“DO you like chocolate?”
“I do. But I love chocoholics more,” says Geri Martin, founder of The Chocolate Manor based in Coleraine.
Just 12-months ago Geri started a small craft business after taking on a 10-week professional chocolate making course at North West Regional College during maternity leave.
Geri’s home kitchen is her workplace where she prepares and packages all her products.
The product list has grown substantially and The Chocolate Manor now boasts a range of services including chocolate boards, bespoke gifts, corporate events, weddings and parties.
Last month, Geri attended a Meet the Buyer event in Monaghan as part of the Gateways to Growth initiative where 150 sellers and 31 buyers came together to do business.
This proved to be a launch-pad for her business into the online retailing world.
The Gateways to Growth programme introduced Geri to online retail stores IrishShopper.co.uk and since their first introduction they have agreed to list the Chocolate Manor on a number of their sites which boast thousands of weekly customers.
Geri says the meeting has the potential to upscale her business. “Obviously as a craft company we operate from a small base, however it is my intention to take the company to the next level and entering the online business with a retailing partner such as the IrishShopper.co.uk would help us do just that.”
Ahead of the Meet the Buyer event, Geri admits that she was very nervous, having never showcased her products at this level before.
Geri created bespoke corporate chocolates for each buyer but also produced her idea of chocolates featuring famous Irish landmarks. Some of the landmarks to feature include The Giant’s Causeway, Titanic Belfast and the Mourne Mountains.
Nigel Moffett, Sales Director at IrishShopper.co.uk says: “Geri from the Chocolate Manor was particularly impressive as she arrived with a bespoke product on the day. She was clearly prepared and ready to do business. We are delighted that we will stock her chocolates with notable landmarks on them in the New Year. And we hope that this initial business relationship will develop further.”
Geri met Pramerica, Prometric, 4 Beauty Group, H&J Martin, Matthews.ie, FPM Accountants along with IrishShopper.co.uk.