Friday, May 4, 2007

Cioccolatina: Handmade Natural Skin Care

Akua Wood founded Cioccolatina in November 2002 in response to her frustration in trying to find a natural range of toiletries to moisturize her skin, as well as to fulfill her need to work at home in order to look after her disabled daughter. Now, only 4 short years later, Cioccolatina has formed a cult following with her fine range of shea butter, olive oil, and other natural skin products. Akua shares her experiences in building Cioccolatina:

Typical Customer
“I have a diverse range of customers all over the world. The typical customer being 28 years of age and mainly female.”

Balancing Act
“Although I am self-employed, I work part-time. I do not have any full time job and have to balance my time as a “mother/wife/business woman”. As a parent, I work hard and long hours and have very little time for myself.”

Typical Akua Day
“Most of my working days start at 07:30 and finish at 22:00. This is mainly made up of responding to customers’ emails, packing/dispatching orders and answering telephone calls.”

Where to find Her Products
“Cioccolatina products are sold mainly via my website. Our retail shop in Sonning (Berkshire- UK) will soon be open to the buying public.”

Keeping in Touch with Customers
“As a business woman, I tend to follow the trend by generally reading specific magazines.”

Challenges in Building a Business
“The most challenging part was providing customers the right products which I have been able to achieve.”

“[Other challenges include changes in] market trends, problems to overcome with suppliers being late with deliveries or packages getting lost in the post. You need determination and pre-planning.”

Inspiration in the Mix
"Mixing up a cream with natural ingredients that my customers love to purchase and use."

Her Father, the Mentor
"My father who introduced me to the use of herbs at a very early age."

Words of Advice: Research and Spend Wisely
" Starting a business seem to be easy. The difficult bit is sustaining it. My advice for any one starting out will be to research on your target market and spend wisely by printing your own labels."
Akua Wood

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