My Life’s Work | Chantal Coady OBE, Founder & Creative Director, Rococo Chocolates

In this weekly series, we meet a Walpole member chief executive to discover what makes them tick, how they define success, and what keeps them awake at night. This week, to coincide with Chocolate Week, Chantal Coady OBE, Founder of Rococo Chocolates – a Brand of Tomorrow in 2010.

Art school graduate Chantal Coady founded the British brand Rococo Chocolates in 1983. Chantal has been pivotal in transforming the UK chocolate scene, weaning people away from sugary confectionery to single estate dark chocolates, and from cliché “chocolate box” to beautiful design.

Rococo works with the Grenada Chocolate Company: the world’s first “Farm to Bar” craft chocolate maker. This radical business produces finished organic chocolate bars (rather than selling cocoa beans), keeping all the value in the local economy. The benefits to cocoa farmers and rural communities far exceed the Fair Trade model.

Rococo has five stores, and a long B2B client list.

WHAT DOES BRITISH LUXURY MEAN TO YOU?

Enduring classics, beautifully made by generations of skilled craftsmen.

WHAT’S YOUR VISION FOR ROCOCO CHOCOLATES?

To be recognised as one of the world’s finest chocolate makers.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?

Personally, I am proud to have brought up two babies to adulthood with no major mishaps – they are great young adults who are embracing what the world is throwing their way. Professionally, it has to be having a special category created for me in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for “Services to Chocolate Making”.

HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS?

Achieving what you set out to do with a gentle touch, and bringing joy to the people around you. For me money has not been a big motivating factor.

WHAT’S YOUR GREATEST EXTRAVAGANCE?

Good food and wine.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?

I love the design side and creating new flavours – we are about to launch our Exmoor Caviar chocolate. I also love meeting other chocolate makers from around the world.

LEAST?

I hate bureaucracy, small print and heat waves.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST REGRET?

A hard question, I try not to have regrets. Not learning to read music, due to my dyslexic tendencies.

WHAT’S THE SMARTEST BUSINESS IDEA YOU HAVE EVER HAD?

Working with the Grenada Chocolate Company and buying cocoa land so that they could increases their supply of organic cocoa.

WHAT WAS YOUR BIG BREAK?

Our first British Airways contract back in 1997, which coincided with the birth of my son.

WHAT IS YOUR GUIDING PRINCIPLE?

Trusting people and trying to create as much happiness as possible.

WHICH LIVING PERSON DO YOU MOST ADMIRE?

The Dalai Lama.

WHICH WORDS OR PHRASES DO YOU MOST OVERUSE?

“So, I heard this really interesting thing on the World Service the other night…”

WHAT KEEPS YOU AWAKE AT NIGHT?

The state of our world in terms of Man’s inhumanity to Man, and the damage that we are doing to our planet.

WHAT DO YOU MOST VALUE IN YOUR FRIENDS?

Being unstinting in their support and making time to spend “hanging out” together.

IN A PARALLEL LIFE, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING?

Playing guitar as part of a Flamenco troupe.

WHAT PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE ENTERING THE LUXURY INDUSTRY NOW?

Be brave, be very clear about what you are doing, and where you are going to. Get as much advice, support and mentoring as you can, and the right investor might be very helpful. Stay focused on your goal.

Find out more: www.rococochocolates.com