“Why I returned to the Yarra Valley”

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Fudge by Rich is a small family business founded by Nicole Street. This former pilot was lucky enough to be exposed to different cultures and foods during her work travel across the globe. When she was looking for a change in direction, she decided to swap flying for producing chocolate in the beautiful Yarra Valley.

Q. Why did you start your small business?
After working as a commercial pilot for Ansett Australia, I found myself moving home to the Yarra Valley. I was very inspired by some of the delicious hazelnut chocolates we came across in Italy. Given Yarra Valley’s reputation for amazing food and produce, I thought I might try my hand at producing high quality fudge chocolates sourcing what I could from surrounding farms and local producers.

Q. What do you love most about working in small business?
I have been able to allow the business to grow as I was ready for it at a pace that my life has allowed it. I also feel very proud that I am able to provide a very family-friendly work environment. Our employees are able to work school hours and still be there to pick up their children from school. I also love the feedback and appreciation shown by all of our customers. It is really nice to see that people actually care about where their food is coming from and see the value that people place on Handmade Artisan products. 

Fudge by Rich make their products with the best quality raw ingredients

Q. What are your biggest challenges?
The biggest challenge that I am facing, and many other small businesses too, is when and how to scale up. It has been a fine line at times knowing when to take that leap of faith. Financing these moves is the biggest challenge for small business. I have changed my approach and now implement the scale up before it is needed. I find it keeps you motivated to keep on evolving.

Q. Do you have any tips to deal with chasing late payments?
I find that the squeaky wheel gets the oil. I email overdue accounts and follow up with a phone call once a week until the payment is made. People with bad credit history tend to become strictly COD (Cash on Delivery).

Q. What do you wish you knew when you began your business?
I wish I was told to back myself, to have confidence in renting a kitchen or hiring that extra staff member. I wish I had been told that once you do it, you will never look back.

“Once you do it, you will never look back”

Q. What are you looking forward to next?
We have just launched our new range of Walkers Lane Yarra Valley Crunchy Brittle. I have invested a lot of energy and time into designing this product. I am very excited to see where it takes us next!

Q. Do you go on regular holidays?
I do have regular holidays, but not necessarily at the same time every year. However, we do manage to get away quite often. I think it is very important for both our family and my own sanity!

Q. What do you do to take care of yourself and your relationships?
I love my mountain bike! I have an active lifestyle with my husband and kids. We enter mountain bike races regularly and the kids are not old enough to ride in our team with us. It is great where we live being surrounded by the beautiful Yarra Valley hills. I think getting in amongst the fresh air of the bush always puts a smile on my face. We also place a big importance on great food and eating together. It is very important to keep work-life balance in check when working in your own small business as when the balance tips, things slowly start to crumble.

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Small business: making a difference

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