It takes a lot of guts to start a business, to step aside from a job you’ve excelled at for ten years and go out on your own. It takes passion to succeed, together with a crazy willingness to risk everything to make a fresh start.
That’s the passion I see in Alicia Chapman. At 25, Alicia had ten years of culinary experience under her belt as a commercial and pastry chef, but she yearned for more.
It was while working in Europe that Alicia’s dream was born. In a tiny shop in Berlin, she first encountered ‘bean to bar’ chocolates and her dream of starting her own premium chocolate company was born.
“So, what are the difficulties encountered when starting up a small niche business?” we ask.
“Brand awareness, most of all,” she says. “The concept that chocolate is like coffee, yet it’s largely unknown to everyday Australians. Fresh premium chocolate tastes so different to big name products that have sat on a supermarket shelf for months. The fresh, praline-filled texture and aroma are so important. You wouldn’t go back.”
Renting premises in August 2018, installing a commercial kitchen and gaining a food licence (all with the help and support of family), Alicia is now intent on building her business.
With five interesting flavours: salted caramel, milk hazelnut, raspberry jam and white chocolate, blackcurrant and dark chocolate ganache, her Little Cocoa brand of premium chocolates is already seeing success and receiving rave reviews.
Selling her Little Cocoa chocolates at the same price as specialist chocolatier shops, they can be tailor made and colour-themed, even with branding for bomboniere boxes at weddings stamped with the couple’s names and wedding date, logo-branded boxed gifts for corporate businesses and themed special occasions, such as anniversaries and Christmas.
“It’s all really exciting, as we are a unique business for the Gold Coast,” Alicia says.
Although her fledgling business is only now gaining ground, she has the goal of making ‘bean to bar’ chocolate, controlling every stage of production, from sourcing the beans in South America to the creation of the bar.
“It’s a new industry for Australia, with our first cacao farm in the Daintree. Bean to bar chocolate is a unique, artisanal product,” Alicia tells us. “It’s a trend starting to take off.”
Contact Little Cocoa by email [email protected] or Ph: 0451 977 172