Pershore Patty meets Justin Bowen, Owner at Wychbold Fudge to ask a few personal questions and for a general nose.
Tell me a little bit about how you came to own or work in your business…
After a 20 year career in Public Services, I felt I’d done my bit and decided to do “something else”. The trouble is that after 20 years doing the same line of work, deciding what that “something else” should be isn’t as straight forward as it sounds! Well, to cut a long story short, I ended up setting up Wychbold Fudge with my wife Helga, initially selling fudge made in Scotland. After a few months, we decided I should have a go at making and selling my own fudge. We paid for some training, invested in some equipment to help me make enough fudge for a viable business… and here we are over 4 years later.
What achievements, awards or accolades are you proud of?
I think just keeping the business going through my wife’s illness has been a major achievement. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016 and it subsequently spread to her brain and lower abdomen. Although her illness is incurable, it is currently under control and she is able to live a full life – which includes her own full-time job as a Financial Analyst, being a mother to our 2 young children as well as helping with Wychbold Fudge. So its fair to say I’m very proud of her and us as a family for keeping everything going!
Any news announcements, or events that you’d like new and existing customers to be aware of?
We’ve just added a new flavour to our range of Sharing Bags. We launched Droitwich Salt and Traditional Cream flavour Sharing Bags at the end of last year, and we’re really pleased to have introduced West Country Toffee now as well. It means we now have a good range of products for larger outlets to stock.
What makes your business unique?
We do everything at home in our family kitchen. That includes not only making the fudge, but also packaging all of our products round our kitchen table. The Sharing Bags look so smart that people probably don’t know that we do it all at home!
Favourite restaurant to visit if you get a night off?
Feli’s Restaurant in Stoulton.
Last thing you watched on TV? The Voice on ITV.
Which person in your life do you most admire and why? My wife (for obvious reasons).
What was the last gift you gave someone?
We’ve just given my Mother some Belgian Chocolates for Mother’s Day.
What’s your favourite smell in the whole world?
What’s your favourite kind of sandwich?
A proper BLT.
Who would you want to cook your last meal on earth, and why?
I’d like my wife to cook her traditional Flemish dish, Elzasser. She’s from Antwerp in Belgium, and the recipe was handed on to her by her mother, who was from Bruges. It’s made from minced pork, beef, bacon, red wine and sauerkraut and is just fabulous – especially paired with a decent red wine!
What is the most annoying habit that other people have?
Not listening to other people’s views.
If you could eat only 3 foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Saucisson, cheese and Belgian chocolate.
What’s your claim to fame?
Probably the 10 minutes on BBC Midlands Today when we created our Droitwich Salt Fudge!
Which food & drink business (other than your own) do you wish you had created?
Lea & Perrins. Being from Worcestershire, I think it’s wonderful that Worcestershire Sauce is known all round the world.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Just go for it.
If you could be anywhere else right now, where would it be?
What’s the best thing that happened to you last week?
Watching my son play his first rugby match for Droitwich Under 7s.
Name a product or service you love so much that you’d happily be that company’s spokesperson.
Waitrose. They epitomise great customer service.
As a child, what did you wish to become when you grew up?
What is the perfect combination of pizza toppings?
Salami, chorizo and mozarella.
What was the worst job you ever held and why?
My first job (at 16) was in a large food factory. I thought it would be my way in to working in the food industry but it was horrible and I left after 2 days. That worked out well though as soon after I got a job working in the kitchen in a local restaurant, which I loved.
Radiohead (yes I’m getting on a bit!).
What was the last thing you ate?
Favourite cut of steak?
What website do you visit most often?
www.wychboldfudge.com (I’m always looking to tweak things on it!).
What is the most impressive thing you know how to do?
That’s something for other people to answer.
What do you hope never changes?
Keeping the right balance between business and family life.
Any finally a question from those who are married to you…When are you coming home?
I’m already here.
Wychbold Fudge produce luxury, homemade fudge from their family kitchen in the Worcestershire village of Wychbold. Established in 2014, Wychbold Fudge are best known as the creators of the unique Droitwich Salt Fudge – as seen on BBC TV!
Find them on their stall every Saturday outside M & S on Worcester High Street. They also attend a number of local food festivals and supply a number of quality outlets around the region. To find out more about the Wychbold Fudge story and to see their full range of products, please visit www.wychboldfudge.com.
The Foodie Card offer – Buy 2 bars of any fresh fudge flavour for £5 (usually £3 each) at any UK food festival or market.