Be Your own Boss: Louis Barnett - Louis Barnett Chocolates

From a young age I've always had a passion for cooking either savoury or sweet dishes. I was diagnosed with Dyslexia at a young age and cooking was always my release, so to keep me busy I was always in the kitchen.

Louis Barnett ChocolatesName: Louis Barnett
Job role: CEO
Company: Louis Barnett Chocolates

At the age of 13, I began making chocolates under my first brand and company Chokolit.

In 2007, a year after my company was launched; I was the youngest supplier to ever sell products to Waitrose at the age of 14, Sainsburys at 15 and Selfridges at 16.

On my 21st birthday I renamed the company to Louis Barnett Chocolates and have since been internationally recognised as an entrepreneur.

Recently, we saw a gap in our company for exports and we are now successfully exporting our products all over the world to countries including USA and Spain, as well as markets which are even harder to access like Mexico and Asia.

The food and drink industry is really exciting and rewarding. I've always had a strong interest in the industry and I'm so happy that I get to do something that I'm really passionate about. The best thing about this industry is that it is always changing, and that's what excites me; there are new trends all the time and we experiment with new flavours and techniques to respond to changing tastes.

Last year, the renowned chocolate manufacturer Callebaut appointed me as one of its world ambassadors which is something I am proud of, but above any achievement, I am most proud of the letters I receive from young people across the country who are inspired by my journey.

If anyone is thinking of starting their own company I would definitely say, don't be afraid to be different, people's tastes are always changing so come up with something that will make you stand out. I also think hard work and determination will also help you steam ahead.

Setting up my own company means I have never had a “typical” day in food manufacturing! One day I will be attending board meetings, the next I will be overseeing product development or travelling overseas. The manufacturing side of what we do is so innovative and always changing so it keeps me on my toes.

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