South East BIC client Bean & Goose in the news

Luxury chocolate firm Bean and Goose has raised €200,000 to help drive online sales, writes Trish Dromey.  

For Easter, Wexford company Bean and Goose has crafted a few thousand chocolate hares and geese eggs, in addition to a new digital marketing strategy geared towards developing online sales.

“It is difficult and expensive to compete with the big chocolate brands, following the traditional export route. Our plan is to connect to customers in Ireland and internationally, using our social media channels and a world-class website,” says company co-founder, Natalie Keane.  Specialising in luxury chocolate, selling to specialty food stores, gift and design shops, cafes and tourist outlets, the company grew its online sales, from just 2% of its total to 20% in 2018

This followed the launch of an upgraded website and a new digital marketing strategy at the end of the year.  Bean and Goose has now raised €200,000 for expansion and is planning to find a larger facility and launch a more-improved version of its website in the autumn, in time for Christmas, which accounts for two-thirds of its sales.

Half of this funding came from Enterprise Ireland, which identified Bean and Goose as a high potential start-up, or HPSU, in 2018.  Chocolate companies are quite rare to the HPSU programme, which is available to companies that have an international focus, are capable of creating 10 jobs, and of generating sales of €1m within three years.

Ms Keane and her sister, Karen Keane, set up the company in mid-2014, at the Last Tree Farm, in Ferns, Co Wexford. “Our aim was to create a luxury, craft chocolate brand that blends the best of Irish inspiration and ingredients with the world’s best single-origin chocolate,” says Natalie Keane

Best-selling products include an 80g dark chocolate bar, a 500g sharing slab of chocolate with a winter spice mix, and, at this time of the year, an Irish chocolate hare, a little different from generic Easter bunnies, and chocolate geese eggs filled with sea-salted caramel.

“We now sell to 120 stores around Ireland. These include Brown Thomas, Avoca, Fallon and Byrne, as well as gift and design shops, Dublin Airport, and cafes,” says Ms Keane.

Because it is luxury chocolate with a high price point, Bean and Goose does not sell to supermarkets.

The company has a small percentage of sales to the UK, where customers include Daylesford, a specialty food chain, as well as some independent stores.  Plans to develop sales in the UK have been put on hold because of Brexit, but Bean and Goose has identified France as a market with good potential.

“We have worked with a consultant in France, who has been meeting with suppliers, and we have sent samples of our chocolate. We plan to develop some sales there by the end of the year.”  The key focus is on developing a digital marketing campaign.

Source: Irish Examiner

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