Tell me a little bit about your company…
I’m Max Scotford, 22 years old and I’m the founder of Bullion Chocolate. I’m creating what is known as single origin chocolate. Which essentially means chocolate that is produced from beans grown on a particular estate.
To make the chocolate, I use what is known as the bean-to-bar method. This allows me to control every aspect of the chocolate making process. Which results in an extremely high quality product.
I’m the first to use this approach to chocolate making in Sheffield and the surrounding areas. I just happened to notice that there seems to be a lack of appreciation and understanding of high quality chocolate.
With most consumers not even knowing how or where cocoa beans are grown, I was inspired to create a product to celebrate the growers and educate people to recognise and appreciate the single origin cocoa that we use, compared to some of the best-known brands.
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always had a desire to set up my own business. When I see an opportunity, I’ll be thinking of how I can maximise it. And I’ve been like that since day one.
What inspired you to get into chocolate?
I think it was the whole craft aspect of the product. Taking something raw such as the cocoa beans and making it into chocolate.
That’s what inspired the brand name Bullion, it’s a pure bar. Because a lot of the bigger brands will buy beans from across the planet and make bars that taste the same every time, we create different flavors depending on where they’re grown.
We don’t mix our products, it’s a bit like wine, beans from a certain region have a certain taste, it’s in its pure form. A bar from a certain coca growing region is the same as a wine made from grapes from a particular region in France for example. We’re creating a premium product.
How has MADE inspired you?
I can remember going to my first MADE Festival back in 2011, with the likes of Peter Jones on the panel. And I’ve been going year-on year-since.
It really is fantastic, the whole city transforms into an entrepreneurial hub. Drawing likeminded individuals from across the UK to be inspired in achieving their goals.
It was actually at last year’s MADE event where I decided to go for it and chase my dream. I hit a time in my life where I felt that I had gained enough skills and experience from my education and graduate job that I was ready to start my own business.
Hearing all the speakers share their stories made me want to write my own. There were some photographers at the event that instantly printed your image, and it was on the back of this image that I wrote ‘take a risk and get off your arse’.
So that’s what I did! And I’m now in the process of preparing to launch my business, Bullion Chocolate in time for Christmas.
Why do you think other people should attend MADE?
If you’re thinking about doing something. Go to MADE, be inspired. It could just be the push that you need.
What support did you receive?
I received support from Sheffield Hallam University, they provided me with office space when I first started planning the business.
I also received a mentor from the University who I meet on a weekly or fortnightly basis, he gives me advice and helps ensure I’m on the right lines. It’s a great help.
I feel like I’m at a stage now where I have a lot of the equipment, I’m applying for a start-up loan and I’m ready to get going!