Experience for chocolate lovers in Pembrokeshire
I am so excited to bring this piece to you guys this week! This time we have something super special that is worth I am so excited to bring this piece to you guys this week! This time we have something super special post that is worth sharing, linking, and even saving for your next trip! We are going to talk about the ultimate chocolate experience that you can have in Pembrokeshire or take away anywhere in the UK.
Recently I was traveling around the Gower coast in South Wales and noticed that they had lots of local food suppliers along the way. From ice cream, coffee, chocolate. You name it. If you pay close attention, you will find many “Made in Gower” signs. During our driving weekends, I played the “find the sign” game to keep myself amused during the 1 hour-long drives.
We discovered a couple of places that we liked. Such as Mario’s Ice cream and Verdi’s Cafe. (These places are not exactly in Pembrokshire but they are close) But I wanted a deeper traveler experience. So I put my research hat on to look for deeper and more unique welsh experiences. My go-to for travel information in the UK blogs are girlvsglobe and handluggageonly. But this time I was determined to do my own research. The theme was where are my born in Wales chocolate shops at? ( I was craving chocolate that day! haha)
My encounter with Little Croft Chocolate
Getting back to the point. By the time I discovered Little croft chocolate on Instagram, I had already tried 2 other local chocolate shops. Chapel Chocolates and Abbots Kitchen. They were special in their own way but something about Little croft chocolate attracted me more.
Since you know me. You probably can guess what I did next. I stalked their Instagram to get to know a little more about their store and learn about their products. And what was different from other experiences I already had. Bullseye! Here there was a story that all of you should know and share!
I contacted their Instagram account and Dionne & Sam were kind enough to agree to an online meet-up. I wanted to ask them more about their experience of launching a business during the pandemic! And how they came about making chocolate for so many customers! To launch a business is difficult as it is, but these two decided to spend their downtime well and to went for it! I am not going to lie, I was very inspired by these two and they’re such a lovely couple! You can tell that they love what they do. They’re down to earth and always looking for ways to spread some love through their product and creations.
I am sure that after reading this post, you will want to grab their chocolate bar. So without further ado! Let’s get into the Little Croft Chocolate introduction!
The chocolate experience: Beginning of the story
Little Croft Chocolate was founded by Dionne and Sam a young couple raised in the Welsh countryside. Both, happen to absolutely love chocolate! Sam has worked in a couple of chocolate factories over the years and Dionne has a love for photography and travel. ( what a coincidence right? haha) Law of attraction anyone?
Sam and Dionne experienced furlough from their jobs during the pandemic. (furlough is a leave of absence. Many people went through this during the pandemic in the UK) Dionne worked at a local hotel and Sam had his delivery job. They were put on hold when the pandemic hit us all and therefore had some free time. Since his love for chocolate was something that was on his mind, this is how it panned out. He spoke to Dionne about the idea of making chocolates to test out the market. Dionne, knowing her partners’ passion decided to support him. This all started with a simple ” Let’s give it a try”
Little Croft Choc -We researched what equipments would help us make the chocolates we wanted. We bought a chocolate mold that could make 3 chocolate bars for 10 pounds in the beginning. Even that was a decision. If this venture went well it would be good money well spent. And if it didn’t, it would have been just extra supplements in the kitchen.
Sam is a chocolate lover with also an entrepreneur mindset.
Little Croft Chocolate– I like to make chocolate. But I did not want to make chocolate for others. I wanted to make it for myself. Have something that I could call mine.
Little Croft Chocolate – We first started asking our families and friends for feedback for about 3 weeks. We knew some opinions were biased. After we saw that even strangers were complementing our chocolates, we started to see some light in the project. We were ready to start something bigger.
Sam and Dionne started a partnership with Sam’s mom who owns a coffee shop in Wales. Later Dionne’s former boss also contacted them to become a chocolate vendor. Today that chain continues to spread and there are over 40 shops distributing their chocolates around Pembrokeshire.
10 Questions asked and answered
1. What is different about Little Croft Chocolate shop ?
Little Croft Chocolate – We like to portray ourselves as an approachable humble business. Because that’s who we are. We make the chocolates out of our own kitchen with love. We ask our vendors, collaborators, and customers for feedback. Our goal is to create a luxurious affordable chocolate experience for all.
We also care about the planet and its health. This is also a large commitment for us. As a business, we are proud to say that all of our packaging is plastic-free as well as 100% recyclable. We believe that “The little things mean the most.”
Writers comment: This is my personal favorite. By combining small efforts and a luxurious experience together, Little Croft Choc is also reminding us of the importance of the small efforts we can make to have a better world.
2. What’s the story behind the name of the business?
Little Croft Choc – We actually had decided on a different name before we went to register. Only to find out that it was already taken! haha
After playing with the designs, we already had the logo in mind so we continued to play with some words. The name of the street we live on has the name “croft” in it. So we Googled it and learned the meaning of the word. Croft means a small rented farm or an enclosed field. (according to search) We already had the fence logo and it fit the image of the word, plus the house we live in has fences on both ends. When we put the pieces together our decision was made!
After a year what we can say is that we would not have chosen a name other than Little Croft Chocolate. It absolutely fits us and our style. We make these chocolate bars in our little croft.
