Possessing the Cadbury’s name could have struck fear into James Cadbury, the great-great-grandson of the chocolatier, but he’s ready for the challenge with a confectionery business of his own – Love Cocoa.
Entering the chocolate business isn’t something that’s been done for the sake of it, however. Indeed, James Cadbury is well aware the pressure of being associated with the Cadbury’s legacy, which is why Love Cocoa has an entirely different business model.
In his own words, Cadbury called his brand an online gifting and subscription service. Sure, that means you won’t stroll into your local corner shop for a bite when you have a sugar rush, but that’s because Love Cocoa is designed with quality in mind, the type that should be savoured and not wolfed down at a moment’s notice.
A box of bars can be ordered online for occasions, such as birthdays, or alternatively chocolate lovers can take out a subscription to receive a Love Cocoa through their letterbox on a regular basis – think Graze or Bloom & Wild.
Cadbury recalled the inspiration for Love Cocoa, which coincided with his mother’s birthday. “My mum loves chocolate, but for her birthday last year I couldn’t really find anything appropriate. I looked around at various brands, but they all took three days plus to deliver and all had to be signed for, so she’d have to go and collect it if she was out it,” he said.
“In the end I went to a really nice chocolate shop and put the box in a jiffy bag with a card, which she really really liked. There wasn’t anything simpler out there, so it gave me the idea to sell something different around chocolate. It’s worked for Bloom & Wild with flowers.”
Prior to this point though, Cadbury, 31, hadn’t experienced any desire to move into the chocolate business and follow the Cadbury’s name. In fact, his career has, until now, been based in finance.
“My parents are both lawyers and they never really encouraged me to be an entrepreneur. They always pushed me towards nice steady job, which is why I ended up in finance. I did enjoy my time doing it, but it didn’t inspire me,” he admitted.
Find out how Cadbury responded to our quick-fire Black Cab Entrepreneur questions in the video below:
“It was really seeing a gap in the market that gave me the confidence to go do it. Even when I was younger I always wanted to do something on my own and start a business, but I wanted to make sure I didn’t do something just because my name is Cadbury – and I’d have felt a bit of a fraud if I did. I wanted to create a really good product.
“The name has helped to a certain degree. People like to speak to me about it, but at the same time it puts quite a lot of pressure on me in terms of expectations.”
Something else that gave Cadbury the confidence to start Love Cocoa is that it isn’t the first time he’s launched a business. Indeed, he is the co-founder of crowdfunding business Property Moose – an idea created with a friend during a skiing trip.
“I learnt a lot in terms of how you set up a business – the legal structures, admin, accounting and stuff like that. All of those tasks take a bit of time to do, so getting all of that in place before launching really helped,” said Cadbury.
“I looked at using my name, but there were potentially a few issues around that. I was advised by different lawyers who said I could use the name, and others said probably not. I thought as a self-funded one-man band, it probably wasn’t worth pushing it too far, so went with Love Cocoa.”
This business experience was particularly useful, since Cadbury family members haven’t been involved in the Cadbury’s operation for two generations, he explained.
And back when the Cadbury’s business launched, nobody truly knew how to make chocolate at the time, which meant various methods were used to get the recipe right. This was important to Cadbury, who had the same approach with Love Cocoa.
In order to make the brand truly British, Love Cocoa products are made with supplies from UK SMEs. A farm in Hampshire provides mint, for example.
“Not many companies say where to get ingredients from, so it’s great for us to work with these independent British companies and shout about them,” said Cadbury, highlighting a USP.
In terms of other differentiators to bring in customers and fend off large firms, Cadbury added: “We make chocolate by hand in the UK, as opposed to Lindt and Green & Black’s, which are premium but mass-produced abroad in huge factories. It’s not just about eating the bar, but looking at packaging and that makes us different too.
“We want to drive all business online. Most companies go through retail outlets. By going for the letterbox, we serve the gift market, as well as people who want to come home to a bit of joy by finding something other than bills waiting for them.”