Food & Drink
Life in rural Wales is very good when you make the most of it. This is the story of a young company that has learned a lot of lessons and made the most of every opportunity it has created.
If there’s an instruction manual for life, then Liam Burgess, the founder of Nom Nom chocolate, must have lost it down the back of the sofa. It’s not that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Far from it. Having taught himself how to make chocolate, largely through trial and error, he now runs a flourishing business, based on the endless possibilities that come from living free and wild in West Wales.
“The business came about through serendipity really. When I was much younger I used to help Bill, who ran a milking farm with 60 cows, in Llanboidy. His milking shed became available and that’s where Nom Nom became a business.
“I can’t ever see us being based anywhere but a farm in West Wales. It just wouldn’t make sense. We represent the changing landscape of rural business. Yes, it does have its constraints, but it challenges us to be creative. In terms of a working environment there isn’t a better place in the world. This place that gives us total freedom. Plus it’s just 20 minutes from the M4.
“There’s around 4.3m tons of cocoa processed every year in Madagascar. Seventy per cent of it divided between three companies.
“Our chocolate is made in Madagascar within 48 hours of the cocoa beans being harvested. Other companies transport their cocoa in a shipping container and send it to their manufacturing plants.
“As far as I’m concerned you leave people with the skills and experience to do their thing. We have a workforce who love what they do, who are prepared to learn and who aren’t afraid of making mistakes, or doing things the wrong way. There’s no way I could hold down a regular job. We’ve created a company that works around the individual, as long it makes the chocolate taste better.
“We live in really exciting times for how good ideas get funded. People seem to be prepared to get together in order to get things done. That’s something we’re working towards, sharing distribution costs by developing stronger links with businesses in our field.
“There’s also a great will within Welsh Government to support new ideas. I think it’s about bravery, commitment and conviction, setting high standards and getting that message across to people. There’s a lot to be positive about.”