Meet The Health Food-Preneur Changing The Way You Eat Chocolate.
Working in the food and health industry has given me the opportunity to meet so many like-minded, driven individuals. When I see a health foodie company going from tiny to HUGE in a short time, I want to help them share their story.
The Raw Chocolate Company are one of those special few .
Raw Swedish Roots.
The Raw Chocolate Company was founded by Linus Gorpe, a Swedish born, 41-year-old cacao lover. Of course. Linus Gorpe, ( who is actually half Swedish half Norwegian) moved to Sussex, in the UK at the young age of 20. After graduating from the Steiner Waldorf School.
He’s never left.
Linus’ entrepreneurial nature meant a few interesting business ventures were tested out in the early days, prior to his chocolate business. These included; ‘Being a tree surgeon, a property development business and child minding.’ All random, but also, all areas that reflect his passions and beliefs.
‘To promote and preserve nature and purity throughout everything he does.’
How did he end up in the Chocolate Industry?
He says; ‘Well, to be honest, I pretty much had to. I had been playing around with chocolate for a while, I made some chocolates and would give them to people, or sell them at school fairs. More and more people said, “You really should sell these” and then a shop said, “We really want to sell these”.’
From there, it was obvious there was a real market for his product, one that already loved what he did.
As the product was already continuously being developed, his next step was to invest in packaging and branding. Personally, my fave bit of building a new business.
Linus agrees too; ‘It was scary, but exciting too! My whole house turned into a chocolate factory!’ Really not a bad place to be- Ay guys?
Chocolate isn’t tricky business.
Linus’ first goal was to sell chocolate in an actual shop. He pretty much smashed that hurdle without trying.
His next was to, ‘learn how to do everything!’
I can relate, when you’re a one man ( or woman) band it’s the only way to keep costs down until you can afford outsourcing. Luckily, he quickly developed a team of helpers who all brought their own individual skills.
‘We asked for help and advice and got stuck in. It was fun!’
Who was going to buy the chocolate?
Deciding on a market can be tricky for some businesses. Too wide, then the market is over saturated, too market driven and you become a slave to the trends. Linus just put his chocolate out there and monitored his buyers behaviours.
‘We didn’t really choose the market, it chose us’
All he wanted was to make pure, clean, organic chocolate that made others feel good. He’s happy, that that’s exactly what it does, and the people buying it seem to have the same values as him.
Plans never pan out in business…
Like me, Linus agrees, that in life, ‘most things don’t go to plan and that it’s best to have intentions and flexibility and make your own furrows.’
Baring that in mind, I wanted to know what his first business hurdle really was. ‘So far, the main hurdle has been with trying to make products that are on the cutting edge of nutrition for new palettes.
We have used some rare and unknown ingredients to achieve the flavours and textures we wanted over the years, and when the EU introduced it’s ‘Novel Food Legislation’ we had to massively revise our recipes.’ That meant putting his beloved ‘Vanofee bar’ (think smooth creamy, but dairy free vanilla toffee flavour chocolate) through seven recipe changes. He says it’s now better than ever ( I can vouch for that!)
Asking for help is essential for smoother success
As a startup business owner myself, I rely on the help and advice from others to keep moving forward and learn what works, what doesn’t work and sometimes, just to see things more clearly, without becoming overwhelmed.
The Raw Chocolate Company wouldn’t be here, without having as much help as they could possibly get, either. Linus says, ‘I have had lots of help and I always ask for it, even from our competitors.
I strongly advocate asking for advice from anyone and everyone! Sharing our joint expertise and experience is the future.
I’ve had to learn nearly everything from scratch. I did not know how to run a business or how even to make chocolate, I just knew that is what I wanted to do.’ We both believe it’s the case for all successful startups. Learning from people you admire, is the best way to buld a business. Passing that advice on is even more rewarding.
Plans for the future?
Simply; ‘To be the best we can possibly be. The world is our oyster and we can move in any direction we wish. We will solidify our base and expand into some new exciting areas. We have lots of ideas and new recipes. Some will work, some will not, it will be exciting to find out where we are in ten years time.’
This guy is my saviour.
On the Spot:
Q: Being a chocolate-preneur, what’s the HARDEST part of your day?
