Sheffield vegan chocolatier sees sales double during lockdown
A Sheffield-based vegan chocolatier has seen their sales double since the first national lockdown, providing them with the capital to move into a premises in an up-and-coming neighbourhood.
The idea for Truffle Pig Vegan came about after founder and self-taught chocolatier, Lily Gaskell, started to make vegan truffles to give to loved ones as Christmas presents with a more personal touch.
“I was working in a place in town making cakes, and I wanted to started making vegan cakes. And then I started making truffles for Christmas presents, and chose truffles because I thought they’d be easy to roll,” she said.
Lily says she taught herself the art of chocolate making by “getting things wrong,” and soon set up the business, specialising in hand-made vegan chocolate, with her partner, Ian Everett.
The couple, who are both vegan, operated from their house in Handsworth for their first three years of trading, but after experiencing an upturn in sales following lockdown one, they decided to move to their first professional premises on Burton Road in Kelham Island.
"We moved here because we couldn’t keep up with the amount of sales for a while and had to do a weekly restock, because people were treating themselves...we still can’t really keep up because it’s just the two of us,” said Lily, adding that their sales have doubled to around 250 per week, including shop orders, since last March.
"When we started we thought we'd be happy with around 40 sales a week, so it’s been incredible,” Lily said.
Lily says Truffle Pig Vegan, which ships to customers across the country, were one of the first companies in the country to make a vegan Creme Egg-type product a couple of Easters ago, and customers continue to enjoy their replicas of popular, milk chocolate bars.
Their Easter range, which includes caramel and chocolate Creme Egg truffles and Bueno Easter eggs, have completely sold out.
Lily says the support Truffle Pig Vegan has received from other Sheffield businesses has been brilliant and is a testament to the sense of community present throughout the city.
Since launching in 2016, when Lily was just 23-years-old, Truffle Pig Vegan has won two silver awards in the Free From Food Awards, going up against supermarket giants, Asda and Tesco.
Running a successful business keeps Lily pretty busy, but she still finds the time for both roller derby and Olympic weightlifting, which she took up during lockdown.
"I’ve taken part in my first weight lifting championship and came 5th in the country in my weight class. I’m hoping to qualify for the British team,” said Lily.
Looking forward to the future and post-Covid trading, Lily says she and Ian hope to welcome people inside Truffle Pig Vegan for tours and for workshops, something she thinks could work well for hen parties.
If sales continue to grow, Lily would like to possibly take on more staff, but wants to retain the company’s ethos which focuses on quality, handmade ingredients that are locally-sourced where possible.
You can buy Truffle Pig Vegan from a number of shops in Sheffield, including Beanie’s Wholefoods on Barber Road in Crookesmoor and The Incredible Nutshell on Chesterfield Road in Heeley, and online by visiting their website: https://www.trufflepigvegan.com/