Steph's Blog

Happy 1st Birthday Kokopelli’s!

Happy birthday Kokopelli’s Chocolate! My little business has turned one year old today, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s been both a quick year and a long year – having learned more than I could ever have anticipated, worked harder than I thought I could and having achieved more in just twelve months than I even dared dream.

The chocolate-making workshops have really taken off. I never set out to run them, but I just kept being asked if I would. And I kept saying yes! So I now run regular public workshops at The Make Lounge, I often run private ones for hen parties, birthdays, children’s parties, and I’m also booked in to run public workshops at three other organisations later in the year. I even ran a workshop at a primary school (it was one of my favourites, especially receiving a stack of handwritten, illustrated thank you cards in the post afterwards). And the most advertising I’ve done is just having a ‘workshops’ page on the website  – all of these organisations and individuals wanting to learn how to make beautiful, delicious chocolates have approached me. Which is a pretty nice feeling.

I’ve learned how to scale up production (something which I’m still learning, as Kokopelli’s grows and needs to produce in ever larger quantities), which at first was a daunting, seemingly insurmountable prospect, but which I can now take in my stride. Our first Christmas was an especially huge learning curve.

We have exhibited at several market stalls, most notably, The Chocolate Festival on the Southbank Square (at Christmas and at Easter). We’ve taken bespoke corporate orders and donated boxes to charity. We’ve sold to a delightful and top notch chocolate shop. We’ve collaborated with a fantastic local restaurant on an Easter competition and done giveaways with a major chocolate review blog. We’ve had glittering reviews and some really good printed press, as well as food blogger coverage.

Not forgetting all the behind the scenes stuff, including working with our brilliant and dedicated designer on Kokopelli’s logo, packaging, menus and other materials; lots of website development; work on branding; photoshoots; video filming; and market research. I even sewed my own banner.

And the crux of it all – making gorgeous, delectable chocolates. From dreaming up flavour combinations to choosing mould shapes, from recipe testing (and re-testing) to learning how to paint with cocoa butter, from switching to using Valrhona couverture to choosing suppliers for the best ingredients, and beyond, this has been one of the best years of my life. There have been plenty of moments of frustration (when the ganache has split, or I’ve spilled almost half a kilo of hazelnut paste on the floor, or I’ve burnt a caramel, or the summer heat has prevented me from tempering properly… I could go on) – but it’s all been totally worth it. I’ve learned huge amounts and have had an absolute ball getting creative, tasting everything, and noticing how much my palate has changed.

Meeting new people has been another top highlight. Twitter has been at the heart of much of it – something I didn’t expect when I signed up. I’ve met a lot of fantastic people who have become customers and friends in real life (offline friends), many of whom have opened doors or helped me out in some way. I feel part of several different, but often overlapping communities who have been an inspiration and source of hope and support during this year of learning and exploring. I am enormously grateful to many people who have helped me come so far in just twelve months (I won’t list them all here – it seems like something for the back of a book, if I ever write one). It’s also been really satisfying and helpful to meet customers and hear their thoughts and feedback, and to watch their faces morph into smiles as they try my chocolates.

So what’s in the pipeline for this year? I’ve got lots on my ‘planning’ to-do list – including looking at having a permanent presence at a market in London, expanding Kokopelli’s product range and looking into hiring a dedicated workshop space. We’re growing, it’s hugely exciting, and I think it’s well worth watching this space.

I’m celebrating our first birthday by giving away a box of Kokopelli’s Chocolate to one lucky person. All you need to do to be in with a chance to win is leave a comment on this blog post with something you’d like to see from us in our second year. Entries close on Sat 20th April. The best answer will win a lovely box of fresh, handmade chocolates.

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16 comments on “Happy 1st Birthday Kokopelli’s!

  1. I reckon your challenge for this year should be to do a Kokopelli’s wedding cake made of loads of layers of different chocolates!

  2. Happy birthday! Your chocolates look beautiful!
    How about incorporating the Kokopelli character in your workshops more? He could be a mascot or you could make him a chocolate flute? Or you could get people in your workshops to spread the chocolate love in the same fashion as he did..
    Good luck!

  3. Congratulations on your 1st Birthday!

    I think you have achieved an awful lot in just one year, and am really looking forward to seeing how you expand and progress in the many years to come! Your chocolates are divine, and so well thought out and you can tell that a lot of love has gone into making them.

    I would love to see you experiment with some unusual fruity flavours in your second year. Or some fragrant teas: Lapsang Souchong is one of my favourites. How about adding some crunch with a little feullentine or popping candy. And what about Marzipan? It isn’t to everyone’s liking – but I love it!

  4. Happy 1st birthday! As the summer is slowly approaching, albeit at a snails pace I’d like to see some refreshing summer fruits in your chocolates. I’m thinking kiwi, mango, passionfruit, melon, strawberries, bananas, grapefruit. Your passionfruit was so refreshing, looking a long those lines for the summer would be great! Good luck for your second year! I have no doubt you will achieve your dreams! xx

  5. Happy birthday! Thanks for providing lovely chocolates for our BARREtoned opening celebration today. Everyone loved them. Wishing you many more successful years!

  6. Happy birthday, Your Chocs look delicious 🙂 Maybe next year you could get into the Easter market with your KoKo Chocolate Easter men 🙂

  7. Happy Birthday! Inspiring chocolates and company.
    Well done – just develop more of the same. You obviously have a winning formula!

  8. Thank you everyone for your kind words and thoughtful suggestions! The lucky winner of a box of Kokopelli’s is Shaoni Nandy for her varied and interesting ideas. Shaoni, I’ll get in touch so you can receive your chocolates.
    Warm wishes,
    Steph

  9. Belated Happy 1st Birthday! I love hearing about peoples’ success stories as it keeps me motivated. And yes, you should probably write a book oneday 🙂

  10. Pingback: Kokopelli’s turns two | Kokopelli's Chocolate | Fresh chocolates handmade in London

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