Supplier Spotlight - Willies Cacao 0
This week we’re taking a closer look at our supplier Willies Cacao. Not just beautiful packaging – the story behind the company is quite something too!
Willie’s dream of making the world’s best chocolate was born on his cacao farm, Hacienda El Tesoro, high in the Cloud Forest in Venezuela, where he has farmed cacao for 20 years. His often dramatic journey from his farm to setting up the factory from scratch, was followed in two Channel 4 television documentary series that have been followed up by 2 books. He continues to experiment with all things chocolate, making everything imaginable from Cacao Nib brandy, to Mexican Mole to the best single estate hot chocolate. Willie spends weeks every year, deep in the jungle visiting farmers on a quest for new beans.
Years of experience growing cacao means Willie buys the best single estate beans direct from farmers; he works with them on how they ferment etc. Making chocolate from the bean means the ability to choose not to use soya lecithin or too much cocoa butter, even though it makes production slower. It means making every batch “to taste”.
We roast in small 250 kg batches in antique ball roasters. We grind and conch for up to 21 days vs large manufacturers at a few hours at higher temperatures. The tempering, depositing and cooling is very high tech to get perfectly shiny tempered bars.
We use only the world’s great single estate cacaos that we buy direct from the farmers. We make everything ourselves from ‘bean to bar’ in small batches, taking over 100 times longer than industrial chocolates and using 100% natural ingredients.
*100% natural ingredients raw cane sugar, natural cocoa butter
*Everything made from scratch, not just the chocolate – for example we roast and grind our own nuts
* Nothing artificial - no processing aids, emulsifiers / soya lecithin, maltodextrin
* All cacaos are chemical free, all are tested - some certified organic. Organic fruit essences
*Direct trade, higher standard than fair trade. Willie himself is a cacao farmer & buys direct from farmers at a premium a minimum of 3 times higher than fair trade
* Find Willies Cacao (made just 15 minutes away from IzzyBee HQ in Devon!) in a variety of IzzyBee gift hampers.
- Katherine Worden
Supplier Spotlight - Brazier Coffee 0
In this series of blog posts on our fabulous suppliers - this time we're taking a closer look at our coffee supplier Brazier. Located just a 5 minute walk from IzzyBee HQ - we can often smell the amazing aroma of coffee being roasted while stood at the office door!
How did Brazier begin?
Our coffee story began on a hot afternoon in the dusty centre of Australia. Drinking fabulous coffee in the middle of the outback we talked of how there was nothing similar in our corner of England, and decided to do something about it. After much tasting and talking and more coffee tasting, along with training with some of the best roasters in Australia, we bought our own Giesen roaster and set up our tin-shed roastery in the Somerset countryside.
And how has Braziers developed?
Several years later and Brazier now roast coffee for wholesale customers both locally, across county borders and as far as London. We've expanded into larger premises in the historic Fox's Tonedale Mill site and have opened the roastery to the public - we want to tell people the story of great coffee and what better way than to invite them in and watch the roasting process in action, followed by drinking the freshly roasted stuff. We love to chat to coffee drinkers, experienced and newbies alike, and are always happy to chat about the best way to drink our coffee at home.
We believe in an ongoing process of discovery, to produce ever new and ever more delicious coffee drinks. This voyage of discovery begins with the real voyage to the coffee producing country of origin. We're interested in what coffee producers have to teach us about how they work with specific coffee, micro climates and processing methods. It's clear to us that the purchasing decisions we make have a profound impact on the lives of farmers and their communities and we're committed to growing strong sustainable relationships. The people who grew the coffee are just as important to us, which is why we pay a premium for speciality grade coffee - the farmers who worked hard to grow the best-tasting coffee on the market, deserve to be paid well for it.
*Brazier coffee can be found in a selection of IzzyBee care packages
- Katherine Worden
Supplier Spotlight - Bloomtown 0
In this series of articles on our suppliers – this week we’re looking a little further into the wonderful story behind Cornwall based company Bloomtown.
Preyanka Clark Prakash and Medwin Culmer founded Bloomtown in 2016 after spending two years in Indonesia and witnessing first-hand the loss of virgin forest that is home to endangered orangutans, tigers and so much of the world's biodiversity.
They decided it would be their mission to create a 100% palm oil-free body & skincare company offering concerned consumers truly ethical & cruelty-free alternatives.
Bloomtown's multi-award-winning products are beautifully scented, expertly formulated and lovingly hand-crafted in gorgeous Cornwall. We're especially proud to formulate all of our products from scratch without parabens, sulphates, SLSs or other nasties!
Bloomtown proudly donates 10% of its profits to environmental & social causes, and were also the UK's 1st independently certified palm oil-free company.
IzzyBee are proud to work alongside Preyanka and Medwin – and our customers ADORE their award winning range of beautiful products.
- Katherine Worden
Corporate Gifting Tips 0
In the last year, IzzyBee Corporate Gifting has grown hugely. While our initial focus was on individual acts of gifting – larger corporations have seen the appeal and personableness of such thoughtful and unique gifting ideas. We can help any size of organisation to curate a gift, that is sent with heartfelt consideration, to put across your company message. Whether that be for employees or for much valued clients. We offer company branding to cards – and even to the front of boxes for a really memorable gift.
