After our conversation with Mec Coffee in Cardiff, we then brought our search a little closer to home. This led us to our lovely friends at Caro, Somerset, run by Natalie Jones. Caro is a beautiful shop on Bruton high street, a B&B and event space. We worked with Nathalie last year, providing some stunning, bespoke flavoured chocolate bars for her business that now sit proudly in the shop, online and on the shelf. Not only are they beautiful but we can confidently say that they're delicious too!
I sat down with Natalie and asked her some questions about the importance of independent business and the creative process involved with creating a bespoke chocolate collection for her brand.
Dani: What is Caro and what do you do?
Natalie: Caro is a brand for life and home. Based in Bruton, Somerset, we have a store, B&B and event space where we host workshops as well as photoshoots - the light is so fantastic in there.
Dani: Why is quality especially important to an independent retailer?
Natalie: Our ethos at Caro is rooted in creating a life that is considered, thoughtful but also approachable and enriching. Quality is the embodiment of this sentiment, not necessarily meaning expensive but well made and designed well. Independent businesses have to fight hard for a slice of the retail-pie so it's important to offer something that customers can rely on in terms of how they're made and where they come from.
Dani: What made you want to create own brand chocolate?
Natalie: Firstly, who wouldn't want their own chocolate bar!? Secondly, Caro is a place for our local residents as well as those travelling from afar. Taste is such a powerful sense and brings an immediate smile to someone's face. It is a pleasure to offer our visitors something so tasty which they can easily take back home with them, in a suitcase or in their handbag - a taste of the countryside!
Dani: How has your own brand chocolate been received?
Natalie: I think it's our best seller instore so that's saying a lot! We always have a few broken pieces of chocolate on the counter for visitors to try which seems to win their hearts. We've noticed that once people had has a taste, they can't help but add it to their basket of goodies!
Dani: How did you find the creative process working with The Chocolate Society?
Natalie: Working with The Chocolate Society was exceptional. From discussing flavours, to testing, packaging and delivery, the experience was fluid, thorough, welcoming and most of all fun. Alistair is a chocolate connoisseur!
Dani: Can you explain why collaboration between independent retailers is so important to you?
Natalie: Collaborating with independent retailers is really rewarding. Not only does it encourage ideas but it creates a community. Your customers are likely to enjoy other brands that you partner because they are likeminded in their creative output, their values and their service. It's a way of introducing your following to someone else's like introducing two of your best friends!
Dani: Finally, what's your favourite flavour and why?
Natalie: My favourite is the pine, black pepper and cocoa nibs. It has layers of flavour and is delicious with a cup of tea or a swig of whiskey.
To get in touch with us about creating your own bespoke chocolate bars, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 01963 824366.To get in touch with Caro, Somerset, please contact them via their Instagram.