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Case Studies

Scottish artisan chocolatiers enjoying sweet success

A Scottish artisan chocolate business has moved into the business-to-business market after the owner approached Business Gateway for support.

About the business

Quirky Chocolate creates and sells unique collections of artisan chocolate from a small workshop close to Arthur’s Seat. Founded in 2008 by designer, Sandra Colamartino, who was also the first captain of the Scottish women’s rugby team, the business combines her two favourite things: beautiful design and delicious chocolate.

Quirky Chocolate is also Fairtrade Cocoa certified, ensuring that the farmers who produce the cocoa that goes into their products are paid a fair price.

As the business has matured, I’ve realised that there is so much support on offer from Business Gateway, which isn’t limited to start-up support. We’ve recently had a referral from Business Gateway and are looking forward to a member of the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS) speaking to our team about where we can make improvements.
Sandra Colamartino, Owner, Quirky Chocolate

How Business Gateway has helped

Sandra first connected with Business Gateway as she was launching the business, when her local adviser connected her with an accountant.    

Having built up an established customer base, Sandra went on to create hand-rolled milk chocolate brussels sprouts in 2014, which became Not on The High Street’s best-selling product for three years in a row. The product resulted in a £1m turnover for the business alone.     

Buoyed by these impressive sales, Sandra started to work on products that would sell all year long, and designed and produced the tartan collection, which includes a range of Scottish flavours such as cranachan and millionaire’s shortbread. 

Having largely sold to a consumer audience, Sandra and the team began to move into business-to-business (B2B) sales, with a growing portfolio of top hotels in Scotland now stocking Quirky Chocolate products.

Since launching, Quirky Chocolate has grown to a team of 16, made up of chocolatiers, production staff, designers and tech gurus. The business has very recently become a living wage employer and plans to grow at a steady speed while taking their employees and freelance illustrators and artists on the journey with them.

Sandra Colamartino, Owner, Quirky Chocolate, said: “As the business has matured, I’ve realised that there is so much support on offer from Business Gateway, which isn’t limited to start-up support. We’ve recently had a referral from Business Gateway and are looking forward to a member of the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS) speaking to our team about where we can make improvements.”

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