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What it’s like to own a chocolate factory

Annys Kirkpatrick owns artisan confectionery firm Rowdy and Fancy’s Chocolate. 

I love chocolate and although I don’t think that’s an uncommon opinion, I think mine might go a bit above and beyond what is common.

Since childhood I have been fascinated by it, I think it peaked when I was about seven and my stepdad got a giant Toblerone as a present – and when I say giant I mean each piece was so big we needed a bread knife to cut a wedge off. I thought this was the coolest thing ever!

As a teen and young adult the idea of owning my own business, or indeed working in a job anything like what I do now was never something I thought of.

When the opportunity first came to take on a chocolate factory, via text while I had just booked a one-way ticket traveling, my immediate reaction was that it was too much responsibility. I am so glad I changed my mind!

 Rowdy And Fancy’s Chocolate

My very own chocolate factory

Six months later I flew home to a set of keys with ‘chocolate’ written on them and it’s been a whirlwind ever since.

The company was started by two wonderful women who shared the same passion and values I have, creating delicious chocolate bars using the highest quality ingredients with eye-catching and eco-friendly packaging.

A lot of my time is spent blissed out in the workshop, tempering big vats of chocolate and adding all the flavours before ladling the melted chocolate into the moulds, letting it set and hand wrapping each bar.

This is the part of my job I love the most, flavouring and creating the bars always seems to be a bit different each time and everything from the room temperature and humidity to what mood I’m in seems to have an effect.

I leave most evenings with inevitable chocolate smears all over me and it’s my favourite way to be.

Running a business

The other side of running my own business is interesting but less exciting. Balancing orders, accounts, hygiene and trading standards requirements, invoices, cleaning rotas, the ever-changing rules on packaging and all the other challenges that come with it.

My advice on this side of the business is to get as much help as you can from as many places as you can. Research, ask, listen write it all down for future reference.

Taking on a business or starting your own can be all-consuming and I am very lucky to have the support of my family and my mum in particular.

I love what I do and am grateful every day for that but there are still days when I want to throw it all in and get a job where I don’t have to make any decisions ever again.

I started out clueless and have had to learn as I go. Three years on and if I could go back and do it all again I would. It’s been a huge learning curve and I’m proud of what I’ve achieved and how far I and the business have come.

My advice to my past self or anyone interested in doing something similar is to go with your instinct, play to your strengths, find what you enjoy doing most and get help with the other stuff. Above all believe in yourself, anything is possible. 

To find out more about Rowdy and Fancy’s Chocolate, visit:



Bex Bastable
Bex Bastable
Bex is a journalist and the co-founder of The Women's Work Collective.


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