Now it’s been a while since we’ve had a Q&A and this one is worth the wait. We’d like to introduce The Wee Fudge Company. If you’ve not tried some of their fudge then what is your excuse?? We’re big fans and they count Mark Greenaway as a big fan as well. The Wee Fudge Co. shows that if you have a real passion for something, it can become a full time job and make getting up in the mornings much easier! Here’s what Joyce, founder of The Wee Fudge Co. had to say when we asked her some questions.
Who are you and what is it you do?
I’m Joyce Brady, founder and owner of The Wee Fudge Company
How long have you been in business?
I’ve been in business for just over two and a half years.
What was the inspiration behind setting up your own business?
My children and probably a bit of a mid life crisis – lol! I had been making fudge for my daughter to support her fund raising activities for Marie Curie Cancer Care and and had a lot of requests to buy it. Over a Saturday night curry in October 2011 the discussion turned to starting a wee business – my son is a great photographer and on social media, my daughter is a marketing and events manager and her partner is a web designer and they all offered to help me. Things kind of snowballed over the next few weeks – we came up with a name and a logo and a website was built …. but still no business….. then in November Whole Foods Market opened their first store in Scotland just two miles from where I live. . ….I e mailed them on opening weekend and they invited me round to let them sample the fudge. They loved it and six week later it was on the shelves…… the rest as they say is history!
What has been the biggest challenge in getting your product to market?
Finding customers has not been a problem as the product generally sells itself. I think the biggest challenge is probably more on the logistics side of things – thinking about transportation and packaging etc. – all of which add a lot to costs but it’s very important to me that the product not only tastes great but that it is well presented and it reaches customers in peak condition.
How do you decide what flavours to make?
Flavour ideas come via a variety of routes – some I come up with but I encourage customers to give me ideas too…. and I offer a ‘create your own’ service whereby customers can have a flavour of fudge made to order. An American customer in Whole Foods Market asked me to make a salted fudge as it’s a huge favourite in the states and Graeme Taylor (Scots Larder) suggested in passing one day that I should make a Cranachan Fudge … those two fudges were developed last year and entered into the Scotland Food and Drink Excellence Awards winning me a finalist place in the Confectionery & Snacking Category. Our most recent flavour, Creamed coconut was commissioned by George Mewes of George Mewes Cheese following a customer request for a coconut fudge. Flavours requested by customers always go to them first but those that we think are really good will be listed.
How do you make the fudge?
The fudge is made in very small batches and is quite a lengthy process using the very lowest of heat to slowly allow the butter sugar and milk to caramelise and turn golden brown. Additions to the product are generally introduced very near the end of the process to maximise the flavour so you will find the texture varies as it is directly influenced by what is added.
What makes you stand out from other similar products?
All of the fudge is made fresh and strictly to order for customers. Like a lot of producers the fudge contains only 100% natural ingredients but to me that also means that I don’t use ‘flavourings’ or colourings – fruit fudges, for example are made with fresh berries. I like to be able to tell customers exactly what is in the products and where the ingredients have been sourced so I spend a lot of time searching for the best of ingredients, Scottish wherever possible – there are no flavours come close to fresh Scottish raspberries, Hebridean Sea Salt and Plan Bee honey – three key ingredients in three of our top fudges …. and I don’t think that’s coincidental – I think it’s testament to the quality of what we have available in Scotland.
What is a typical day for you?
Hubby wakens me with breakfast around 6.30 (hear that Mr E!!), quick shower, then the fudge kitchen gets active. The first pots are put on around 7. Fudges ready for packaging and delivery that day are cut, bagged, ribboned and boxed up in between making fresh batches throughout the day. All Glasgow deliveries are made in person so I’m out and about a bit and we often deliver to Edinburgh too, giving me an opportunity to catch up with stockists. Good working relationships are very important to me. In between times and often into the night I deal with enquiries, calls, social media etc.
How did you find your niche ?
It kind of found me to be honest. My aim has always been to focus on quality of the product, provenance, presentation and providing a very personal service. Our fudge is affordable for a personal treat but equally attractive as a gift.
What’s your favourite fudge you make and why?
It has to be our Hebridean Sea Salt and Caramel Fudge – very moreish and a huge success.
Where can we buy your product?
We haven’t fully exploited Edinburgh yet but have three fabulous partners in Pippin Gifts Haymarket, Cook in Morningside and The Secret Herb Garden. You will also find us at selected events during the year – we work with Naked Wines on the Scotland leg of their tours, with Three Wine Men when they come north and have also supplied the RSNO for their Annual Gala Dinners in Edinburgh & Glasgow . You might also come across our fudge at various conferences and events here and abroad as we regularly supply the People Make Glasgow team and are just about to supply Visit Scotland for an international visit which is fantastic for me as this is of course The Year of Food & Drink..
Anything else we’ve not asked that you would like to tell us?
Having started this business at the age of 50 I finally gave up my day job as a career civil servant just 6 months ago….. So who knows now what 2015 holds for The Wee Fudge Company. The year has started with the news that I’m nominated for a Rural Scotland Award which is fantastic …. Watch this space!
Well all that chat of fudge has made us very hungry! Best of luck in the Rural Scotland Award!!
*All images courtesy of The Wee Fudge Co.