Startup manufacturing and cashflow problems, crowdfunding, and organic social with Frankly Delicious (episode 394)

Frank Laws is the director and owner of Frankly Delicious, artisan chocolate makers on a mission to change the world with Chocolate! Founded in 2018, re-launched in 2020 they sell on Shopify, run kickstarters, and last year hit £50k.

eCMP394 Landscape

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Frank’s Start in eCommerce

Frank started out in eCommerce while he was still attending university, selling baked goods to their university café and bar.

He eventually moved to selling chocolate bonbons and sent them out to local businesses around his area. Then in 2020, he started making chocolate bars from scratch, and that’s how Frankly Delicious came about.

Changing the World with Chocolate

It was in 2019 when a friend of Frank’s recommended that he watch the Netflix docuseries, Rotten. When he watched the episode titled “Bitter Chocolate”, and after doing research, Frank found that the supply chain operation was unethical, especially with the exploitation of cocoa farmers and employing child labor.

For his company, Frank sources his cocoa from a company in Belgium called the Silva Cacao, which shares his values when it comes to ensuring that farmers earn fair and living wages.

About Frankly Delicious

  • Based in Leeds, UK
  • Sells to the EU, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand

Right now, the team is composed of Frank and his boyfriend, who has a background in food production. They do everything themselves from production to marketing. However, they’re already looking into outsourcing some of the marketing work.

Getting on Kickstarter

One resource Frank lacks right now is finances. So he got on Kickstarter and was able to raise £20,000. They’ll be using the funds to purchase machinery which will allow them to make more chocolate and fulfill bigger orders.

Frank says they went the crowdfunding route instead of going to the bank for a loan because his experience with Kickstarter before was good and gave him confidence that this second one would work out as well.

A nice bonus of being on Kickstarter is getting new customers, Frank says. This is what happened with their first crowdfunding activity, and he still gets orders from people who discovered them at the time.

Making Organic Social Media Work

For Frank, social media is a great way to generate income, but you really have to be consistent.

Right now, the content he produces is mostly educational – from how chocolate is made and where it comes from, to the more serious issues surrounding chocolates such as child labor.

It’s also video content that works at the moment, and it’s the more personal ones that are resonating with their audience.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

Tool Top Tip

  • Klaviyo email marketing platform for their email marketing flows

Growth Top Tip

  • Build a community of repeat customers who engage with you. You don’t need a million followers. You only need a handful of dedicated and loyal ones so focus on the people who know and like you.

Interview Links

Related episodes

  • 382: Launching a luxury sustainable fashion brand with funding and a kickstarter! It’s VENIM
  • 385: Building a sustainable loungewear brand with PR and Community – it’s Krisha Kotak from Tula+Tye
  • 393 Story, content and partnerships for growth with James le Compte from To’ak Chocolate

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