08 November 2018, 10:56 AM
  • Hotel Chocolat’s founder talks making people happy and doing business differently
Viewpoint: Angus Thirlwell, Hotel Chocolat

We started as a pure e-tailer before we had any physical spaces at all, which meant that when we did start looking at having the luxury of a physical space, we were very clear that it had to do something more than just be transactional. Our spaces have got to bring alive the power to excite that chocolate and cocoa can have.

I don’t think anybody knows what’s fully going to happen as a result of Brexit, but we’re focusing on what we can control. We’ll stay agile and try to adapt, and make the best of whatever is dealt to us. But in our mind there’s only a certain amount of time we can spend speculating, we just want to get on with things.

We’re quite fortunate that we’re not an importer of a finished product, we’re a maker in Great Britain. So that does insulate us to a certain extent. I think there’s probably quite a big difference between manufacturers and importers in how agile or how the factors are going to influence what has to be done, but if we can stay on our toes, stay nimble, and most of all stay very close to our end customers.

The future looks good. My biggest mandate is to nurture, protect and invest in the brand values of Hotel Chocolat. We’re very clear about what we stand for, and that means we can’t do some things – we have to say no to a lot of things that, ordinarily, if you’re thinking about money or short term-ism, you’d say yes to. I believe that as long as we are disciplined in putting the brand first, the future’s bright.

Read the entire interview in the latest issue of Speciality Food, available to download for free here.