The creation of Ethicoco was not an easy task. Lyndon began his entrepreneur journey with no external funding, and had to sustain his initial vision with a bit of savings and a credit card while working on his culinary creations from his home kitchen. Even so, he was sure that Ethicoco and his craft was worth every dime and effort -- all due to a personal reason.
When Lyndon discovered that his baby daughter suffers from nut and dairy allergy, he was dissatisfied that there were not a lot of choices for her. “Christmases and Easters came along, everything that was offered in the market was unsatisfying. The kids’ dairy-free offerings were revolting and poorly packaged, while the grown-ups’ dark chocolates were not exciting for a child.” Not wanting his child to miss out on the sweet treats, he was motivated to create a variety of vegan dairy-free chocolate that does not compromise on their flavour.
Now, Ethicoco has grown into a micro factory and still holds firm to its belief of ‘Ethical without Compromise’. Ethicoco prides itself on being able show others the true form of chocolate making and the ‘dark side of mass-produced bars’. It is with this consciousness that Lyndon sources his base ingredients, and only buys from ethical traders that guarantee no child slavery and offer decent prices for their growers - GM free, no chemical nasties, and 100% recyclable packaging.
We managed to ask Lyndon a few questions on his motivations:
What led you to start this business?
Originally I had discovered my daughter had a dairy allergy, although chocolate was not on the radar early on, as she got older and Christmases and Easters came along, everything was unsatisfying. The kids dairy free stuff was revolting and poorly packaged, the adult dark chocolates were not exciting for a child. I ended up having fun remoulding dark chocolates into eggs we would decorate etc and it all grew from there, eventually I ended up finding out how you can make your own chocolate and I started experimenting with roasting cocoa beans and looking at what ingredients would make a delicious alternative to milk, after that it all sort of started falling into place and before I knew it I was starting a business.
What are some of your highlights or challenges since starting your business?
I originally started the business with no external funding, just a little bit of savings and a credit card, working in my tiny home kitchen. Growing from that to the micro factory I have today has required obviously funnelling a lot of the profits back into the business and really keeping that belt pulled tight at home, but the sacrifices have totally been worth it when looking at the growth of the business and what I've been able to achieve so far.
What are your hopes for your business in the future?
I want to keep growing, be stocked in more shops, one day I'd love to have my own high street factory I can sell directly from, I think that would be an amazing way to show people how chocolate is made, and give great opportunities to talk about the dark side of mass produced bars.
What do you appreciate the most about being an entrepreneur in the UK?
The UK government for all its faults tends to be fairly supportive of both small businesses and generally single parents, so I've been able to work on my business without worrying too much that I will miss my rent payments if I have a slow month. Running a business is stressful enough without having to worry about running the home too!
Has there been anything that you have learnt since being in the chocolate industry?
I try not to focus too much on the negative side of chocolate, but I would urge everyone to spend a little time online looking up just how much slavery, child abuse, deforestation and wage abuse there is with their favourite high street brands. There is definitely a choice out there for consumers, even though you'll have to pay more for it, I think it's worth it.
Thank you, Ethicoco!
The Local Collective
Our story-telling platform to tell the philosophies of local businesses all around the United Kingdom.