LITTLE more than a year ago, Sarah Finlay was graduating in geography from the University of Glasgow.
Now she is navigating her way along an entirely different learning curve, having decided to become a chocolate-maker.
The Cumbernauld-based young entrepreneur wasn’t entirely new to either chocolate making or commerce when she decided to launch Miss COCO.
In the final year of her geography degree, the 24 year-old attended a business training course, titled Encouraging Dynamic Global Enterprise (EDGE). This inspired her to attend a day seminar on the art of chocolate making and fulfil her dream to launch her own chocolate brand.
“I have basically just taught myself chocolate-making, and probably have bought every book there is going on the subject,” she begins. “I’d say geography is quite an open subject, for people with an outgoing nature and certainly I would describe that of my own.”
Miss Finlay, who was crowned Miss Earth Scotland 2009, has spent the last 12 months as an ambassador promoting environmental awareness for a clean, natural and healthy environment. Her experiences, she says, have played an instrumental role in helping her define her Miss COCO chocolate brand.
“As Miss Earth Scotland, I’ve been taken to places that I would never have otherwise been able to visit and I’ve tried to infuse some of that glamour and sparkle in my chocolates. I use different-coloured chocolate and edible glitter to decorate my chocolates.
“There are also over 20 luxury varieties to choose from which are guaranteed to delight even the most ardent chocolate fans!”
Sarah is the latest recipient of the BT Scotland Young E-ntrepreneurs awards scheme. The scheme is focused on encouraging young people to use e-commerce to boost their start-up companies.
Through the scheme, which is now in its tenth year, BT Scotland has invested more than £440,000 in supporting new Scottish businesses.
“I think the important thing about running a website is keeping it updated so people have more than one reason to visit it on a regular basis. I write a blog and am in the process of adding recipes,” she continued.
“It’s all part of developing brand awareness and what’s happening more and more is that I am coming across people who have already heard of Miss COCO and that has to be a good thing for business.
“I started last December but only really got going in March and while sales were initially a bit slow, they have started to really pick up and the increasing brand awareness can only help increase my sales further.”
Congratulating Miss Finlay, Brendan Dick, director at BT Scotland, said: “Sarah’s success with Miss COCO shows how effective an online presence, whether it is a website, an online shop or a blog site, can be in transforming a fledgling business into a recognisable brand.
“We’re sure Sarah will cause a ripple in the Scottish chocolatier community, and we all the best for the future success of her business.”
Miss COCO chocolates are available to buy online at www.misscoco.co.uk. They are also available in selected boutiques throughout Glasgow and for weddings, events and corporate clients.
Issued by Jen Nash of Panache Communications, Tel. no: 07971 466 220, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information contact the BT Scotland press office: 0800 0850 660 or Margaret Gibson and Emma Fitzpatrick of PSYBT on 0141 248 4999. You can also check out the PSYBT website at www.psybt.org.uk.
Notes for editors:
Contact Miss COCO on 01236 737 554. Visit www.misscoco.co.uk
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Contact: Jen Nash