26 October 2022
A week in the life of Amarachi Clarke, founder of Lucocoa Chocolate
Come with us as we take you behind the scenes of London's first bean to bar chocolate factory, Lucocoa Chocolate, founded by our previous scale-up programme alumni Amarachi Clarke.
Amarachi founded Lucocoa in 2015, after teaching herself to make chocolate in her home she learned that the bean-to-bar quality chocolate could be much better than that available in the mass market, even than perceived luxury brands. Since taking part in our previous scale-up programme last year, she has had some incredible opportunities come her way.
"Some new stockists approached us that we could only have dreamed of, as well as some high-profile media. Our team has grown a lot so we are now a team of 7 covering production, comms, sales and creative. Previously we only really dipped our toe in seasonal but we now have the capacity to really engage with Halloween, Bonfire night, Black Friday, Christmas, Easter etc. It’s also fun for us to think creatively about how we sell our chocolate.
We’re also looking at a new, larger factory to move to so if all goes well we will have a new Lucocoa home soon!"
Read on to get a taste of what it's like to run your own chocolate factory...
Today will be the most chill day of the week! Looking at the calendar we have a lot to get through so planning is key. I start the day by mapping out what success looks like at the end of the week and then work back from there plotting every key task for me and my team members, that we will discuss at the Tuesday morning team meeting when everyone is in.
We also start by roasting the cocoa beans of the chocolate that we’ll be making in the week, going through stockist orders and planning when we will get them out by.
We have our weekly team meeting, this is a good chance to get the team up to speed with a lot of things that have happened in the last week, catch up on projects and have a chat about how we felt the previous week went.
The weekly stocktake happens and gives us a snap shot of how much product we have. We have a baseline of product we are comfortable with. After the stocktake, we then prioritise the making of products to get to the baseline or just above that.
I had a meeting with Mercury Spirits a fellow British Library scale-up programme alumni. We discussed the possibility of working together on a Christmas product – chocolate and negroni, a combination that never fails!
All the cocoa beans are crushed and winnowed and the machines are switched on. They won’t stop until Thursday when the chocolate is ready. We’re making Natural Blonde and 60% Haiti this week.
Lots of tempering of chocolate today as we have to keep the stocks up!
We were invited to a Black History Month fair in the Aldgate Tower, it was a nice little lunch market for staff in the building. It was great to meet a lot of other Black founders.
I got back to the factory and hopped straight on a call with ITV as I will be baking our signature brownies on This Morning with Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary, there are a few things logistic wise that needed to be sorted so I hopped on a call with the guys at ITV to iron those out.
The coconut sugar, lucuma and cocoa butter are all weighed out and loaded into the machines slowly throughout the day.
In the evening a few of us went to a screening of Chocolate War a documentary by Miki Mistrati, highlighting the issues with child and slave labour in the chocolate supply chain. With the amount of money big chocolate companies make, we know they can fix the problem, but haven’t been required to, which is a great shame. We have been working on how we fix this problem and raising awareness on the issue through a campaign and podcast.
Today we were invited to speak at a conference in Brussels by Meta in November which is flattering, we hopped on a call and got some more details.
I caught up with our sales lead on where we are sales wise and putting a strategy together on meeting our targets
We had a request from the BBC show Dreaming whilst Black to have our products placed in the background of the show. I finally got around to signing the contract and sending that off. Now to get the stock ready to go out next Monday.
This is bake day and always a little stressful as Friday which is supposed to be a bit of a winding down day, always seems to be one of the busiest. All the bakery orders that come through online throughout the week are baked and dispatched on Friday for delivery on Saturday.
We had a brainstorm session with a new partner – Glebe Farm, the only oat milk company in the UK using British oat. We have been using their oat milk for our hot chocolate and their gluten free flour for our brownies for a few years now. We got some great ideas down and now to get them rolled out.
We form part of the Spa Terminus market on Saturday so we have the shop fully stocked with chocolate, chocolate gifts, hot chocolate and our signature Bourbon biscuits.
I left the shop early to head over to my Spanish lessons.
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