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Delicious  |  Life is Sweet  |  04 December 2014
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It's hard to imagine a job better than the one Jane Williams does, It involves chocolate - and lots of it...

In an unassuming building on an industrial estate in Gateshead, south of Newcastle, you'll find a team of six hard at work at The Chocolate Factory. Jane, now 36, launched the company, Davenport's Chocolates, in 2007 with the aim of creating quality chocolates in new and exciting flavours, such as Christmassy gingerbread, mulled wine and stollen.

"My obsession with chocolate was sparked as a child, when I spent two years in Switzerland and got a taste for the good stuff," says Jane.
"After we returned to England, I begged mum to buy me books and chocolate-making equipment, and spent days experimenting in the kitchen. I got a summer job at a family-run craft bakery and patisserie called Burgers of Marlow in Buckinghamshire, and it turned into seven years of invaluable training, working under Swiss master chocolatier Philippe Burger.
"After getting married, I moved away from Marlow and had to decide whether to find another job or start my own business. It felt like stepping off a cliff, but I knew that launching Davenport's was the right choice.

"Friends and family helped financially, and Philippe bequeathed me equipment to get the company off the ground - but our timing wasn't great. We set up in 2007, and the recession hit soon after - it was a trying time, but that made it even more rewarding when we did grow. My husband Michael is a designer and he's been a partner every step of the way. We've both worked so hard and with such purpose.

"Moving into our own premises was one of the most challenging moments. Refurbishment took six months longer than planned, by which time I was heavily pregnant. Those few months were a blur but Michael was amazing, project managing the refurb without much sleep. It was a huge feat but also a highlight being able to call The Chocolate Factory our own.

"Innovation is the best part of my job. I'm most proud of developing a rose and raspberry truffle, inspired by a specific variety of rose growing in my mother's garden. I want to maintain the craft of traditional fondant and enrobing (coating in chocolate) techniques, but I also want to experiment with flavours in an original way. I draw inspiration from the everyday or the changing seasons. When the amazing scent of chocolate fills the air, it makes any amount of paperwork worth it."

Write a proper business plan. You need to stay focused on what you want to do and how you're going to do it.

Know your aims. It's vital to do what you do well and with purpose.

Be prepared to learn fast. Get you head around all aspects of the business, not just the fun creative bits.

Davenports | creative artisan chocolates