All Things Chocolate
Having a low boredom threshold and approaching her middle years, Lindy Butcher decided that her busy teaching and volunteering schedule wasn’t enough, so she set about creating a business that was built around her three great loves – people, animals and chocolate.
Selling her hand crafted chocolates began as a hobby for Lindy. Made from the highest quality Belgian Callebaut chocolate, her creations soon drew crowds to her stalls at Canberra’s weekly Kingston Bus Depot and EPIC Farmers Markets. Each week, the same people came back to buy more chocolates—and bought their friends along. Soon, Lindy was selling out of chocolates before lunchtime.
She realised that if she wanted to keep up with demand, she would need a more sophisticated set up, so she ordered machinery from Belgium and set up a commercial kitchen in her purpose built home-based workshop.
Now with her own chocolate-making factory, Lindy could concentrate on producing chocolates on a larger scale, and offer a great selection of gourmet confections at a reasonable price. This was no longer a hobby, but a viable business—it was time for a new name and a new image for the company.
Lindy named the business Capital Chocolates, in recognition of her home in Canberra. As her business grew, Lindy became more passionate about the art of creating gourmet handmade chocolates of the highest quality. All her chocolates and baked products were, and still are, made using the best quality chocolate and authentic fruit, chocolate, nut and praline fillings, with no artificial colours, flavours or fillers. Lindy also began attending ‘chocolate school’ taught by world-renowned chocolatiers, and she quickly gained recognition for her creative chocolates, beautiful to the eye and palate.
Still not satisfied, Capital Chocolates then created a range of delicious, high-quality new products, one of her most successful being the chocolate bandaged wombat modelled on the logo of the RSPCA and provided exclusively to the organisation as a fundraising item.
The AussiePots product line kept up her animal theme and passion for native wildlife—the new varieties of Australian souvenir chocolates included Pot O’ Joeys (baby kangaroos and koalas), Pot O’ Platypus, and Pot O’ Puggles (baby echidnas). The AussiePots soared in popularity, and were finalists in the Queensland Momento Awards in 2003.
By 2006 it was time to expand the business to the next level. After months of searching for the perfect location, Lindy moved her business to a warm and cosy shopfront in Green Square, Kingston, christening the location, “All Things Chocolate.”
The name doesn’t lie—besides Lindy’s chocolates and sumptuous desserts, she also sells chocolate making equipment, gourmet dessert cookbooks, a selection of highly praised espresso coffees and hot chocolates. The shop also offers a fresh and inexpensive breakfast and lunch menu.
Having her own shop has also allowed Lindy to incorporate her other passion of helping people with disabilities. All Things Chocolate employs people with disabilities in meaningful roles - chocolate making, food preparation, barista duties and customer service.
Lindy explains, “My background is a science and maths teacher and behaviour specialist, so it comes as second nature to me. I have also been an employment officer for people with disabilities, where I learnt about the challenges of finding meaningful employment.
“Through an employment agency for people with disabilities, we found a staff member to maintain chocolate making equipment and to make fillings, a role that requires attention to detail and a steady hand for repetitive work.
“Proudly, this employee has been with the business for four years and does the most fabulous job.
We also employ several casual staff, most of whom have been with me since the shop opened two and half years ago. And at times, we have had as many as four staff from agencies for people with disabilities.”
The integrity with which she runs her business and her genuine commitment to others has seen her win the ACT Sensis Social Responsibility Award, in the 2007 Telstra Business Awards.
Lindy’s plea to other small business owners is to seriously consider what parts of your business can be carried out by a person with a disability. She advises them to choose a charity or worthwhile cause about which they are passionate or which is synchronous with their business.