A: A man after my own heart, ‘not eating all the chocolate! Hahahaha’ In seriousness though, he says managing his team and striving to be a good leader. What’s important to Linus, is doing the stuff he enjoys and delegating the rest. Sounds like a great equilibrium to me. It helps, that he has a fantastic team that he trusts to do an excellent job.
Q: Do you think staying ‘ on trend’ and up to date is essential in your market?
Can you guess the answer?
A:Obviously not. Staying true to what he does is the only trend he needs to follow. His biggest piece of advice:
‘The key to staying on top of everything is to not try to stay on top of everything, but to realise there is no ‘top’, and that ‘everything’ is not controllable. Stay relaxed, keep open to change and be flexible.’
‘Our mission is just to make wonderful tasty, pure raw chocolate and to keep trying and trying until everyone has tried it and enjoys it. We want to create chocolate goodies that everyone can enjoy, that is our passion and mission.’
Q: As a fellow health foodie entrepreneur, I find, in our world, it’s often the case that we do so much to help other people be healthier, it’s easy to neglect ourselves, isn’t it?
A: It is, and it is one of the major trends in modern times. But if we are not at our peak, how can we be helpful to others? How can we make amazing chocolate? Looking after ourselves, physically, nutritionally and spiritually is of paramount importance.
Q: Do you, as a health foodie actually manage to stay healthy yourself? How?
A: I eat a mainly raw, vegan, diet, with a wide variety of nutrients. I meditate, do yoga and exercise daily. For many years I was a real night owl, staying up late, watching films and waking late, sometimes after noon. Now, I go to bed between 21.00 and 22.00, enjoy a lovely sleep, wake up with the sun and get outside to enjoy nature for two hours where I meet up with friends and have a dip in my local stream, before heading back for breakfast. Sometimes I fit in a run and I always enjoy what nature has to offer every morning.
I also go to personal development workshops 4 – 5 times a year to help me with my ability to stay more present in any situation.
Q: What does your day look like food & exercise wise?
4.45am wake up.
5am 500ml of lukewarm water with fresh lemon juice.
5.15 go for a walk for 25 minutes.
5.40 Wim Hof breathing and yoga exercises.
6.40 cold water immersion in a stream in the forest for about 7 minutes.
6.55 jogging or walking for 20 minutes.
7.20 make breakfast and lunch interwoven with 5 x reps of 10 pushups and 5 x reps of 4 pullups.
Breakfast: Spinach, lettuce, parsley, cucumber, celery, sprouted mung beans, alfalfa sprouts, avocado, blueberries and coconut yogurt.
10.30 another 500ml water with activated charcoal stirred in this time.
Lunch: Spinach, lettuce, parsley, cucumber, celery, sprouted mung beans, alfalfa sprouts, avocado, activated tamari seasoned sunflower and pumpkin seeds, almond butter olive oil and lemon juice dressing with a pinch of salt.
Snack: Raw chocolate company chocolates (it’s true!!! Still after 11 years).
15.50 400ml of water.
17.20 400ml of water.
Same as lunch maybe just presented differently and the veg cut differently.
20.00 go for a walk in nature 25 min.
21.00 go to bed. Lie on my Shakti mat for 15 minutes focussing on my breath and on what is happening in my body.
Q:What are your top food essentials for any busy person’s kitchen?
A:Raw Chocolate, Plant based proteins, Cacao powder, cold pressed fats (like cacao butter, coconut oil and olive oil), plenty of fresh greens. A juicer and a top notch blender.
Q: Your choc would be perfect for my customers at Low Fodmap Travel – is it all Fodmap Friendly ?
A creative, raw food, Yoga loving, forest living, balanced entrepreneur. Linus is quite simply a chocolate making genius. This guy has a very calming, interesting charisma and view on life and business. I can’t help but want to know more. Maybe he’ll let me come and explore his forest hidden chocolate factory?
Chocolate Yoga retreat anyone?
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions Linus, I will continue to follow your inspirational journey on Instagram. Keep in touch!
You can check out The Raw Chocolate Company & all their amazing snacks and chocolate bars at: therawchocolatecompany.com Twitter: @TheRawChocCo Instagram: @therawchocolatecompany Facebook: The Raw Chocolate Company