I’ve recently been reading up about 3D printing. It has been around for years, mainly shaping resin or foam blocks into prototype shapes which are then assembled & finished by hand.
But in recent years the technology has come along quite dramatically & the printers will soon be able to manufacture the parts from a wide array & mixture of materials, creating shapes that wouldn’t be possible using traditional machining methods.
This will eventually allow the production of complex items such as say a car door with its metal outer skin, fabric lining, locking mechanism, radio speaker & other electronic components achievable by one machine.
The resulting process creates an impressive proposition for future manufacturing which will create widespread economic disruption.
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So, I’ve not talked chocolate bars for a while. It’s probably time I gave an update, so here it is!
I sold the remainder of my initial stock back in mid summer. As we were in the middle of a heatwave, I was starting to struggle to deliver chilled chocolate, but more importantly, the retailers who were stocking the bars were saying that I had to get the price down from the £0.75 shelf price to around the £0.55 of the competition.
So, I decided to pause sales & go back to the drawing board.
Grocery retailers apparently like to make 20% markup on everything they sell, which means to compete with the big boys I need to get the bar manufactured & distributed to the shops for around £0.40 (Inc VAT), so that they can then sell it on to you at £0.55.
In between the factory & the shopkeeper lies the wholesaler who also wants 20% which means that I need to make the bars for around £0.20.
Bearing in mind that I can currently manufacture 50,000 bars at a time for around £0.40 (that’s £20,000 worth of chocolate bars!) you can see that there is some way to go.
The other option is to sell a premium bar into high end shops, but that’s not really what the brand is all about.
So, what am I going to do? Well firstly, I’m going to get some bars back on the shelves, this time at the same price as a Dairy Milk bar. I’m going to see how that works, & then decide whether or not it warrants attempting to raise enough money to launch the bar on a larger scale, which is going to be necessary to get the price of manufacture down, so I can make a profit!
I’d be interested to hear if you would buy the bar for the same price as the other chocolate if you saw it on the shelf & didn’t know who I was or what the product was about? You can email me at email@example.com.
If it doesn’t make sense to expand it into a larger business, then I’ll have to see if I can make it a local brand, however as The chocolate bar business isn’t VAT registered, the increase to 20% next year is going to squeeze the margin.
You may also remember that I sponsored one of my old school pals on a rally to Mongolia. Well, they got there, & raised a good wadge of cash for charity too. See their exploits here:
Aside from chocolate, you may be aware that I run a series of other businesses. CooPe Design is my Architectural Design business & daily bread & butter. That’s going really well, & taking up most of my time.
I’ve moved into a proper office this summer in nearby Lichfield, & are doing lots of house extensions & also a few larger factory extensions & refurbishments. We’ve become local authority partners with East Staffs Borough Council building control in the last few months, which helps us to provide a really competitive & efficient service, which we hope is hard to beat!
We’ve also teamed up with a series of local design & construction companies who specialise in high end houses & mid size commercial developments, & are currently involved in a number of multi-million pound projects with them.
This means that we can & are now deal with any domestic project from a small kitchen extension to country mansions & warehouses or factories.
If you are considering undertaking some architectural works, we’d love the opportunity to take a look & give you a price!
Also, if you know of anyone else who’s thinking of building something, please pass on our contact & if they subsequently employ us, we’ll pay you a commission of £65 as a little thank you.
We also help companies find & evaluate the develop-ability of sites. We’re involved with getting a massive hotel chain into an iconic Burton building. The credit crunch has slowed things down, but keep your eyes peeled for developments in the coming months.
Aside from that, I also launched CooPe Host (www.coopehost.com) last month, which provides website hosting aimed at startup companies & community organisations.
Its currently only hosting 10 websites, but I’ve started a web promotion campaign this month, so its early days yet, to see whether it manages to grow.
Theres also another business which is currently being developed & should be launched before the end of the year. More about that some other time.
All of this has however taken its toll with repeated 60-70 hour weeks, providing a neglected girlfriend to boot (which is never good!).
It’s a great way to keep the weight down, however I’m sure a stomach ulcer is overdue, & so is a good holiday!
Anyway stay tuned, & thank you to everyone who wished me happy birthday last week (which I spent working!).
I’m now 25 (although I still look about 12, act like a 5 year old, & wake up feeling like 50!).
All the best
CooPe Great British Chocolate are sponsoring TeamTeamTeamTeam, who are taking part in the 2010 Mongol Rally.
For more information, visit their website – www.teamteamteamteam.com
This is the new CooPe Holdings website, launched today! We hope you like it.
For more information on our businesses, click on the “Businesses” tab to the right. Also, don’t forget to follow our founders Tweets on twitter, link also available on the right.