Who we are!
Hello everyone, first of all thank you for taking the time to read our pledge. My name is Trace and I am a self-taught chocolatier and also the founder of The Chocolat Story and Lab cocoa. We are a small local independent business; our speciality is making handcrafted artisan chocolates. I first started to research into the science, art and skills behind chocolate making back in December 2016. I already held a passion for art and food, so following this I initially experimented with different flavours, to test what flavours marry together. Once I had an idea of many flavours this then turned to my creative side understanding how to make my chocolates stand from the rest, from here I discovered coloured cocoa butter… it literally was a colour explosion and this is where things started to take off.
Left picture, My hubby John and Myself . Right Picture, a selection of our handcrafted chocolates
So, after forcing my family members to constantly try my chocolates, resulting them gaining a pound or two, I was confident enough to share my chocolates on my own social platforms. From doing this I created a small amount of custom. My custom continued to grow and always getting returning customers gave me the ability to turn a small hobby from my kitchen, into a full-sized workshop and even into running small chocolate workshops for local young people and SEN (Special Educational Needs) schools. With a natural progression of my custom I was able to get an apprentice, Alex, which she also shares the same views and passions as we do. Alex is a young mum of 2 from within the local community and has been with us for almost a year now. Since Alex started, she has brought a whole new concept to the business and over a natural progression Lab cocoa was born...
Pictures: Lab Cocoa Logo, and pictures from Families enjoying our Imagination kits at home
Making of Lab Cocoa
As you already know we run chocolate workshops for young people and families. We didn’t realise how popular they would be…. And due to lack of activities for young people to participate within our local area this made us realise we needed a new concept and something separate from ‘The Chocolat Story’…… Lab cocoa was born! The idea of the name ‘Lab Cocoa’ stemmed from it being fun, experimental and extremely messy! … and what many people don’t realise chocolate is very scientific and real work of art…..
Before COVID 19 we were in the progress of expanding our workshop in the hope of having better facilities and more space for young people and families. Unfortunately, due to COVID 19 these plans have temporarily come to a stop. We still have a huge aspiration to continue this dream and to provide fun and create sessions for everyone. Workshops aren’t just about making your own chocolate creations it’s about coming together and making memories.
Imagination Is Key
So during COVID 19 my natural enthusiasm couldn’t sit still… literally! and wanting to share the passion and love for Lab Cocoa. We invented our ‘Imagination Chocolate sets’ and ‘Imagination Chocolate Kits’ both for young people and families to join in together making their own chocolate creations. Taking the kits from out workshop and taking it into their own home . Each kit provides all the necessary equipment and instructions covering the key elements of science, english, maths and art (making home schooling fun). Not only does it educate them it also provides them with new learning skills and broadening their creative side. Due to the popularity and the interest of the children, we started receiving requests of designs ……and we listened! Following from this we purchased a vacuum moulding machine which would give us the ability to create personalised moulds, but also create our own moulds for our ‘Imagination Chocolate Collections’. Take a peek at our Instagram page (Lab_Cocoa) see some of our creations which have come to life.....
Why don’t you send us some of your crazy creations for us to make!
or check out our collections on our website www.thechocolatstory.com
So, why did I make a Crowd Funding pledge?
We believe that Lab Cocoa has potential to grow beyond what you would imagine. We have such dreams of even expending further than our local community. However, we need strengthen the foundations of Lab Cocoa before we can even achieve the ultimate dream, which we will!... and with your help you can follow the journey with us.
The money we are pledging for would go towards the following;
Expanding Our Workshop
There are multiple benefits in expanding our workshop. The biggest factor of expanding would be being able to accommodate larger groups and offer specialist sessions for young people with disabilities or within the SEN category. As you can see by our video ‘Mr. Lab Cocoa’ aka my husband, has already completed the shell of the expanded workshop (I think he has done an amazing job, don’t you?) He’s just waiting on your help to give him another job list to do. There are a few things that ‘Mr. Lab Cocoa’ can’t do such as the plastering and the electrics. We would source a local specialist company to complete the outstanding jobs. Once we have our ‘completed’ shell of a workshop we can then begin to look at fully functioning furniture which will accommodate everybody. Our vision for Lab Cocoa’s workshop is science based, in order to achieve this effect, we would like to bring in a local wall artist to give us this effect and make our workshop complete.
See Video on our Instagram Page
Our current equipment suits the job load of ‘The Chocolat Story’ however for Lab Cocoa the need of a Chocolate Tempering Dispenser would provide and added bonus for young people visualise another process for chocolate making. This would decrease the participants waiting time and also be more hygienic, in turn, increase our capacity of chocolate production, in which would mean we could cater more workshops. As we briefly stated we want to expand further than the workshops. Naturally as a business grows, we tend to outgrow our equipment, this doesn’t mean our ‘old’ equipment would go to waste. If we achieved the need of our Dispenser this would then free up our current chocolate melters to take them into the community and schools and deliver our workshops.
PPE And Safety
Within our work we implement the correct hygienic procedures however due to COVID 19 we want to make sure everyone who comes to our workshops can stay safe. For everyone who attends our workshops we need to ensure their safety is our paramount. We already stock our PPE within in our workshop, we would just need to find alternative equipment which would be more child friendly. For example, a motion sensor hand sanitizer and to design personalised aprons to decrease waste but increases our support to local businesses. Lastly, a UV steriliser to hygienically clean our brushes and our equipment in between workshops. And lastly to make the session more interesting and hygienic new custom designed Lab coats which can be washed after each session, this reducing the use disposable aprons.
Imagination Kits 3-D Printer
Now this is something that would be an ultimate dream for Lab Cocoa. Having the access to a 3-D printer would stretch children’s imaginations. They would have tools (printer) to create their own creation and then we would use our moulding machine to create a chocolate template for them. It is then a further skill developed for the young people and this would also be able to be used to further school’s enterprise projects. It doesn’t stop there; this would enable a child to request a particular creation that we would then be able to mould for them. This would also provide an ultimate experience with this and our moulding machine.
3D Printer Left side picture, Right side picture; Laser chocolate mould and creations, using our vacuum mould machine.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read our pledge, after reading this I hope you have an understanding of our goals. We feel like with any business you need to have to right support and custom; luckily for us over the years our custom has now brought out us people we would call family. We are reaching out to you to come and join our adventure and support us in any way you can. Here’s a few ways of how you can help us:
There are several different donations and some have rewards; to us it doesn’t matter the size of the donation, every donation will be appreciated by the children who attend our work shops (and us of course!)
Purchase from our Website
Purchasing from our website would be hugely beneficial as every order made would be putting more money back into building our dream; it just may take longer than intended. www.thechocolatstory.com
Share the Love for Chocolate!
Sharing and liking our pledge is still a way of helping. Spread the word like we spread the chocolate. Even follow and share our social media pages to join our journey.
If you’re not able to contribute with a pledge, but love what we’re doing, please help us get the word out! Shout about us on Instagram (@lab_cocoa) & (@The_chocolat_story) and Facebook (Lab- Cocoa) & (The chocolate Story) or forward our pledge to your friends and talk about it with your loved ones.
Lastly feel free to get in touch, we love talking all things chocolate... and of course if you have any reward ideas that aren’t currently on here - please shout... we're very accommodating :-)
THANK YOU! - From us all at Lab Cocoa :-)