Fudge Fancies - sweet delights by an ex-plasterer from Middlesbrough
PUBLISHED: 18:40 02 November 2012 | UPDATED: 22:17 20 February 2013
The downturn in the building industry sparked a sweet success for a plasterer from Middlesbrough, as Gill Langham reports
It may not be easy to change career but Michael Goodchild is proof that with the right mix of attitude and advice, it can be done.
Faced with a downturn in the building trade after two decades of working as a plasterer, Michael decided to return to his childhood passion cookery.
With my dad having his own plastering company Id basically followed in his footsteps, he explains. My love of plastering never really materialised but before I knew it Id been plastering for 20 years.
It wasnt really until the work dried up that I thought of doing something else and if it wasnt for the recession, I would probably still be plastering.
Hailed as the Heston Blumenthal of fudge, Michael set out to modernise the image of the product and bring it to new markets.
I saw fudge as a boring product and I just wanted to make it a little bit more exciting, he says. I had always done a bit of baking and, as a little boy, I remember being in the kitchen with my grandmother making her legendary fudge.
Taking the family fudge recipe as the starting point, Michael spent many hours experimenting in the kitchen of his home in Eston, Middlesbrough.
After testing his samples on family and friends, he then started selling his fudge at farmers markets around the North East and later opened an online store.
Now in its third year, Fudge futureFancies has grown largely by word of mouth and since winning a national business award this year, it looks set to expand.
It hasnt been easy but things are starting to take off now, he says. At the moment, its really just a cottage industry and I do everything myself at home, but in the future I would like to take on staff, maybe open a shop and perhaps supply high-end outlets such as Harrods and Liberty.
Michael puts the success of Fudge Fancies down to the fact that it is a modern take on an old family recipe.
Apart from introducing unusual flavours such as apple crumble and cinnamon and after dinner mint, the company also offers specialities such as fudge wedding cakes and favours and bespoke designs for other occasions.
Each individual piece of fudge is handmade and the organic dairy produce used is sourced locally.
The companys confectionery is now sold nationwide and Michael has even supplied fancies for the Channel 5 reality TV show Big Brother.
And Michael is hoping to build on the success of coming third in the national Local Business Accelerators competition, organised by the Newspaper Society and judged and presented by Deborah Meaden of Dragons Den fame. Michael fought off competition from more than 3,000 UK companies to take the national honour.
The award led to him receiving professional advice and mentoring from Chris Petty, managing director of Stockton-based Cornerstone Business Solutions. Im not a sweet-toothed person but Michaels product blew me away, says Chris.
Since working together, Chris has now also become an investor in the company.
With Chris on-board to help me with the business side, it will leave me more time to focus on the creative side, working on new recipes and flavours, Michael added