snowstorm (the British weather being particularly unpredictable), which caused the yoghurt to freeze inside the hat. Arriving at their customer’s mansion, the brothers had no choice but to offer their customer the hatful of frozen creamy yoghurt. The perplexed customer called for a spoon and cautiously tucked it in the hat – and his eyes lit up.
Amazed at the delicious & refreshing taste, the customer ordered a new and much larger batch of the delicious concoction. To further investigate and refine their new creation, the brothers headed next day to Westminster Bridge and stood handing out samples of their new, serendipitous creation.
Within days, the brothers were national heroes for their delicious and aptly named Sloane Bros Frozen Yoghurt. Walter and Arthur never revealed the recipe for their famous product, instead leaving the secret in their Will to Walter’s great grandson Joseph Jnr who was instructed not to open it until his 40th birthday.
Now 200 years later, the Sloane Bros Frozen Yoghurt Co. also trades from East London, still serving the finest frozen yoghurt in the land!'
Opening its doors in 2015, the store proved a huge success. Customers were flocking in off the street, indulging in their delicious, Willy Wonka-esque designed froyo’s, and even taking time to read the company’s story on the walls.
“Brick Lane has an excellent fit with our branding and our celebration of traditional British business,” he added. “The location is full of history, with the Truman Brewery just one example of the traditional era family businesses which flourished in London.
“More importantly, as Brick Lane is thought to have been named as such because local earth was used by brick and tile manufacturers: the fit with our focus on tradition and provenance could not have been better!
“We ran out of frozen yoghurt in the middle of the first weekend we opened! While this was unfortunate, we were delighted at the response our froyo received! We have not run out of froyo since then!”
After a strong first year in business, word had really started to spread and Joseph was determined to continue growing the business. He had a dream of it becoming a household name and wasn’t going to settle with just one outlet.
With this in mind he decided to open his second store, however he didn’t know where. He decided to ask his customers through Facebook where their next outlet should be and the majority of the responses voted for Nottingham in the East Midlands.
Now as the company gets set to celebrate its second birthday, it is eyeing further expansion. The Nottingham branch has proved a huge hit in its first six months – rivalling the company’s flagship store on Brick Lane – and Joseph has his eyes set on not just UK expansion but global expansion.
“We doubled our revenues between 2015 and 2016, despite having opened Nottingham only at the end of August 2016. For example, our Brick Lane store sales growth in July 2016 compared to July 2015 was about 20%.
“Our aim is for Sloane Bros to be the ambassador of British quality and dairy taste and deliver the best possible froyo to customers not only in the UK, but also in other markets. We’re currently crowdfunding, so everyone can own a spoonful of Sloane Bros.
“We’re hoping to raise £150,000 from the campaign, with the funds from this round being used to secure new UK locations and to launch the B2B packaged products business, as well as set up the franchising infrastructure which could help propel us into overseas markets.”
One of the markets in particular on Joseph’s radar is the Middle East. Existing London brands such as Tossed and ShakeTastic have already tasted franchise success after rolling out in the Gulf and Joseph believes Sloane Bros has the potential to do the same.
"I think we could expect a similar reaction in the Middle East to the one we have received and continue to receive in the UK. The frozen yoghurt market has been enjoying tremendous growth in countries such as the US and the UK because of its fat-free or low fat content, and the option of pairing it with other healthy snacks such as fruits and granola," said Chakra.
“The health-conscious faction of consumers in the UAE, and the MENA region as a whole, is definitely growing, and we believe such an environment would be a natural fit for a new premium, tasty, healthy, and innovative frozen yoghurt brand," he added.
If one thing is for sure, the future for Sloane Bros certainly looks fruity!
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