Turning her love of creating chocolates into a business made sense to Chloe Oswald, who set up Chocolatia during lockdown.
Working as a pastry chef and chocolatier at Gleneagles Hotel, Chloe decided to take matters into her own hands and started up her own chocolate business, Chocolatia, in her flat in Perth during the coronavirus pandemic.
The 25-year-old usually spends her free time creating and hand-painting chocolates and wanted to give herself something to work on.
She said: “I started Chocolatia during the second lockdown, the one just before Christmas, so November 2020.
“It was really because we’d had such a rubbish year, we were off for most of it on furlough.
“At the hotel I produce all the chocolate items. I had just made all the Easter eggs when we went into lockdown so I missed the big chocolate holiday and was feeling a bit deflated and unmotivated.
“We then had a mad few weeks where we all went back to work. That was very much a ‘heads down, let’s get everything back up and running’ time. We stripped everything back because what we had been doing before was too complex for what we could do.
“It was almost like we went into survival mode. Then we got locked down again and I was absolutely heartbroken because that was in the run-up to Christmas, which is also a big chocolate season.”
Chloe felt encouraged during her time in lockdown and aspired more deeply to start up her own venture.
She continued: “I’d spent the whole of summer watching chocolatiers on Instagram creating all these beautiful collections and I felt so stuck and sad that I couldn’t create anything. I then I thought I’m just going to go for it.
“Before lockdown hit I was actually meant to be going to Australia, and that was my big goal I had been working and saving towards for a year. I got my visa approved in March 2020 – the same month we got locked down.
“The first lockdown was really the first time I had ever slowed down. Being a chef, I thought the world was going to end if I stopped but I actually loved having the time to figure out what I wanted to do.”
Equipped with an idea and a plan, Chloe set about making her business a reality at the end of last year.
She added: “It’s such a daunting thing to put yourself out there as a chef.
“I wanted to make sure I had a website and had good pictures and to be sure I was using the best ingredients.
“Rather than a project to make money, this is a project for me to come into myself and purely to see what I could do from a tiny flat kitchen!
“I’d done a few test batches for friends in my house then looked at some moulds and some packaging then just flung myself into it. I also threw all my Australia savings into it.”
Now back at work, Chloe is managing her chocolate business on the side, with the hope she can spend more time on it in the future.
She said: “I hope soon I can prop it up and go part-time, then, in the future, the chocolate business will be my main income.
“Just having that freedom to create what I want and for people to really love it makes me never want to look back. There’s nothing else I think I want to do.
“Right now I am making the chocolate either really early in the morning before work, or continuing into the night when I get home. It’s been a juggle but I know it’s not forever.”
The name of the business has a meaning of its own too, with homage being paid to Chloe’s occupation as a chocolatier, but also a nod to her family’s heritage.
She added: “My middle name is Tia, which is from my granny’s side of the family who is Danish.
“She was always so proud of her Danish heritage, which I am also so proud of, so I kind of wanted a nod to that.
“Chocolatia works too as it sounds like chocolatier but I think it’s also quite memorable.”
Chloe recently launched a collection of chocolate-covered honeycomb in association with the Scottish Bee Company. Pricing and information her other products can be found on her website.