Kennedy’s Confections is a family-run chocolate and confectionary magazine based in Kent. SME spoke to owner Angus Kennedy, who is also known for giving talks on the world of confectionary and eating chocolate for a living. Kennedy’s Confections has recently been hit by fraud which has rocked the company and caused some major changes. Be sure to read tomorrow’s instalment for the full story on how it was targeted and how Angus is getting his company back on top.
• Tell me about your company – how did it get started/ how long has it been running for?
I have been in publishing for 30 years… too long some say, I am good at it though and I am confident I can get it all back. Two years ago we were flooded, the office was underwater and we survived all that too. Life is not about how you go down or how you get up. Life is about how who you are when you get up again after a setback. I sold my house 15 years ago to buy the business and I have been trying hard to buy a house ever since. I just managed to do it at the end of last year so it will be nice to have a Christmas in our own house. So yes, I own the whole thing and it’s this that drives you to survive. No one runs off with all the family silver. They can get a little, but never all of it.
• How many employees do you have?
Erm you mean ‘did’ have, right? We did have eight or so, but we were recently the target of fraud and now we are down to two. I know, crazy, you have to laugh. Business is all nonsense to be honest. Some bits are less crap than others, but in the end it’s just a certain degree of ‘crapness;’ running a business is a thankless task. Staff all seem to resent you as you are the one that stops them going on holiday, you are the one that never pays enough and so on, you have to be able to stick it alone. It’s been quite nice sitting all on my own with the empty desks, I must say.
• Who are your biggest competitors? What makes your company special compared to its competitors?
I don’t ever worry about them, I know who I am and what I can do and I am a highly creative person and fearless, really. Creativity stops where fear begins. I don’t care about losing anything. So I don’t compete. I just treat customers well and do a good job and hopefully they will buy from me.
If you spend your time watching the man next to you when trying to win the race you lose. Better to watch the finish line and focus on that and decide what you are good at and what will get you to the line in your own unique way. Well that’s the way I do it anyway and I am still here.
• What countries do you operate in?
The whole world, I travel round all the chocolate factories in the world. Cool isn’t it? That’s why I am trying to get into TV. Guess no one is sympathising with me now for the lost cash.
• Tell me about your role – what does a typical day look like for you?
Blimey, they are never the same. Mostly I am writing, so I will write articles, blogs, my books, or contact my customers. I am also selling and I am planning our next big London chocolate conference, The World Chocolate Forum, which I started from scratch. Right now I am in rescue business mode – been there before to be honest. But still learning all the time; it’s not boring, that’s all that matters.
• Tell me about your clients – who purchases your products?
I sell to companies in the international confectionery market place. We are publishers, we sell advertising, that’s it. Tough business, five companies like mine go bust every week. Guess I must be doing something right. But I can write and that is a very powerful tool indeed and completely underused. The world is yours when you master the phone and the written word together.