An artisan chocolatier is set to quadruple the size of its manufacturing space and install over £300,000 worth of new machinery to meet growing demand from overseas.
Coco Chocolatier moved out of its 1,000 sq ft unit in Summerhall to a 4,000 sq ft unit in West Telferton Industrial Estate, Edinburgh, on 1 Sep.
The new chocolate producing machine will see the chocolatier increase capacity from 10,000 bars per week to 50,000, while the packaging machine will wrap 140 bars per minute – previously the company wrapped 100 bars an hour with two staff.
Since being bought by former firefighter, Calum Haggerty, in 2013, Coco Chocolatier’s stockists have rocketed from 10 to over 200 retailers, with distributors in Sweden and Hungary and a sales agent in Germany coming on board last year.
Now, the company, which has worked with Business Gateway Edinburgh to protect its Intellectual Property (IP), is in talks with potential stockists in Japan, China, Canada, and America, and earlier this year began fulfilling orders from Selfridges-owned Dutch department store group, De Bijenkorf.
Haggerty said: “By the end of the year I anticipate Coco Chocolatier’s products will be available to buy in at least 15 countries worldwide. That’s why the move, investment, and work on IP has been essential.
“I’d always thought Business Gateway was for smaller companies, but a friend suggested I go speak to them. My adviser is very passionate and engaged with what I’m doing and his help securing funding to protect the brand and trademark was essential; without it, we wouldn’t have been able to afford to do that work.
“He’s also helped me access marketing, branding and strategic support from Scottish Enterprise as well as secure funding to work with the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS), who have helped with planning the new unit and factory flow.”
John Hill of Business Gateway said: “Calum’s desire to run a successful business has helped turn an ailing one into a major player in the high-end chocolate market. A push to expanding overseas meant he needed to protect his business and ideas.
“With our help he was able to do just that, giving him peace of mind while targeting new markets. Using our contacts, he has also benefited from advice from Scottish Development International and SMAS, all of which will help him fulfil his growth plans.”
Calum estimates Coco Chocolatier will use 32 tonnes of chocolate in 2017, nearly a four-fold increase on the eight tonnes it originally needed three years ago, with all chocolate now coming directly from a cacao producer in Columbia, Casa Luker. A re-design of the chocolate’s packaging will also be complete on 17 Oct.
He said: “By working with our producer in Columbia we will reduce spend on chocolate coverture by up to 40%, freeing up money to invest in the growth of the business. Chocolate is an emotive purchase so how it looks is just as important as how it tastes, and that’s why our packaging changes every 12 months. We like to collaborate with artists, follow fashion and trends, and we don’t match flavours to packaging because we want our products to stand independently of every other chocolate on the market.
“When I took over Coco Chocolatier it was hugely seasonal. There was a small kitchen in Roslin, two shops, staff without enough to do, and 44 flavours all in the same packaging. It made no sense. I totally rebranded to make the chocolate giftable, reduced the range to 12 flavours, and changed the focus from retail to wholesale, although we still have two shops – one in Bruntsfield and another in Stockbridge. I’ve visited endless tradeshows over the past few years to increase our profile, and all that hard work is now starting to pay off.”