This article is excepted from Woman Magazine from the UK, dated 28 March 2016.
Sweet Virtues owner Carey Davis-Munro explains how she turned her hobby into a successful business
Like most people, she loved tucking into chocolate treats at any time of the year, but mostly around the holiday seasons, Christmas and Easter.
I’d never planned on having my own business. Growing up I had always been interested in sport, and after leaving university I started working as a PE teacher
After 9 years a friend suggested she joined an events firm as a HR Manager.
Between 2002 and 2006, 3 children had been born and Carey wanted their diets to be free of additives, preservatives and sugary products so she spent quite a lot of time in the kitchen.
She came up with healthier versions of the chocolate products they liked to eat.
After completing a nutrition course, she went looking for ingredients that were not only tasty but healthy as well. For example, cocoa is full of nutrients so she used carob flour, almonds and sunflower seeds and with a lot of experimentation came up with a recipe that was guilt free and good for her children.
Judging by the way the children devoured it and fought over who licked the bowl, she knew she was on to a winner.
She decided to branch out and started making truffles for friends and family and in a short time word had spread to the other mums on the school run, and they asked if they could buy what she was making. They wanted to give their own children some of Carey’s healthy treats.
This got her thinking, could she make a living out of her hobby?
A question many of you may be asking yourselves.
Things didn’t happen overnight, she was a single mum of three with all that entails, and she had no real knowledge of how to get a food business off the ground.
She also had a few setbacks, for example people suggesting there wasn’t a mass market for healthy chocolate, so she was determined to prove others wrong. Often a catalyst for a lot of people to take action. Being told you can’t or shouldn’t be doing something can often light the fire of determination.
Over time, she did some market research and came up with a business model that suited her and continued to improve her recipes. Sweet Virtues was built to suit her as a person.
She managed to find an investor, kitchens big enough to make her product and some stockists who totally believed in what she was doing.
In March 2014 Sweet Virtues was born and within 12 months a further 2 staff were employed.
Her chocolate truffles are now stocked by Selfridges and Harvey Nichols
2 of the most prestigious retailers in the UK.
Proof you can start a business from your kitchen table and be successful.
I couldn’t be happier and it is proof if you have a dream, you should chase it no matter what anyone else says
Now, who wouldn’t agree with that sentiment.
For a look at Carey Davis-Munro’s product business, go and have a look at the sweet virtues website and watch her video.
What a great product business she is developing.
Her why: she wanted to create healthy chocolates and treats initially for her children. Their health was her why, and always the best place to start.
Sweet Virtues was born.
Her passion: She started out being a PE teacher, so she was in the business of health to begin with, it became an extension of that.
Her skills: Not only did she have an understanding of health as a PE teacher to provide an underlying foundation, she took a nutrition course to further develop it further side and her work in events helped her develop management skills.
Her route to market: she started with her children, they loved them, her friends and family, they loved them, other mums at the school gate, they loved them and more importantly they wanted to buy them.
Proof she had a quality product and it was saleable.