Name: Galia Orme
Job title: CHOC Founder and Company Director
Company: CHOC CHICK Raw Chocolates Ltd.
Twitter url: @gochocchick
Linkedin url: https://www.linkedin.com/in/galia-orme-38b5045/
Tell us about your job/company/role?
I set up CHOC CHICK from my kitchen table in 2009 and since then I have moved out of the kitchen, have outsourced all our fulfilment and packing and now work from an office in Hove with three other members of my team. It all started from a lifelong love of chocolate and having discovered raw chocolate making 11 years ago, I couldn’t believe how delicious and easy it was to make chocolates from natural and minimally processed ingredients. So, after months of making different recipes, I created a raw chocolate making kit with my recipes and cacao ingredients and by 2010 I was selling my CHOC CHICK Kits and organic cacao Ingredients at John Lewis Foodhalls, Whole Foods Market and independent delis and farm shops throughout the UK. In 2011 I travelled to Ecuador to source cacao directly from cooperatives of farmers there and the business has grown tremendously since. We now offer organic cacao ingredients, blended cacao hot chocolate powders and new vegan raw chocolate snacks. Our products are stocked in Holland and Barrett, Whole Foods Market, John Lewis, Selfridges, Asda and hundreds of independent retailers in the UK, Europe and the Middle East.
What drew you to working in the confectionery industry? (Apart from the free chocolate!)
I had no experience at all in retail or the confectionary industry before I started my business, so it really was the chocolate that drew me to this industry. It was also a desire to find healthier ways of consuming chocolate and easier ways to make chocolate at home that inspired me. I’ve since learned so much and met so many amazing people in the industry and they all seem to be motivated by a love of chocolate.
There is the perception that it’s an easier industry to set up a business in. It’s far more cut throat and competitive than people think.
What do you love most about your job?
I love the creativity of working with chocolate, coming up with new chocolate recipes and new ideas and product development is amazing and I also love travelling regularly to Ecuador and Peru, meeting cocoa farmers and just being surrounded by cocoa pods.
What do you dislike most about your job?
The long lead time between sales and range reviews with buyers. I can create an amazing product but if we miss the buying window, we sometimes have to wait six months or a year for another opportunity to present our products.
What is your biggest creative achievement so far?
Apart from creating one of the first raw chocolate making kits, I’d have to say our newly launched Quinoa Pops and Plantain Bites are my biggest creative achievement. They are vegan and gluten free, lower in sugar and are also free from palm oil and soya lecithin. I absolutely love our new branding and our new ‘For Serious Chocolate Heads’ look, we have a very clear identity and a fun and creative feel to our brand and products.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I’d like to have created a successful and profitable chocolate brand that is stocked in all major retailers in the UK and internationally. I would always like to stay involved with CHOC CHICK but I’d also want to share all I’ve learned these past 10 years and help other entrepreneurs, especially women, set up businesses in this industry.
Describe a typical work day.
I’m very lucky as I live by the sea and CHOC CHICK head office is only a five-minute walk from home. I normally get up early, walk my dog on the seafront, have breakfast and walk over to the office for around 9am. My day is a mix of problem solving, sales calls and emails, making hot chocolate for the team when we need a pick me up at 2pm, a bit of social media engagement and invariably chatting to any customer that calls our landline (I can talk about cacao and recipes for hours!). I normally carry on answering emails in the evening and WhatsApp conversations with our suppliers in Ecuador and Peru.
What do you do enjoy doing outside of work?
I love music, I used to be a bit of a ‘Rock Chick’ before CHOC CHICK and now sing Jazz at an open mic night whenever I can. I also love football and am on the board of directors of a local football club, Lewes FC, the first club in the world to champion equality in football and pay men and women players the same salaries. I’m very much involved with our women’s football team and you’ll find me most Sundays bringing chocolates to the changing room and cheering them on from behind the goal…’come on you Rooks!’
What do you think will be the next big thing in the confectionery world?
Vegan and dairy free of course and chocolates that still taste sweet and delicious but with less sugar. The government’s 20% sugar reduction target is definitely an incentive and it’s clear consumers are looking for healthier alternatives, but still want an indulgent and sweet treat.
Apple or Android?
Apple all the way.
What is your favourite book or podcast?
I’m old school and like to read. Getting engrossed in a good book is how I relax and I do read a lot. I love history and am also a bit of a geek and obsessed with Neal Stephenson’s cyber punk novels, Cryptonomicon and the Baroque Cycle are incredible reads.
Where do you stand on social media – can’t live without it, or an evil necessity?
Love it! Love it! Love it! I think it’s such an amazing way to connect and engage directly with our customers and it’s even a fantastic way to connect with buyers. We had our first opportunity with Holland and Barrett thanks to LinkedIn and I love how visual Instagram is, it’s a perfect platform to share my recipes and Twitter and Facebook as just brilliant for chatting with customers, running competitions and discovering other brands and ideas.
If you could change one thing in the confectionery industry, what would it be?
I’d have many more healthier confectionery options in the till and checkout areas at supermarkets and cafes so it’s easier to choose chocolate that’s better for you, like our Quinoa Pops and Plantain Bites!
What’s the biggest misconception about working in confectionery?
Other than the misconception that you’ll end up being sick of eating so much chocolate (not the case for me), I’d say that there is the perception that it’s an easier industry to set up a business in. It’s far more cut throat and competitive than people think.
What advice would you give to other people looking to get into the confectionery industry?
Persistence and perseverance is key, but also really get to know your customer’s needs and understand consumer trends. It’s a fast moving and changing industry and what sold well and was in demand last year can and will change, you are only as good as your last chocolate sale.
Time’s up! Thank you Galia
- CREATIVE CONVERSATIONS is our online series profiling influential people working in the confectionery industry. We want to discover what makes you tick and to inspire others to follow your path.
- Please contact CN editor Anthony Myers to put yourself or a colleague forward.