25 November 2018

Interview: Oliver & Lorna from Ministry of Fudge

During the autumn the lovely team behind Ministry of Fudge got in touch about their budding business over in Christchurch, Dorset & as a supporter of small businesses in Dorset was only too happy to interview Oliver & Lorna for the blog. & I'm delighted to offer readers a special discount...but you have to read on to find out more!

Q1. Tell us about Ministry of Fudge. When did you start the business, what was the reason behind starting up & why fudge?

Ministry of Fudge was born in April 2017 by just the two of us: Oliver (24) & Lorna (23). Oliver was a Manager for a renowned organic farm & Lorna was an Insurance Advisor in Bournemouth. We both felt our opportunities & progression was few & far between moving forward, for the skill set we believed we both had.

So, we made the brave decision to leave our jobs & try & start a new exciting lifestyle for ourselves. Lorna loved baking, with one of her earliest memories making cakes with her mum (Gisele) on the weekends. We sat down for hours, days & nights trying to think of an idea, & kept coming back to fudge. Lorna could make it & she definitely loved eating it!!

Q2. How did you come up with the name, it’s pretty funky?
The name came pretty instantly & we loved the ring to it. We wanted to create our own ministry of customers who love our product & support our ethos.

Q3. Tell us about the fudge range. What are the flavours, sizes, price points?
We pride ourselves on 3 things:
1.       Being completely different from other fudge companies.
2.       Having great customer service.
3.       Being gluten free & everything being completely natural.

We have a big range of flavours, with many that only we make in the fudge world:
  • Baileys
  • Chocolate
  • Christmas Cake
  • Clotted Cream
  • Coffee
  • Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt
  • Elderflower & Raspberry Gin
  • Ginger & Cranberry
  • Gingerbread
  • Honeycomb
  • Mince Pie
  • Nutella
  • Peanut Butter
  • Rhubarb Gin
  • Rum & Raisin
  • Salted Caramel
  • Spiced Orange Gin
  • Tablet
  • Toffee Vodka
Prices really vary we sell gift jars at £13.95, gift boxes £12.95 or gift bags £5.99.

Q4. What’s your favourite flavour of fudge?
Oliver: My favourite flavour has to be Toffee Vodka fudge. Loads of flair & something which is so great tasting, it shouldn’t work on paper but oh my it does.
Lorna: I have a soft spot for Peanut Butter flavour, it literally is so moreish & scrummy the peanut butter consistency is so perfect. I might have to go eat a piece now!

Q5. How do you promote MOF?
We like to think being young that naturally, we are quite up together with our social media. We like to let our customers know exactly where they can find us across our platforms. One thing we are really proud of is that all our accounts naturally have grown organically through our own customers. 

On Facebook, we have over 50 five-star reviews which we are super chuffed about. We promote events, new stockists & new flavours through our website on a regular basis. 

Next Year we would love to start our own monthly blog of how we are progressing & also look at the rewarding word of mouth. It’s still the best way of marketing.

Q6. What’s the furthest you’ve shipped a MOF order to?
Good question! Currently, the furthest we’ve shipped is only Scotland, but next year we would like to be shipping overseas. We had 16 enquiries last year about shipping to America & Australia.

Q7. Has anyone famous bought or tried your fudge?
We've actually had many famous folk buy our delicious crumbly fudge including athletes, TV presenters & singers. The most famous though is actor Eddie Redmanye who stars in ‘The Theory of Everything’ & also ‘Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them’.

Q8. Do you engage/collaborate much with other local Dorset businesses? Who are your fave local businesses out there?
One thing we do is support anyone who is involved with us such as designers & website builders they are all within a 20 mile radius, we think this is hugely important rather than doing it all on the phone. This is something we are definitely wanting to carry on in 2019.

We have a few favourites who we think are awesome:
  • Jimmy’s Iced Coffee. Smashing it from our hometown of Christchurch. 
  • Alana Spencer - Ridiculously Rich by Alana The winner of the Apprentice 2017. Love what she has achieved, a real inspiration, & we’ve been lucky enough to meet her a few times & she’s so lovely! 
  • Bayside Bakery. You can’t go to a show & not eat Katy’s brownies, they’re incredible.
  • Gingernut Goodies. One word her food is ‘amazing’. 

Q9. What local success have you had?
We’ve started to have lots of success as we’re getting bigger & getting noticed by more people wherever we go. Awards-wise we were highly commended as Entrepreneurs of the Year at the Dorset Food Farming & Drink Awards, 2018 winners of Small Business Sunday with Theo Paphitis the BBC Dragons Den Star & Kelly Hoppen MBE Small Business Hero 2018. We are proud of all these awards with hopefully many more to come in 2019.

Q10. What’s the plan for MOF this Christmas?
We’re at many local events this Christmas & decided to make a pact for 2018 that we wouldn’t travel long distances! We'll be promoting hugely through our website, we have many gifts available for our customers: Gift Bags, Gift Boxes & Gift Jars. All of which were hugely popular last Christmas, we’ve introduced the gift bags into our range this year. 

We also have two new Christmas Gift Boxes: Gingerbread, Mince Pie & Christmas Cake & our favourite… The Gin Lovers Gift Box (Elderflower & Raspberry Gin, Rhubarb Gin & Spiced Orange Gin in a very special box!!

Q11. What’s on your Christmas wish list?
Many Things!!!!
Oliver: I’d like a new road bike, I love going cycling & just never knowing which route you’ll end up taking.
Lorna: I’d like some of Alana’s cake & Katy’s delicious brownies from Bayside Bakery.

Q12. What exciting plans do you have planned for MOF in 2019?
MOF is going in the right direction now becoming available online & more recently in shops, delis, coffee shops & cafes. We want to obviously get bigger & reach our lofty ambitions but with this, we need to be savvy & sensible. Let it be a long-term success rather than overnight. Without going into too much detail we want our fudge to be readily available to absolutely everyone & we are committed to making this happen sooner rather than later. 

We love where we come from in Christchurch & love what we are achieving already in a small space of time, fingers crossed it keeps going in that direction!

Q13. & how can folk stay up to date with everything you’re doing?
Everyone can keep up to date with us on our social media channels:
Instagram - @ministryoffudge 
Facebook - @theministryoffudge 
Twitter - @ministryoffudge 

Plus! Anyone who reads this blog will also get a special 10% off online when using the code BUMPKIN10

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