After being approached by several large companies to assist with their corporate gifting, and successfully filling each brief, we thought a little corporate gifting 101 would be a useful feature on our blog this month.
- Why gift to clients?
A business gift can be good for your business. Many businesses feel that corporate gifting is an effective way to express their appreciation to valued clients. It can also help to get across the correct message about your company. In short it can help with strengthening relationships.
- Why gift to employees?
When it comes to employee incentives – it can really boost staff morale – which in turn leads to increased productivity, staff loyalty and, just as importantly, a happy and healthy working environment. To get the best out of your staff the most successful businesses know that time and effort must be put in to ensure everyone feels valued and acknowledged.
Gift giving on special events – whether that be on a personal level or business – can help strengthen employee – employer relations. Quality staff can be hard (and expensive!) to find – so it seems a no-brainer to make sure they stay happy and motivated. Word spreads quickly about employers who really look after their staff – make sure your organisation has such a great reputation!
- When should I gift?
Traditionally people tend to think of December as ‘gifting season’ and while that is often the case, as it can round off the year nicely and re-affirm how valued business and employee relationships are, it is not the only time to use corporate gifting.
Don’t forget that gifting at other times of the year can help your business to stand out from the crowd, especially if it ties in with special events such as a new baby, special milestone – or to celebrate a particular achievement.
Of course – it is always important to carefully consider the timing and size of gift to ensure that there is no reason to question your motive. It would also be wise to check that there is no policy that would affect your business relationship in a negative way.
- What gift should we choose?
Quality – this conveys the correct message about your organisation and the value you hold over your clients or staff members.
Thoughtful – communicating that your organisation is professional, sincere and that you recognise that person as valuable.
On Brand – keeping your company in mind, while reinforcing why your employees or valued clients should reciprocate loyalty to you. Aspire to be the preferred place of employment or go-to company.
Investing in a thoughtful, quality gift from IzzyBee can really boost your business. To find out more about how we can help your organisation – or to see testimonials from past and current clients – use our contact page. We will be pleased to chat about how we can help, without obligation.
- Katherine Worden
Supplier Spotlight - Made By Coopers 0
In a series of blog pieces this year, we thought we’d shine a light on some of our fantastic suppliers – as these small businesses really are a joy to work with. This time we’re taking a closer look at how Made By Coopers started, who supply the extremely popular Vanilla Rose bath salts in our Mama Mini, Relax and Thinking of You letterbox care packages.
After working in the beauty industry for 18 years – founder Clare Cooper started to question the ingredients in her products and began gaining knowledge about more natural ingredients.
On a three month trip travelling around India - Clare and her partner Darren spent time at an Ayurvedic retreat in Kerala, learning all about the power of plants and natural healing, as well as lots of yoga, meditation, and early five a.m. chanting ceremonies!
It was at this retreat, they got to see first hand the plants and herbs transformed into oils used for treatments. To experience how the aromas from the oils made them feel during their own massages and affect their wellbeing in a positive way, was a life changing experience. Following this powerful experience, the idea was formed to start a range of natural products, infused with essential oils, with the focus on emotional wellbeing. After a long time spent studying, testing and blending, Made By Coopers was born.
Believing that what you put on the skin and what you breathe in should be as important as what you put in your body; therefore they only use natural, organic and clean ingredients to create our artisan line of beauty and wellness products. Drawing from the Ayurvedic philosophy to treat the body as a whole, they believe to nourish the skin, nourish the mind.
All products are always 100% free from: Parabens, SLS’s, Mineral oil, Palm oil, Sulfates, Artificial colours and Synthetic fragrances. They are also vegan friendly and cruelty-free.
Now based in Sussex, all products are designed, formulated, hand blended and labelled by the small team at Made by Coopers.
Have you tried their range of Bath Salts? Share with us below how much you’ve enjoyed trying out this natural range of products.
- Katherine Worden
Supplier Spotlight - Creightons Chocolaterie 0
In a series of blog pieces this year, we thought we’d shine a light on some of our fantastic suppliers – as these small businesses really are a joy to work with.
One of our three suppliers of chocolate is mother/daughter partnership , Andrea Huntington and Lucy Elliott (known to you are Creightons Chocolaterie!)
Founded in 2011 – they bring together a brilliant combination of humour, beautiful packaging, delicious flavours – and all designed, handcrafted and wrapped by an all-female team in the UK.
Their collections change seasonally, much like a fashion brand, with limited edition flavours and designs appearing amongst their year-round range. Every aspect of their products is designed in-house, from concept to creation, and produced by hand in small batches.
IzzyBee have been stockists of Creightons since our launch in January 2017 – and we often receive glowing reports on their chocolate (our personal favourite is the Custard Cream bar)
We offer a selection of their delicious goodies – with three different flavours of core bars within a variety of our larger boxes, the Mr Moustache lolly in the kids boxes, and their HUGE heart lollies in our Get Well Soon, Chocolate Box, Choco Mini and Love in the Post boxes.
Which of their range is your personal favourite? Or which new flavours would you like to see added to our existing range?
- Katherine Worden