Moving to London beginning of May 2018 was a big deal. It meant the three of us (Sam, Will and Ben Chandler) could work much more closely together; it meant we could draw on the advice and inspiration from other similarly aligned businesses and start-ups; and it also meant getting our chocolate in front of a larger and more varied audience. That’s not to say it had all been a breeze though.
Sam said to me the other day: ‘It’s starting now, to feel like Gemini is about to launch.’ Now of course, Gemini Chocolate officially launched years ago, however, the sentiment, to me, rings true: over those years, we’ve learnt so much, made (and paid for) many mistakes and as a result have changed and adapted – a process that will, of course, be ongoing.
So with this in mind, I thought I’d write about the last year in London that has led to where we are now.
As I’ve already written previously, upscaling and moving into the new space came with its own challenges. However once we’d gotten our setup functioning as it should, we’d lost a lot of time, and some of our long standing supporters may have even thought we’d disappeared. We were therefore faced with the challenge of reinvigorating our original customer base, whilst exploring and securing a new one.
We had some new tools at our disposal: the equipment we invested in allowed us to make better quality chocolate and more luxurious products, such as our beautifully enrobed truffles. So along with these new products, we needed fresh packaging that was both smart and eco-friendly, whilst keeping the chocolate protected. We finally landed on a design using 100% recyclable and compostable materials that contained zero plastic, something we’d been hoping to achieve for a very long time!
Now it was winter and with Christmas approaching, farmers’ markets were at their most popular. So we booked in as many as we could handle and brought in the help of some trusted friends to work them. This gave us a chance to talk in depth about our products and the ingredients we use, and in this case, importantly, it allowed us to personally introduce ourselves to our new London neighbours.
The success of this festive season was heartwarming. Never before had we so many people from all over the world tasting our chocolate; and not just in London either: we also had our parents Mandy and Steve up in Yorkshire selling our chocolate at Beverley Christmas Market and Spark York. We finished up 2018 having completely cleared out our stock; it was fantastic.
After a short break, we started up again in the new year feeling positive and renewed. We had a lot to do, and a lot to build on. Alongside replenishing our stock we had a new range of products with exciting flavours such as Orange & Tamarind, or Cardamom and Chilli, that we were desperate to get people tasting.
And now with a new website, we look forward to future plans. We look to expanding our subscription service, we look to bringing more products and collaborations into the range and we look to always be improving our relationship with you, our customers.
So again, I’ll end this with a thank you. Thank you for your support through a year in London, we look forward to many more to come.