It all began with truffles. Glynis Pope worked as an activities coordinator in a care home in Wales, and wanted to raise funds to provide better entertainment for the residents. She taught herself to make chocolate truffles to sell at fundraising events. Word started to spread about these delicious treats and with each passing year she grew busier and busier, making chocolate for family, friends, family and friends of friends, etc.
Around the same time, her daughter, Ali, was embarking on a quest to live a more eco friendly life. A huge chocolate lover, Ali was upset when she looked at the plastic wrappers on her favourite chocolatey goodies and even more upset when she read the ingredients lists. Palm oil, soy, gelatine, cochineal, E numbers... where was the actual chocolate?
Thinking she couldn't be the only one who cared about these things, Ali encouraged her mum to turn her hobby into a business, embracing all things ethical. She researched the ingredients and found better produce to work with, set up social media accounts, created some branding and marketing materials and organised a few events they could attend to test out this crazy idea. The first event was a dog show in Surrey, near to where Ali was living at the the time. Completely the wrong place for such a product, but nevertheless, they sold out!
Around a year later, in 2017, Ali took the plunge to move back home to help her mum take the business to the next level. She worked full time from her mum's kitchen, developing recipes and improving ingredients, packaging and the branding. After coming up with a range of 10 different flavoured chocolate bars, she relaunched the brand and began selling at local farmers markets, roping in family and friends to help as they got busier. They grew a small but loyal following and bit by bit they were able to invest in better packaging and equipment to help make the bars more efficiently.
The following year they outgrew the kitchen and Glynis encouraged Ali to take the business forward, and move into a small manufacturing unit nearby. This gave her the space she needed to be able to make more chocolate, enabling her to supply more people with delicious chocolatey goodies! She took the bars to food festivals all around the UK and The Little Welsh Chocolate Company's following started to grow.
In 2019 the chocolate bars caught the eye of TV's Chef James Martin. Ali was invited to appear on his upcoming TV show Islands to Highlands (airing in May 2020). Following the filming of that, she was invited to appear on his regular Saturday Morning show on ITV to make some delicious chocolatey treats for a St David's Day special, airing in February 2020.
This introduced The Little Welsh Chocolate Company to a whole new audience and demand for the chocolate grew! This new growth was no easy feat during a global pandemic but eventually Ali was able to hire a team of people to help to make and package the chocolate, enabling her mum to take a much needed break!
With the support of their increased customer base, they have been able to keep growing throughout the 2020-21 Covid crisis and keep supplying delicious, luxury chocolate to people in need of a little sweet treat.
Ali and her team would like to thank all of their customers for their continued support and for proving that Ali was indeed not alone in her quest for a more ethical treat.