Family recipe, ethical and not-too-expensive: Goupie chocolates are a sweet revelation! I first tried them through my monthly Vegan Tuck Box, and was an instant convert! So, when I met Grace at The Great Yorkshire Vegan Fair, I was determined to feature Goupie on our Ethical Business: Ethical Life blog series. Here is what she had to say!
How did Goupie come about?
“The business started, almost by accident, seven years ago. My grandmother had always made Goupie for the family, and in turn my mother did the same. When she was looking for her next venture, my sister and I convinced her to give Goupie a go.”
So, how did you get started?
“Armed with a fresh batch, her and my father headed to some local stores and asked them if they’d like to try some. Orders were placed on the spot, taking us a bit by surprise as we had no packaging, prices or anything useful at that point!”
And how much have you grown since then?
“Since then, the business has moved from our family kitchen to a bespoke, Safe and Local Supplier (SALSA) certified, factory unit. We now have 4 employees helping us to make all the Goupie, and have grown organically throughout our local community with no external investment. We aim to continue on this path, doing business in the way that we think it should be done, and hoping that our stubbornness pays off!”
How and why is Goupie ethical?
“As a family business, our ethical principles are driven very much by our own family’s code of ethics. We have always believed in treating our employees fairly. We provide them them with a wage that suits their worth to us (rather than the minimum we can get away with). We provide flexible working hours that allow our employees to have a life outside of work. We provide training, pensions and other benefits which will help them succeed even after they have left our employment.”
And what about the ingredients?
“We are also very interested in our supply chain, always looking to source as ethically and sustainably as possible. We use local ingredients wherever possible to reduce our footprint and support local businesses (Biddenden Cider, The Hop Shop Lavender and our Micro-Roastery Coffee are good examples of this). We also use RSPO certified palm oil, which is sourced from areas where deforestation is not an issue, triple certified coffee and a well respected chocolate source committed to ethical production.”
When did Veganism come into all of this?
“Since my younger sister became vegan, we have also looked deeply as a family into the many issues surrounding the use of animal products. Whether this be for ecological, ethical, or health-based reasons – we feel that it is important for us to reduce our own footprint as a business. For this reason, the majority of our products are vegan friendly, with the view to adapt the remaining few recipes to fall in line with this in the near future.”
How about recycling?
“We also ensure that all of our packaging is 100% recyclable and try to reduce our own waste as a business wherever possible and try to keep our prices as reasonable as possible so that people are not getting ‘taxed’ for their dietary requirements.”
How to you hope to progress ethically in the future?
“Frankly, I believe that the things we already do are bare minimum that every business should be doing. In the future, I hope goupie will be in a position where we can fund much more impactful initiatives – such as social enterprises and active supply chain checks.”
What are your days like, as an ethical business person?
“Every day is honestly different, though I find myself reading e-mails more and more as the business grows! Goupie really is my life, as sad as that sounds! Most of my friends and family have grown emotionally invested in the business, which I think only solidifies my own belief in our growth. I also look after our social media channels, customers and looking for new ways in which to develop our business into the kind of business I’d like it to be. One of the biggest perks is getting to eat chocolate daily!”
A favourite quote?
“My favorite quote came from a friend recently, and is probably currently only relevant to a very selection group of people ‘Goupie is Life’ – hopefully the meaning of this becomes more apparent as we grow and hopefully initiate change in the community!”