Brockley business pays it forward

True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.
- Kurt Vonnegut

As we mentioned, there is another aspect of the Choki of Brockley story which is worthy of its own thread.

Choki of Brockley is run by two young entrepreneurs, who were blessed with passion and expertise but little capital. We hope their business will grow to become very successful, creating local jobs and adding to the vitality of daily life in our area. Lewisham Council has for a long time identified attracting more companies to the area as a key challenge for Brockley's development.

So why did they end up being Choki of Brockley, rather than Choki of Penge?

Firstly, the Goldsmiths connection brought them here. Rowan is still a student there and moved to Brockley to be near the college.

Secondly, they told us that Brockley’s collection of great independent businesses helped inspire them to quit their jobs and go it alone.

Thirdly, the “neighbourly” nature of Brockley made them want to root their product and brand in the area.

Fourthly, they were supported by other businesses in the area. Not only was the Shop on the Hill quick to give their products a chance, but Ross from Brown’s of Brockley lets them use his kitchen to make their chocolate. They didn’t know Ross until they knocked on his door to ask a favour. It’s a tribute to his generosity that they’re now in business.

And this isn’t a unique case.

You can trace the threads of co-operation between local enterprises from Jam Circus to Brown’s of Brockley to The Shop on the Hill and Tea Leaf Arts to the Broca. By the end of our interview last night, Ed from The Orchard had had an impromptu meeting with the Choki team about whether he could sell their wares.

What Brockley businesses are demonstrating is that entrepreneurialism is entirely compatible with a strong community ethic and that the best businesses are also the ones most likely to give something back.

Brockley’s community of entrepreneurs is strong and growing, swelled by talent coming from places like Goldsmiths and Lewisham College. We are very lucky to have them. They will have as big an influence on the future of Brockley as the East London Line.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Choki of Penge doesn't rhyme....SORRY!!!

wendy said...

Nice story! Ross is obviously good news for the area.

dont forget Brockley Jack and the Film club too

yum yum yum said...

Great - will look out for Choki in local shops. Yet another point in Brockley's favour as a place to live.

Hot gossip- food report. said...

I have just bought a 100g bar from The Shop on the Hill. I felt like Charlie Bucket as I unwrapped the bar. And I am delighted to report that it tastes fabulous, the milk chocolate was smooth, creamy, how you expect perfect chocolate to be. There was no horrid aftertaste. Very good. I can't wait til they get bigger as a company and do taster boxes so I can try the less usual flavours.

Anonymous said...

Have a good day.

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Anonymous said...

Ross seems like a very kind chap. I hope someone in marketing or a sign writer will help him out will pay forward or back to him.

Does Brown's stock Choki, considering it's made there, it was sad I got my first bar from SOTH.

Richard said...

I think it deserves pointing out that Mr Ross Brown also came to Jam Circus and trained the staff on our new coffee machine in his own time, not to mention driving to Brighton to collect the machine in the first place. The girlfriend thinks I'm developing a man crush...

Plus - Ross' trusty right hand man, Neil, has just this week won the UK latte art championship (a big deal to coffee geeks) - http://twitter.com/#search?q=%40exchangecoffee

The level of co-operation and mutual respect amongst Brockley business is amazing and helps keep a real local feel to things.

This is making me feel all warm & fuzzy.

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Tamsin said...

Choki of Brockley are up in the Craft Fair in the Telegraph Hill Centre now - just by the door where they can keep cool.

Worth a visit.

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