Oh – brownies. I love them. I can’t bake them (they are basically hard lumps of dry cake when I try… or raw…) but I can eat them. I’m good at that! A little while ago, Rosie from Cocoa May contacted me. She asked if I’d like a box of free brownies (umm… let me think), and if I liked them, if I wouldn’t mind sending her a review. Well, rather than simply sending her a review, I wanted to pop something on my blog. She hasn’t requested this, but I want to share. To be honest, being self employed and working hard means you sometimes need treats. These are the perfect way to treat yourself. More than that, these squidgy gems would also make excellent clients gifts. If you can bear to give them away. And I won’t think badly of you if you can’t. I was thinking of where to hide them so I wouldn’t have to share.
Cocoa May’s packaging
I know, I know… the packaging obsession continues. The brownies arrived in a really nice package that was simply branded but really classy and elegant as Cocoa May use a white and black colour palette which is clean and complements the brown kraft style box the brownies came in. I stored mine in this box too as it closed properly too. As a client gift, I think a sturdy box is really good as it gives you confidence that your gift will arrive in one piece and not smashed to oblivion. Because that’s a bit depressing!
And now for the brownies
I was sent the salted caramel brownies… and oh my goodness they were incredible. They were beautifully gooey, the salted caramel was delicious, and they were great on their own and with ice cream. They’d probably be great with fruit/greek yoghurt/cream… but I didn’t try them with those! They didn’t last that long as they kept ‘talking’ to me. I know how Gollum felt in Lord of the Rings with his Precious. These were mine. My Precious. The box they came in was great for keeping them safe and would also be a lovely thing to receive through the post. My little chocolately gems arrived it perfect condition and I wouldn’t hesitate in sending them as a gift to someone. They’re also really good value I think. By the time you’ve bought a nice box of chocs and parcelled it up to send someone as a thank you, you’re pretty close to how much these cost to be honest… and in buying these you’re supporting a small business and giving someone a hand baked gift that they will absolutely adore.
Now, because this wouldn’t be a true ‘behind…’ feature without some information about the brand and business, it’s over to Rosie, founder of Cocoa May, to tell us all more about the brand…
Tell us about your name… Cocoa May – where did that come from?
I had to do a lot of brainstorming to land on Cocoa May, but I knew I wanted to keep my business name simple and open. I may want to branch out at some point and produce another range alongside my brownies, so this keeps my options open but included the all important chocolate vibe! Oh, and my birthday is in May – I thought it had a good ring to it.
I love your branding, it’s really simple, clean and elegant… what was your thinking behind it?
Exactly that to be honest. I really wanted to keep it as simple as possible – less is definitely more in my opinion.
What’s the idea behind Cocoa May? What’s your USP?
To produce a simply delicious range of amazing chocolate brownies. I think the fact that I bake everything myself, fresh to order and in small batches to ensure the highest quality gives me my edge, and definitely makes a huge difference to the end result. You can taste when someone has poured their heart into their cooking.
What’s the best bit of business advice you’ve been given?
Make sure that your product is better than anyone else’s.
Do you listen to any podcasts/what’s your favourite business book?
I’m currently reading “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” by Gary Vaynerchuk. It’s all about how to increase and improve your presence on social media. Worth a read for anyone starting a small business and trying to make an impact online.
What’s your favourite social media platform?
At the moment, it’s Instagram. I used to be a big Facebook fan, but since starting Cocoa May, instagram can provide me with fresh ideas, a community to discuss business with, and an enormous pool of potential customers.
What’s been your biggest achievement to date?
In relation to Cocoa May, I think just getting this far is a great achievement. When I launched the business, I didn’t really know how it would go, and I am just so thrilled with the reactions and feedback I’ve had so far.
In my personal life, my biggest achievement has to be running the London Marathon earlier this year. It was absolutely amazing – I ran it for an awesome charity, MS-UK, as MS has sadly affected my family for many years. As someone who could not run a mile a year ago (I know everyone says that, but in my case it’s honestly true), it has changed my outlook on life massively and makes you realise that you really can achieve anything you set your mind to.
What’s been the most surprising thing about running a business?
It’s amazing just how much you have to do to keep everything ticking over, let alone grow your business. It’s easy to look at small businesses and assume it’s all quite straight forward and simple, but there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes. That said, I love it and am learning so much as I go along.
What can we expect to see in Cocoa May’s future?
A lot more brownies!
Where can we find you online!