Delicious! When chocolate is a serious business

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024

As the Small Business Saturday campaign moves into its second decade in the UK, SME Magazine is profiling some of this year’s SmallBiz100 – a line-up of Britain’s 100 most impressive small businesses. As Michelle Ovens CBE, Director of Small Business Saturday UK, says: “The fantastic small businesses featured in this year’s SmallBiz100 sum up the incredible contribution that small firms make to our economy and local areas.”

Kate Rumsey is the owner of Rumsey’s, a family-owned artisan chocolate company which produces award-winning hand-made chocolate, running two chocolateries in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. Here, SME Magazine catches up with her and hears about her business.

Kate, tell us about your business. When did you set the business up and what was the thinking behind it? 

Rumsey’s story began in 2001, when my father-in-law, Nigel Rumsey, began making handmade chocolates from his home kitchen with the aim of producing top quality products from the finest ingredients. Three years later, Nigel and his wife, Mary, opened their first chocolaterie in Wendover, followed by another in Thame in 2007. I joined the family business back in 2016, and have run the company since Nigel and Mary retired in 2022.

What do you enjoy the most about being your own boss?

I have worked hard for many other corporate companies before, which involved all-nighters and travel that took me away from friends and family. I always (willingly) gave 100%, but now I’m my own boss I truly appreciate that the hard work I put in – all the blood, sweat and tears – ultimately adds to the growth of my own company.

What advice would you give someone thinking about setting up their own business?

Ensure you have a supportive network around you. Although I now employ almost 50 people, it can actually be pretty lonely running your own business, so having people outside of your business you can turn to for advice is important. I have also found having a business coach hugely beneficial, both to hold me accountable and also to support me through difficult decisions and change.

What impact does Small Business Saturday make for you?

Small Business Saturday is a day I feel we really have a voice. I genuinely think most people know why it’s important and ‘want’ to shop small, but life is busy and big online retailers make it so easy just to click. So this day, and all the coverage it gets is an important reminder for people to value and support the small businesses in their community. For us, Small Business Saturday kicks off December, obviously an extremely important month so can really set the tone for how successful Christmas will be! 

Sum up your business in three words

Family. Special. Delicious!

Visit Rumsey’s at The Old Bank, 26 High Street, Wendover HP22 6EA or 8 Upper High Street, Thame OX9 3ER, or shop online here. 

Small Business Saturday is a grassroots, not-for-profit campaign that was originally founded by American Express in the US in 2010, to encourage wider support and celebration of small businesses. In 2013, Small Business Saturday was brought to the UK, and American Express remains the campaign’s principal supporter. This year, Small Business Saturday falls on December 2. To learn more about the campaign head to: https://smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com/

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024