Amarachi, founder of Lucocoa Chocolate makes and sells her own ‘Bean to Bar’ chocolate. In February 2020, her customers were high end hotels and restaurants and a new factory in Bermondsey was ready to manufacture, when Covid-19 took away 90% of her business overnight. She switched to selling direct to consumers online and drove sales up 300%. A Digital Boost mentor from Apple helped Amarachi sense-check her strategy and pushed her to explore even greater opportunities.
Amarachi is at the forefront of a revolution – to educate consumers on the benefits of ‘Bean to Bar’ chocolate and make it seen as much a connoisseur delight as wine and coffee.
She sources cocoa from the same places in central and South America as the best coffee, where she pays the equivalent of a living wage to farmers who cultivate beans with amazing flavours. She makes her own chocolate, which takes three days of loving labour, avoids the use of refined sugar*, and sells her premium chocolate to high end restaurants, hotels, and stores.
Ama taught herself to make chocolate after a running injury, when she learned about how certain foods work with the body to heal and launched her business from a spare room in 2015. At the same time as working on major projects for UNICEF, she would make her product in the evenings and deliver to a growing customer base before work.
In February 2020 Ama moved to a new factory in Bermondsey and was selling to ACE Hotel, Bluebird restaurants and coffee shops in high footfall places like the British Library, when Covid-19 struck. Overnight, she lost 90% of her business. She panicked, then posted on Instagram that Lucocoa is ‘too small to fail’ and pleaded with people to buy.
They did, and sales are up 300% year on year.
Ama found out about Digital Boost, who provide unlimited mentorships via partners including Apple, Google, DCMS and BT, from a supplier. She had two mentoring calls and plans to follow up with workshops on SEO and digital marketing.
Because her business has necessarily changed from B2B to a B2C focus, she wanted to sense-check her strategy, and chose a mentor from Apple. The conversation left her buzzing with ideas. Her mentor understood her business right away, confirmed she was doing the right things and added some extra layers of ideas.
“What the pandemic did for us was make us evaluate who we are and what we do. We decided to take our chocolate revolution direct to the customer and celebrate the quality of ‘Bean to Bar’ through social media.
Digital Boost helped me sense-check my strategy and the guy from Apple was brilliant. He said, ‘people are coming to you for the story and staying for the chocolate’, so I need to get my story out there!”
* It’s in her company name: LU (lucuma, a fruit from Peru) CO (coconut sugar) COA (cocoa beans and coco butter).