Meet the Maker | Mörk Chocolate
Tell us about yourself and how you came to be a maker / owner of your creative business. What inspired you to be where you are now?
I started out as a chocolatier in Sweden where I met my Australian fiance and business partner Kiril - a specialty coffee barista at the time. When starting our lives in Melbourne we discovered a rich specialty coffee culture, which inspired us to create a fitting drinking chocolate for cafes. At the time, drinking chocolate was ladled with refined sugar and with low quality chocolate. Mörk Chocolate was born as an idea to create a drinking chocolate with no refined sugar and high cacao percentages, a chocolate for people who enjoy dark chocolate and appreciate traceability of ingredients.
Mörk Chocolate Brewhouse, Melbourne - Photo provided by Mörk Chocolate
How long have you been working in this role and what do you love about it?
Myself and Kiril have run Mörk for 5 years now, with our North Melbourne concept store running for 2 years. I absolutely love that I get to be my creative self and grow with the business. We can take our brand where we want to and have even made the step in to the bustling cafe market in London and UK. We come across many other small artisan producers on our journey and have found that we all share similar stories, similar challenges, and I think it is a community that offers a lot both in ways of support and sometimes leads to opportunities to collaborate.
Tell us about your daily routine i.e. where is your business based, do you work within a team or individually, within an office or studio space?
We are a very small but dynamic team based in an old 1920's bakehouse building in North Melbourne. Our office is in the middle of our creative space - our chocolate warehouse and kitchen. This allows our small team to all be a part of the creative process of product development, menu tastings, quality control etc.
What is the inspiration for your product range and what would be your favourite item in the collection?
I am always inspired by what I myself enjoy to drink and eat, hence where our high percentages of cacao in the chocolate blends tend to be a little more intense than the consumer market. But what we have found is that people are genuinely open to trying dark chocolate and, with the help of multiple studies showing the benefits of consuming dark chocolate on a regular basis, see the benefit of it, as well as on cutting down on refined sugar. My favourite chocolate blend is our Original Dark blend with 70% cacao. It doesn't matter what time of the day, what mood I am in, what time of the year...a cup of this and I am a happy girl.
At P+P we feel very passionate about supporting other local designers and makers in all aspects of their business. What is one piece of advice you would give other creatives when considering their own start up?
My advice is to be confident in your product, no matter what. Make sure you understand the market and consider absolutely everything when you start your business. Have a strong and clear ethos. Put it in writing for yourself and communicate it to your customers, and ensure that when ever in doubt about business decisions or expansion, customers to take on or people to deal with, you are sticking to that ethos. Don't be afraid of change in your business, or growth, but always remember your ethos.
What was the biggest challenge that you came across when starting your creative business and how did you overcome this hurdle?
The biggest challenges have always been the dependence on other companies and business operators, whether it's courier companies, freight forwarders or producers of packaging. These companies often have issues with logistics, communication, keeping time frames or providing the service you expect from them. Then it doesn't matter how well organised you think you are, you still end up with situations you could not have foreseen. We have learnt to be more pro-active, have become better problem solvers and learnt the importance of choosing the right partners in business.
There are so many beautiful Australian made products being released at the moment. Are there any particular designers, product collections or bloggers that you love and why?
I always have the biggest admiration for businesses with a strong ethos and mission for improvement, whether it is environmental or humanitarian. One of these is Melbourne Rooftop Honey, working for a cause that most people have very little knowledge about, and this is often the hardest to educate about but all the more important.
Are there any creatives that you would love to collaborate with and why?
There are always new collaborative ideas popping up for us, but we find that the best collaborations are often the ones that happen organically. We have a new collaboration coming up with St David Dairy, a chocolate milk with the best of two worlds - pure dark chocolate and farm fresh milk. But the year has only started and there is room for many exciting new collaborations in 2017 I think!
What exciting things are you working on at the moment and what are your aspirations for 2017?
We are moving into Easter and with it comes a craze for chocolate, which always excites us. This year we are focusing on few new products to the range and to partner with new exciting business to spread the word about Mörk and artisan products.