The sweet smell of success
A year ago, 22 year-old Jamie Kemp had just started his own business as a chocolatier, creating handmade chocolates and truffles.
Jamie had been unemployed when he came back from his travels in Costa Rica where he went to research and discover how chocolate is made; ‘from bean to bar’.
After Jamie’s travels he approached Radian EST, his landlord, for some advice on how to start his own chocolate company. Radian found Jamie a place on the Strive start up business scheme run by Enterprise Cube, which provided core advice and guidance, which he says, “It was a great way to get an insight in starting your own business with other likeminded people”.
Jamie also took part in specialist training from flagship chocolatiers Callebuat called ‘the science of chocolate’ which is designed for professional chocolatiers and product developers, to enable him to learn new skills in creating his chocolate.
At the time Jamie described setting up his own company as the biggest challenge of his life and praised the support of his business mentor.
Jamie has had some early successes along the way too. After attending GUAC’s annual event at the House of Commons last October and bringing along some of his chocolates for guests to sample, Kirsty McHugh, Chief Exec of ERSA was so impressed that she placed a large order with Jamie for a forthcoming event she was hosting. The proof really is in the pudding!
One year on and Jamie has developed and extended his collection of chocolates, even including deep fried bacon oreo flavour and chocolate pumpkin smoothies, he has re-branded his company, now called JK Fine Chocolates and built a new website.
Earlier this year Jamie was awarded a £5,000 grant from his LEP which he is using to develop his business skills and work with a mentor which is supporting his business development skills.
Jamie’s unique flavours are what makes his product stand out from the crowd, from the award winning Popping Salted Caramel to Roasted Hazelnut Caramel and Passion fruit and Raspberry flavour, Jamie’s flavours don’t stop there with mouth watering descriptions such as, “…dark chocolate with the warmth of coffee, tang of pink grapefruit and hints of liquorice.”
Maybe most importantly importantly his talent and hard work had been officially recognised, by being awarded two Great Taste awards, a benchmark for fine foods in the UK, for his collection.
Jamie is also in the ‘Great British Spiced Competition’ semi finals. He created boxes of spiced chocolates which were available to purchase in Selfridges, London and at the ‘Chocolate Show’ at Olympia, London.
Commenting on his last year in business he said; “It has certainly been a challenging year as 2015 is the first official year for me to go through all the different seasons, spring, summer etc. As you can imagine summer is an interesting season for us chocolatiers not only in selling but also in the actual making of the chocolates and truffles as humidity levels rise greatly.
“However, it has prepared me well for 2016 knowing what I will face. I am really pleased both products I entered into ‘Great Taste’ won an award and also being a finalist in the ‘Strive Business Awards’ was fantastic so it was truly amazing to be recognised positively in both the business and the food side.’
Jamie’s drive, hard work and unique approach to developing an incredible product and experience for his customers shows that this is his life passion.
From personally sourcing cocoa from a small farm in Costa Rica to continually experimenting with flavours and recipes and running the finance, running his own marketing and sales for the business, Jamie is in full flow to ensure he can continue to grow his incredible business – an incredible feat for a young man who is not event 25 years old.
Jamie’s chocolates are available to buy online