'Stick to your knitting'...that's what Gran use to say!
When Gabe Davidson, Co Founder of Wellington Chocolate Factory, was approached in Melbourne to open a fancy cafe kiosk serving champagne back in the day, he wished he’d remembered what his Grandmother always said - ‘stick to your knitting’. This is Gabe’s biggest lesson he has learnt in business - don’t be distracted by the shiny things, focus on one thing and do it well.
The fancy pants cafe kiosk may not have worked but Gabe’s Grandmother’s advice obviously played on his mind when starting the Wellington Chocolate Factory. If you are not familiar with the brand, its an award-winning, ethical, bean-to-bar chocolate made in the heart of Wellington. Gabe kindly took some time out of his hectic day (and away from his three kids under 5!) to answer a few questions so we all get to know the maker behind the brand. He loves music, surprisingly his commute and had a friend who has dined with Ian McKellen, Stephen Frey and Billy Connolly!
How did you decide on your brand/business name/any specific meaning behind it?
I had an organic coffee company in Melbourne which ran as a social enterprise, The Social Roasting Company was the best I could think of as a name. Moving home to Raumati South, on the Kapiti Coast, we opened a rustic, local cafe and live music venue, The Raumati Social Club seemed appropriate. When it came to opening a chocolate factory in Wellington, The Wellington Chocolate Factory seemed logical. I like to think it’s all about simplicity. Deep down I fear I lack creativity in the business name department!
Biggest lesson you’ve learnt in business?
“Stick to your knitting” my Grandmother always used to say. One time I was approached by a high-end shopping centre in the heart of Melbourne to open a fancy cafe kiosk which served Champagne and food. They offered to pay for the setup and frankly I was flattered. I big step up from the very ‘street’ style of espresso bars we were known for and a long way from where we came from. This didn’t end well at all. The importance of focusing on one thing and do that thing well, without being distracted by shiny things was the lesson here. A humbling experience.
Got a tip for the best way to use/consume your product?
Take your time. We design our chocolate to be enjoyed in small pieces. Look for the shine on the bar, listen to the ‘snap’ of the chocolate, let the piece melt in your mouth and take time to explore the different characteristics of the cacao bean we have used make the bar before eating it. For me, it’s all about slowing down and taking a moment to be somewhere else. A happy place, like a mini-meditation.
What are some small things that make your day?
I have three little ones under 5, they bring lots of beautiful small things into my day. Having a laugh with the team at WCF, coming up with new chocolate ideas is always fun, and having some alone time on my commute home is something I’m grateful for.
What takes up too much of your time?
My commute! But living on the West Coast is worth it.
Favourite thing to do to relax/unwind?
I play music with some old friends in a trio called ‘Swagman’. I have dreams of us being like the old guys from The Buena Vista Social Club, still jamming in our 80’s. We have been playing together since our early teens and it’s like an old glove when we perform, everything just drops away.
What are you most grateful and thankful for in your life?
My beautiful partner who supports me through all of the many highs and lows of entrepreneurship.
What TV show or Netflix series has you hooked at the moment?
Right at this moment, I’m struggling to find one which truly catches my attention. Any suggestions?
If you could invite three famous people for cocktails and canapes - who would they be?
A friend of mine was a driver for the Lord Of The Rings. One night he was driving Ian McKellen home and was invited to dinner ‘with a couple of friends’ (Billy Connolly and Stephen Fry). I Can hardly imagine a more interesting dinner party than that and was insanely jealous.
You can find the super yum Organic Milk Chocolate Bar from Wellington Chocolate Factory in our Chockoclock Gift Box as well as purchase individually using our Build a Box service.