3. Why did you decide not to hold a physical store in the beginning?
Little Croft Chocolate – It is an expensive thing to think of at the beginning of a business, and we thought we would give it a year before we tried new things. Truth is, we did not expect to have so many people ordering our chocolate. Our target was to have 20 vendor partners by the end of the year and now we have twice the amount we estimated. Which is great.
What we also like to see is that some of our online customers have become repeat buyers. Sometimes we can tell the timing that they’re about to place the order and it comes in! We like to see people come back for more of our products!
4. How much did you spend to startup the business and how did you prepare?
Little Croft Chocolate – We started our business with less than £100 invested. But when we were ready to sell things online we did speak to a business advisor to understand the process. They even offered us the idea of getting loans to start-up but we wanted to do things our way, and we are glad we did it.
Today we still don’t pay ourselves from the business, but we were able to invest in some equipment to make our chocolates.
We used to spend 3-4 hours making 12 chocolate bars before, but now we can make up to 120 bars a day.
5. What’s your routine like nowadays?
Little Croft Chocolate -Today both of us are back to our full-time positions in our previous jobs and our workdays differ. We love our chocolate business and did not want to stop. Currently, we work together on our chocolate business after a full workday or on days off. Sometimes tasks are delegated and sometimes we work together to make the chocs.
We have fun! And that’s how we are currently managing the business.
6. How do you select your vendors and how is your relationship with them?
Little Croft Chocolate – The start of the relationship with the vendors was interesting. As I used to work as a delivery driver people were asking me how I was doing in the pandemic. I started to share that I was making the chocolates and from there we became business partners. We actually have a really good relationship with our vendors and for us, they’re really our friends.
Although we did have to learn how to create invoices and go about the administration things too. After 2-3 months of sharing what I was currently doing then eventually vendors came to us. We are very happy to be able to collaborate with so many other local businesses.
7. What’s your favourite or most recommended chocolate?
Little Croft Chocolate – This is a very unfair question! haha, We like all of our chocolates. If we could choose what bar people should try we would say whatever excites you! We have flavors that we think any chocolate lover could have a favorite. All of them are special. We have our plain bar, white chocolate, peanut butter, and natural dark chocolate.
Our first creation is the Banana Crunch bar. Remember people were having tons of fun making banana bread at home during the pandemic? We wanted to make something related to our product and then, the banana crunch bar was born! This was definitely fun, even people who don’t like banana or cinnamon have given us positive feedback.
We do have to say that it was a lot of fun to be able to work with Mor and Crwst. They are a local business based in Pembrokeshire and we came together to create two products that would support both of our businesses!
We have two collaboration products.
It’s like supporting two local businesses when buying a single chocolate bar while having a luxurious chocolate experience! We hope you will like it!
As a writer, I am having trouble picking one to try but I think I will go for the plain bar and the featured chocolates. I might even try to bring it to my office soon.
8. Do you have the intention to sell your items in big stores?
Little Croft Chocolate – A couple of friends told us we could try to sell our chocolates at wholesale stores. But we don’t think we will do that. You see if we sell our chocolate at these big places the whole warmth fades. And the prices for luxurious chocolates tend to get expensive. We don’t want our bars to be sold at a high price. We want people to be able to grab one of these bars at local shops and get to know our local products. There are so many beautiful Welsh-made products here. We like the idea of having our bars in places where people need to visit to get or can order directly with us.
Staying close to the customers is important as we want to be a humble independent business.
9. What does the future hold for Little croft Choc?
Little Croft Chocolate – Now that the business has lifted off the ground there are a couple of things we could do. For example, hiring staff and investing a little more in equipment. We are truly having fun with our product and it really doesn’t feel like work when we are making chocolate. We put the music on dance around the kitchen while we make it.
Maybe we would open a physical shop. Where people can see us actually making the chocolates. We are hoping that the business will continue to grow so we can move on and make these decisions!
10. What’s the message you would like to send to the this audience today?
I asked Sam and Dionne what they wanted to say to you as a reader. And this is what their cutest reply was.
Little Croft Chocolate– Just grab a bar! Experience it with us! let’s share valuable moments together!
What I learned about the Chocolate experience in Pembrokeshire
It was so nice to get to meet the two behind the chocolate scenes in Pembrokeshire. I was truly touched by their humbleness and their ‘let’s give it a try spirit’. From speaking to Dionne and Sam you can tell they’re two young souls full of joy. They pour their hearts into marketing their brand, their core values, and they also make sure that people know their hearts. From every chocolate bar made and every package carefully wrapped, I’m sure you will experience the full sense of care and hospitality of these two.
Cute side story: They still have not unwrapped their chocolate bars yet! And have saved the first-ever bars that they have wrapped until today! Sam and Dionne mentioned they might open it for their 1 year of the little croft to celebrate. So keep an eye out on their social media to see if they will post an update when they do!
Last but not least happy early 1 year business anniversary to my fellow entrepreneurs!
It is stories like yours that we like to share and would like to see more of!
I have shared my chocolate unwrapping experience on Instagram so you can watch it here.
This content was written by kururimbo the multilingual traveler.
If you would like to have your business featured in this blog feel free to contact us.