Expansion for arts and crafts venture
By Nicky Carter - Reporter
A BARNARD Castle arts and craft business has expanded to allow for more workshops ro be run closer to home.
Chocolate Baroque, based in Harmire Industrial Estate, has been manufacturing intricately designed rubber stamps for the craft industry for the past four years.
Due to increasing demand and a desire to hold more workshops, husband-and-wife team Lesley and David Wharton have taken on offices at Enterprise House, across the road. Mrs Wharton, who bought the company in 2015, said: “It gives us the opportunity to run the workshops closer to home. Our unit here isn’t really set up for anyone other than David and I.”
The manufacturing base houses a range of state-of-the-art machinery.
Mrs Wharton said: “All our designs are unique to the company and have been produced by our designer, Sue, who unfortunately died earlier in the year. But she has left us with quite a legacy.”
The hand-drawn designs are rendered on the computer by Mrs Wharton before being sent to specialist plate makers. When the plates are returned, David manufactures the rubber stamps which can be used to decorate all kinds of art projects.
While many people may not be familiar with the company’s name, the couple say it has a large and loyal following. This has been built up thanks to the website and Mrs Wharton’s monthly appearances on TV demonstrating the latest additions to their stamping collection.
She added: “We were approached by two shopping channels not long after we bought the business.”
Once a month she spends several days at Hochanda TV studios near Peterborough, filming live shows for the shopping channel Hochanda.
She said: “Our shows are usually the first Tuesday of every month and I do two in one day alongside a presenter.”
Mrs Wharton says she has to come up with demonstrations for the show, which is aimed at highlighting the latest products they have.
She added: “We also have other items that we sell that complement our stamps and everything is sent out mail order.”
Mr Wharton remains at their headquarters ready to manufacturer orders and ship them out.
Their products are sent across the world including to Sweden, America, Greece and Holland as well as the UK.
In addition, the couple have been hosting workshops, giving crafters the opportunity to try out all the latest ideas and stamps. Mrs Wharton added: “Crafting can be quite an isolating hobby but we do run workshops and weekend residential and its a real social event where we swap ideas and tips and it can be very therapeutic.”
For more information about Chocolate Baroque, visit www.chocolatebaroque.com