5 Minutes with Oli Shorts, Chief Chocolatier, Seed and Bean

20th August 2018

So we caught up with WE Hub member, Oli, and asked him a few questions about Seed and Bean.

Tell me all about Seed and Bean

“Seed and Bean is a producer of excellent organic chocolate which we sell in this country and around the world as far afield as Australia and Japan.  We have 22 flavours in total, some of which are old favourites such as Rich Milk Chocolate and Hazelnut & Almond, and some of which are decidedly quirky, such as our English botanical flavours like Lavender and Orange & Thyme.  Our best sellers are Sea Salt and Coconut and Raspberry.  Our chocolate is all fairtrade, organic and vegan, and we have gone even further than that as we are now zero waste with a compostable inner foil.  The best bit about it of course is the taste.”

What brought you into this business?

“My early career was as an account manager with Ted Baker.  I really enjoyed this, and looking back, it taught me a lot about communication, client relationships and sales.  In 2013 Seed & Bean rebranded and since then sales have gone up and up so when an opportunity came up to quit Ted Baker and do this full time it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.  Pretty much the first thing I did when I took over was a massive rebrand, and I have not looked back since.  It really made all the difference.”

What’s the best bit about running your own business?

“The very best bit is the highs, that feeling when you win a great new deal, or when you are abroad on holiday and you see the product on sale.  There is an immense feeling of satisfaction, and also of great freedom as you are doing it all by yourself.”

And what’s the worst?

“It can be quite lonely.  Whilst I do have strong professional networks which I rely quite heavily on, at the end of the day, there is nobody else in your corner.  So those other networks do become even more important.”

Why do you like working at WE Hub?

“Given that I work alone in the business, it is really good to be able to relate to other people, especially those operating in a similar space.  Just like in my previous employed role, I still go out each morning to my work place and still have that structure and discipline.   My fellow WE Hub members have become my friends, and I do find myself leaning on them for advice and support sometimes.  I also love the vibrant and contemporary working space, which feels really good for productivity.”

What does the future hold?

“I have great aspirations for the business and am working on developing new markets and new business lines.  Within WE Hub, it would be great if the team were to grow and I was able to rent one of the dedicated serviced offices.  Let’s hope so!”