JOY OF CHOCOLATE
J.O.C. (Joy of Chocolate) was created in 1999 by Suzy Campbell and is based in
Stirling. She funded her new business with her redundancy package from Safeway
Stores where she had been General Manager. Suzy’s motivation was to fulfil her
ambition of having her own business and achieve her dream of creating gourmet
chocolates. In the five years prior to her redundancy Suzy had spent her holidays
achieving professional qualifications in chocolate making and before starting the
business she had spent six months gaining valuable work experience with various
chocolate firms in Europe. In the early days Suzy considered survival a major
achievement but as time ...view middle of the document...
With assistance from the bank, Suzy invested in the latest equipment for the
business’s specialist chocolate making factory. J.O.C. gained a reputation for
excellence and Suzy developed good relationships with several exclusive restaurants and hotels. She ensured that customers received orders on time and developed a reputation for dependability. J.O.C. also worked closely with some restaurants to create specialist chocolates for their specific requirements. This meant that J.O.C. had achieved the dual objectives of securing sales and developing new products was being met.
Suzy fostered good relationships with her main suppliers of chocolate and cocoa
from the Dominican Republic and Ivory Coast. There were two main farmers
supplying the raw material allowing J.O.C. to have alternative sources to enhance
taste. Suzy decided to limit the number of suppliers so that she could develop a very
close relationship as she did not want to run the business with price as the key factor. Suzy believed in ethical responsibility and supported the Ethical Trading Initiative. The aim was to create self-help in the communities supplying the cocoa and this fitted in with her aim of creating a positive culture in all aspects of the business. Back at the factory all staff were supported in developing their skills, and training for the production staff ensured a high level of expertise throughout the business.
Growth of the business
Two key appointments from the outset were Leon Houmond and Hafiz Shah. Leon
was appointed as Head of Chocolate Development, Concept Chocolatier; and Hafiz
as Chocolate Production, Factory Manager. Leon had previously trained in
Switzerland, working alongside Suzy when she was undertaking her qualifications.
She knew Leon was a diligent, creative individual and would prove to be an important part of the team. Suzy and Leon met every Monday afternoon to discuss potential developments. This allowed Suzy to be involved in creating chocolates but also time away from the business to visit customers ensuring that their individual needs were being met and to meet with suppliers to discuss future needs for production.
The aim of appointing Hafiz was to ensure Suzy did not have to manage chocolate
production in the factory. Hafiz had previously worked for a specialist food firm. He
knew the importance of adhering to hygiene regulations and how team working can
be an aid to success. Hafiz and Suzy met on Monday morning to discuss the weekly
production programme, following which, Hafiz met with the team leaders to discuss
and assign tasks and discuss any potential problems. He believed in trusting his
team and did not routinely check progress as everyone knows what is needed’. Hafiz
ensured all employees undertook a job development review every four months in
addition to being advised on a monthly basis how they were performing. In this
approach Hafiz felt he was empowering the team. Part of...