It’s time for a Behind the Biz interview. I love sharing this series with you. I hope that it gives you inspiration and the chance to discover new and exciting brands. Today is all about dairy free chocolate.
In today’s interview I’m chatting with Meg Haggar, the founder of Raw Halo.
Please tell us about your business.
I founded Raw Halo in 2015. We produce a range of award winning raw chocolate bars that is free from dairy, gluten, and contains no refined sugar – we opt for a healthier coconut sugar to sweeten naturally. Our range of bars are available in 35g, and also new 70g sharing bars. In 2015 my partner Jonathan joined the business to help me grow it. Today our chocolate is stocked in over 300 stockists and 20 countries worldwide.
Where did the inspiration for Raw Halo come from?
In 2013 I decided to give up refined sugars. This took a lot of willpower, as I’d recently also turned to a vegan diet, which meant no more of my absolute favourite treat being milk chocolate. I was soon disappointed with the healthier milk chocolate alternatives I found in my local stores. After learning how to make chocolate and treating my friends and family to batch after batch of homemade chocolates, I soon decided to take the plunge and launch my own business.
How did you decide upon the name of your business?
I actually didn’t have a name for the business until I’d fully decided on exactly what my range of products would be – and that kind of lead me to the name. “Raw” because all our chocolate would be made using unroasted cacao, and “Halo” as our products would always be guilt free.
What did you do before starting Raw Halo?
Before starting Raw Halo I was working in the world of corporate HR. I’d been working in London for around 3 years, firstly at the London Business School, and then at GSK. Whilst I really enjoyed learning and working in such fast paced organisations, my heart was elsewhere and the desire to run my own business grew.
Did you always plan to set up your own business?
Not at all. The thought of owning my own chocolate business seemed like a crazy dream that I’d never see come true. After months of planning, everything fell into place and since then there’s been no looking back.
What has been the biggest challenge in running your business so far?
The majority of challenges in the first couple of years of the business were around production, in that scaling from a few hundred bars to 20,000 per month was a huge challenge. To scale up so quickly required investment, and that’s where we turned to crowd funding to help take the business to the next level.
What has been the highlight of your business journey to date?
The proudest moment was to see Raw Halo becoming stocked in Whole Foods Market. Visiting their flagship store on Kensington High Street was always my favourite way to spend a weekend, so to see a huge display of our chocolate bars on display during my last visit was a true highlight.
What role does social media play for your business and do you have a favourite social platform?
Social media is incredibly important to our business. We have so much to shout about on a daily basis, so it’s great that we can have an instant communication channel with our followers. My favourite platform is Instagram, and that’s purely because it’s so visual. It lends itself to our brand and products so well. Over the past couple of years I might have become a little obsessive about how our Instagram feed looks, but I’m sure I’m not the only one…
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Do your research. Take time to understand the market and your potential competitors and ensure you launch a product which has a point of difference and an audience ready to purchase. I see a lot of companies who struggle on with products which just aren’t working. So it’s definitely crucial getting this right from the start.
Where do you hope to take your business in the year ahead?
Next year holds a lot of potential for Raw Halo. We’re launching into our first supermarket in the coming months, and we’re working hard to ensure more follow in the new year. We also plan on launching new products in 2018, so it’s an incredibly exciting time for the business.
Thank you to Meg for taking the time to be a part of Behind the Biz. I was delighted to have the chance to interview her. I’ve been a big fan of Raw Halo ever since I had to go dairy free. I love picking up a bar as a treat every now and then and I can confirm that it’s delicious chocolate. Keep an eye out for a full review later this week.
I hope you enjoyed hearing about Meg’s business journey and that it’s given you a little inspiration. Meg offers wise words for aspiring entrepreneurs – research the market you hope to enter and find out if there’s a real need for your product.
I can’t wait to see what’s next for Raw Halo and I look forward to seeing the business grow in the year ahead.
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