Posted: Fri 15th Apr 2022
It’s an Egg-celent Easter for Enterprise Nation member Anna Coffey Lynch.
Redundancy during the pandemic gave Anna the perfect opportunity to exercise her creative and entrepreneurial skills when she decided to start her own business.
Starting a business in the kitchen
Braw was developed in Anna’s kitchen in Limerick.
“I was a pastry chef for ten or twelve years,” says Anna. “And then when the pandemic happened in 2020, I was laid off. I found myself at home with loads of free time. I couldn't relax so I started Braw from my kitchen.
“We have a bakery and chocolate side of the business,” she explains. “I'd worked as a chocolate maker in Dublin for four years prior to the pandemic.”
The business exploded quite quickly.
“People got really behind it and I had wholesale customers all of a sudden,” she says.
The draw was the unusual combinations of flavours Anna introduced to the chocolate world. Peanut Butter and Jelly being one example.
Last year, with support from a grant programme delivered in partnership with Enterprise Nation. Anna was able to purchase a chocolate tempering machine.
“It enabled us to scale up the business. Instead of making everything by hand we were able to use the equipment to increase the output. We went from making twenty bars at a time, to several hundred bars at a time,” she explains.
This is Braw’s second Easter, and it has been a rather successful one as Anna sold out of her Easter eggs in advance to the chocolate celebration.
“We made two different types of eggs, one milk chocolate and one dark chocolate,” she explains. “We use Luker chocolate which is from an ethical and sustainable producer in Colombia.”
“We made a raspberry and pineapple milk chocolate which was the most popular one and then there was a dark chocolate one which inside it had shortbread biscuit infused with Colombian coffee,” she says.
“I wasn’t really expecting them to sell out,” she adds.
The eggs are sent to customers all over Ireland, safely suspended in a secure box made of biodegradable packaging.
Selling online was a learning curve for Anna.
“I’m still learning all the time,” she says. “There's a lot of work that goes into it that I didn't realise but we're getting there slowly. You can constantly be educating yourself on how to do things,”
“I've gone from being a pastry chef and chocolate maker to working out IT, how to use the online sales and all the information that you have to process for people,” she explains. “It's much more complicated than I realised.”
The summertime is the best time for Anna’s online learning as the run up to Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Easter are very busy periods for Braw.
Enterprise Nation has allowed Anna to learn from her fellow entrepreneurs.
“I think there's like a lot to be learned from other people who are in the same position as you when you're starting a small business,” she says. Enterprise Nation is useful for information on small business and the content they provide.”
Go and Grow Online Ireland
Enterprise Nation has partnered with Vodafone, Microsoft and Klarna to help business owners improve their digital skills and grow their ventures.
Through the programme, you can access interactive workshops, e-learning modules and free in-person consultations to boost your digital knowledge and take your business to the next level.