Lucocoa Chocolate

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Seven years ago, when Amarachi Clarke founded Lucocoa Chocolate, in the hope of kick-starting an ethical way of making chocolate, eCommerce provided her with the exposure she needed.

Amarachi Clarke from Lucocoa Chocolate standing in front of a building

In 2015, with limited business knowledge, Amarachi Clarke started making chocolate from scratch, using the cocoa beans she’d sourced.

The popularity of her products soon led to Amarachi setting up her own market stall in East London, before taking the next logical step and selling online.

‘I built my own website in a couple of months, juggling my stall, a full-time job, and creating the site, making sure everything looked okay,’ Amarachi, from London, begins.

eCommerce software was definitely the easiest solution to get my business off the ground as soon as possible

‘I knew I needed the right tools for my website, because I’d previously worked at a tech start-up, where I’d had my first experience with eCommerce software. Without it, I knew I wouldn’t really be able to get the most out of selling online.’

The eCommerce software Amarachi chose offered an ‘out-of-the-box solution’, meaning as soon as it was set it up it was good to go; it was just a matter of choosing the right plan for her business, and then creating an online shop for her website.

‘Design-wise, the way everything looked on the page was really nice,’ Amarachi says. ‘eCommerce software was definitely the easiest solution to get my business off the ground as soon as possible.’

Amarachi’s desire to set up a small business wasn’t unusual, her reason for doing so, however, was: figuring out how to change the world.

‘I was quite an ambitious twentysomething at the time,’ Amarachi laughs. ‘I studied for my computer science degree, followed by my Masters, with an aim of getting into project management. I then decided to move into the charities sector, to work on various political teams and international development. But the question remained of what I could do to really make a long-term change for others. I realised the answer was setting up my own business.

A selection of chocolate bars produced by Amarachi Clarke at Lucocoa Chocolate

It was following her participation in the San Francisco Marathon, when she sustained an injury, that Amarachi started researching the healing properties of food.
She says: ‘I started to discover more about chocolate, and how many issues there are with it in terms of child and slave labour and how unethical elements of the chocolate trade can be.’

Amarachi’s research stirred her emotions, and she found herself wondering what she could do.

She set to work, managing to find contacts in the cocoa farming industry across Central and South America, and the Caribbean, before sourcing ethically grown cocoa beans, which would provide people who picked with a living wage. The seed for Lucocoa Chocolate was finally planted.

eCommerce has definitely helped with our sales. We showcase what we sell on our website, and the software we use also has a built-in analytics function

Since setting up her business and trading from her market stall to now having her own factory, Amarachi has seen an increase in sales – something she attributes to the eCommerce software she adopted.

Although her software choice served its purpose, Amarachi realised an upgrade was required in order to support her business’ growth.

She says: ‘At the time, for a small business, it was perfect. We actually chose to adopt eCommerce software developed in the States, because it was a popular choice for businesses my size at the time. But, when it came to being VAT registered, we found ourselves having to make manual adjustments and things began to get a bit murky. It just didn’t offer the functionality we needed for VAT returns.

‘As Lucocoa Chocolate has continued to grow through online sales, VAT has become a bigger responsibility so, this year, we’ll be moving to a different eCommerce software which will help us to streamline our VAT processes a bit better, with a lot less hassle, because it will cater more towards the UK market.

A large, industrial mixing bowl filled with melted chocolate

‘eCommerce has definitely helped with our sales. We showcase what we sell on our website, and the software we use also has a built-in analytics function. It’s really useful when it comes to telling us things like the average order value on the website; how many sales we’ve made over a certain period of time.

‘Our eCommerce software also gives us the data we need to help decide whether we need to change things up a little bit – whether that’s through pricing, or our own marketing and PR.

‘It also helps with customer engagement, because visitors to the site can look at our products and ask us questions before they buy.’

Amarachi’s business has since gone on to offer wholesale trade - something eCommerce software manages with ease.

A selection of Lucocoa chocolate bars in a gift basket

It also works in sync with Digital Accounting software, adopted to streamline accountancy processes from the very beginning, whereby orders placed on the website feed through seamlessly to provide details on sales made.

‘If you’re a business and you’re looking to grow, you can’t be one-dimensional. You need to be open to exploring new ways of working such as adopting software like eCommerce, because you never know what might happen overnight. ‘eCommerce has helped us grow our business to where we are now.

‘The eCommerce software we incorporated onto our website helps to keep our business alive. Using it to help us sell is a bit of a no-brainer.

‘It doesn’t make sense for us to keep shouting about changing the world through chocolate and having nothing to show, or not having a digital shopfront. How else could people buy our product?’

  • Business name: Lucocoa Chocolate
  • Sector: Food and Drink
  • Location: London
  • Business founded: 2015
  • Visit: lucocoachocolate.com

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