NUA is part of a large community of creative businesses in Norwich.
Start-ups emerge every year and established companies go from strength to strength. ￼In 2016, NUA’s Flint Magazine featured interviews with creative entrepreneurs nominated by NUA staff. This year we asked Emma Brown, from the Admissions team, to identify a Norfolk company she admired. She chose Norfolk craft chocolate company Gnaw, ‘Over the past few years I’ve noticed Gnaw chocolate bars in more and more places.’ And no wonder! The company has expanded operations, sending its handcrafted products around the world.
Gnaw’s Director Matt Legon invited Emma to visit, “I was very excited! I was expecting big shiny machines and conveyor belts everywhere, but their chocolate is made by hand, so there was less technology than imagined. They make all their different chocolates and I got to see the process in action. My personal favourite was their hot chocolate shots as they were being poured into their moulds. At the same time, the peanut butter bars were being wrapped, and the peppermint chocolate was being mixed (it smelled incredible!).”
“It’s great how much care goes into every single one of their bars – and that it’s all taking place right here in Norwich!”
What inspired you to start a chocolatier in Norwich?
Teri Legon and I founded Gnaw in 2011 after realising there were no fun chocolate brands out there. There were no brands bringing different, creative flavours made with natural ingredients to the wonderful world of chocolate. So we created Gnaw.
What has the reception been outside of the country?
The reception has been fantastic! We have grown so much in the last couple of years, especially internationally. Scandinavians are big fans of Gnaw, particularly our Hot Choc Shots, and we have recently started exporting to China. It’s a big world and there’s still so much for us to do. The world is our oyster!
Is there a sense of community amongst other business owners and entrepreneurs in Norfolk?
There really is. Everyone is so proud to be a part of the Norfolk community and we all support each other, even if it is just on social media. We have recently started to go to networking evenings and it’s wonderful to be around entrepreneurs who take pride in being from Norfolk and who are willing to help and support each other.
What is next for Gnaw?
For us it’s about growing the brand and really making a stamp on the chocolate world! We opened our online shop last year, so we are excited to see it grow and (hopefully) help us expand globally through online sales. On our wholesale side, there is still so much to conquer, especially here in the UK. We have many plans; keep your eyes peeled!
“Within Norwich exists an abundance of landscapes designated for stretching the body, relieving the mind, and rediscovering our creativity.”
Kaelin O’Hare, California, USA
BA (Hons) Illustration. See Kaelin’s illustrations of Norwich green spaces →
“Students + Deadlines = Coffee. But it’s okay Norwich has you covered.”
Norwich is a hub of creativity, with events and exhibitions spanning the year. Here you will find a snippet of 2017’s art listings taken from Art in Norwich, an annual guide produced by Norwich Visual Art Forum.
Ideas Factoryat Norwich University of the Arts is a commercial outlet for students’ innovative thinking and talent, led by staff with significant experience of the creative industries. Ideas FactoryNUA also work with established brands and offer work spaces for creative businesses. The centre is home to graphic designers, photographers, digital product designers, film makes, animations, illustrations, writers and UX specialists amongst others.
Norwich has a great range of independent fashion and craft stores which are mostly located in The Norwich Lanes. Find out more about the independent boutiques in the city, including Philip Browne, one of the cities most successful vintage and contemporary retailers.
Norwich’s thriving food and drinks scene includes a wide range of contemporary British and international restaurants. In 2015 one of the most exciting chefs in Britain joined this lively community when Great British Menu 2015 winner, Richard Bainbridge set up Benedicts restaurant. Located in the city centre, Benedicts has already set a new standard for creativity and quality dining. Read an interview with Chef Bainbridge and NUA’s Course Administrator, Rachel Catto.
Kofra is where those in the know on coffee go. It is a beautiful and quiet cafe retreat just a short walk about from the NUA campus. The owner José De Leon Guzman’s passion for coffee is only slightly higher than his passion for creative thinking and he works endlessly on finding innovative ways to deliver great coffee concepts to his customers. Find out more about Kofra and José’s business concepts in an interview.