After developing his business plan with CIDO, Andrew Chatten tells us about O’Chatten Smokery, how business is going and his advice to anyone thinking of starting a business.
So tell us a bit about O’Chatten Smokery?
O’Chatten Smokery is Northern Ireland’s only commercial smokery, specialising in locally sourced vacuum packed artisan smoked foods. We started trading in summer 2016 and now provide many restaurants and outlets with a wide range of gourmet smoked foods, from smoked Lough Neagh Eels, chicken and duck breast fillets, pastrami and smoked cheeses. Amongst food circles the business has quickly grew in popularity and we have even secured orders from Fortnum & Mason, one of London’s top luxury stores, just two months after opening.
What motivated you to start your business?
After 25 years of working in the food industry, a chance tasting of some smoked chicken in Cornwall and having a passion for freshly cooked food I recognised the opportunity to start up my own venture within Northern Ireland. I always wanted to start something myself so I just thought it’s never too late and I haven’t looked back since.
How did the Go For It programme and CIDO help you start your business?
I knew I had a good business idea and I needed help to get my business off the ground. CIDO helped me with this through the Go For It programme. Working on an extensive business plan, the business adviser assisted me with all my questions, including marketing, financing and loan applications.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of starting their own business?
I think if you have a passion for something and you want to explore it as a business idea, don’t be afraid to take that risk. Make full use of the support available, set yourself some targets to achieve, work hard and you’ll definitely be heading in the right direction.
What do you feel is the most enjoyable aspect of running your own business?
I think it’s great to be doing something you’re enthusiastic about as it motivates myself to give everything to the business. It’s always good to see that so many people enjoy the your products and see the business itself grow and develop in such a short space of time.