A chocolate dream
What did you want to be when you grew up? A fireman? A nurse? A teacher? A chocolatier? Felicity Macdonald grew up to achieve the dream many children have, and now gets to spend her days making chocolates.
Felicity founded her chocolate company, Felicity’s Chocolates, in 2012. Her job gives her flexibility to work around her two children, Hamish who is 12-years-old, and 10-year-old William. The flexibility also allows her to go home for lunch sometimes, or drive into Alford for a swim.
Felicity said: “I may also go and see mum for a cup of tea if she is in. As I can please myself lunch time is flexible as opposed to working in the more formal atmosphere of an office where you have to take lunch at a set time. So my lunch ‘time' can be any time that I choose.”
Felicity started out not knowing a single thing about chocolate, other than eating milk chocolate. She used to be a qualified accident and emergency nurse, completed a BSC in critical care and started nursing in occupational health. It was issues with childcare that led her to give up nursing and make husband Rory the sole breadwinner.
She said: “I have found that starting, owning and growing a business and seeing my product going to highly rated hotels is much more satisfying than having to work in an organisation where your whole working day is restricted and pre-determined.
“The business has now outgrown the kitchen table as Rory no longer has space to make meals as the kitchen surfaces are covered with machinery, equipment and tempered chocolate waiting to be cut into slabs, chocolate in moulds waiting to harden, orders that need to be finished and boxes that need to be folded.
“The added and very nice bonus of business expansion is building our dream house with a designated business unit so that we can go back to having a domestic house and separate business unit.”
The family have been able to purchase some land and will be living in Dusty the motor home once they have found a buyer for their cottage. They currently live in a converted steading in Tough, near the primary school.
Felicity’s husband is an air ambulance fixed wing pilot and if he is working a late shift then Felicity might find herself tempering a small batch of chocolate, placing transfer sheets into moulds and putting the tempered chocolate in the moulds to harden.
The 49-year-old could find herself tempering a batch of four or seven kilograms of chocolates for stock, and that takes all morning, or she might start the day by going on a delivery or taking samples to a prospective customer.
If her husband Rory is not working then he will do all of the cooking, which must come as a relief after a day of making chocolate.
She said: “If he is working I do the usual, very unadventurous, sausage and mash, cheese on toast or mince and tatties, in essence nothing technical. Any food I do has to just go straight in the oven without any convoluted preparation.
“Rory does get time off when he does not have to cook which is once a year when I will cook him a meal on his birthday.
“If the kids have got clubs on in the evening then the mum and dad taxi service is put into action. If it is a non-club night then I make sure homework gets done. Depending on what orders I have I may temper chocolate to keep up to date with orders or finish packaging orders.”
Felicity loves the flexibility running her own business gives her. She is able to take holidays when she wants to fit in with her family and she can be creative every day working on bespoke orders for clients. On top of that, she gets to be her own boss and is now in charge of her own destiny.
She said: “I love being in the position of making my own decisions. Sometimes they are right, sometimes they are wrong. If this happens I learn from it, move on and do not have to justify my conclusion to anybody.”