The fact that you are reading this tells me that you are interested in finding out a little more about me (Lynda Pedder, owner and founder of Poppy’s Chocolate) and us, the people that make Poppy’s Chocolate great.
So, here it is, my (our) story.
“Where can I get some quality chocolates?”
Little did I know, but that simple question, would take me on a journey into CHOCOLATE LAND, a journey I never imagined! I was on the search for some quality chocolates on the Gold Coast as a gift 🎁 to myself in early 2005. Well, actually, I had told my (then) husband that if he ever wanted to do something romantic 🌹 for me, he could simply buy me some good QUALITY chocolates 🍫.
However, I almost immediately realised that he probably had NO IDEA what GOOD CHOCOLATES were, so I embarked on a search myself with a MISSION TO EDUCATE. 🤣
Soon, I was very disappointed 😢, because I couldn’t find any that met MY STANDARDS! There were some chocolate shops but the quality of these was sadly lacking and I just couldn’t believe that it was THAT HARD to find gourmet chocolates on the Gold Coast. I travelled further afield to Brisbane, and then Sydney, and found these scenes rather lacking in good quality as well.
Like an excited kid wanting to OWN their own Candy shop 🍭, I jumped straight in! This MUST BE AN OPPORTUNITY! Having worked in PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT for the LARGEST privately owned food production company in THE WORLD, and having past experience as a business owner, I knew I had the skills to do it. Yet doing it, making chocolates, would take me into unchartered waters. I embarked on a new mission: MAKE THE BEST CHOCOLATES IN AUSTRALIA.
I had made chocolates as a teenager with my grandma 👩👧, so I knew the basics and always loved making them. A small Brisbane chocolate business, which been making chocolates since 1993 for hotels and airlines, happened to be for sale. "THIS IS IT!" I told my (then) husband. "We should buy this. We can turn this into a PREMIUM chocolate supplier. There is nothing great out there. Especially not in Queensland."
So we did, and I immediately started overhauling products. First port of call, quality. Then we launched a new range to become the FIRST chocolatiers, in Australia, making QUALITY COLOURED CHOCOLATES. I wanted them to just look amazing. But more importantly, they had to taste DIVINE!
We moved the business to Beenleigh, conveniently halfway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and I bought a café on the Gold Coast only 6 weeks after buying the chocolate business. Yes, I know that is pure insanity, but I had a grand vision. We could convert the café into QUEENSLAND’S FIRST CHOCOLATE CAFÉ, Choclicious. People thought I was crazy. Maybe I was, maybe I wasn’t! My grandmother had embedded (yes I mean embedded) a love of sweets and desserts in me that made narrowing down the product choices for our café customers really difficult but also, always fun. CREATING! I was doing something that allowed me to be creative, while using every inch of my business and corporate experience at the same time as experiencing the thrill of not knowing what the hell I was doing.
After 6 years (and the GFC) we decided to concentrate on wholesale, so sold 2 Choclicious cafes. Our wholesale business and the factory expanded over the years and needed more of our focus. However, I love selling chocolates directly to the person enjoying them because I just love watching their faces and the joy they experience when they eat good chocolates. So, when an opportunity came up to expand our factory into the adjacent unit, I was quick to decide we would also start selling directly to the public from the Beenleigh factory. This was 2011.
As some of you might know, having your own business and growing it, tests all relationships to the max. Unfortunately, not long after expanding, my husband decided this life was not for him and moved away.
Here I was. Suddenly having to manage the business and bring up 3 small children 👩👧👧, on my own. We divorced a year later. The journey has not been an easy one and it is challenging enough to be a single parent let alone run a business at the same time.
My passion 💟 for chocolate kept me going then, and still does today. More importantly, my passion for teaching my children that you have to work hard for what you want and, leading by example, allowed me to draw strength during difficult and challenging periods. When I watch someone who has either a very difficult day or has very challenging life circumstances, eat one of our chocolates, I see how simple it is to give people moments of joy in their life in an otherwise painful time for them. This is never far from my mind.
I see chocolate as a physical representation of love and I believe that aside from the magical taste, this is what makes it a product that people become passionate about. For me, it truly is a food with soul.
In 2016, after being pursued by Robina Town Centre to open a chocolate shop, for over 6 months, I finally gave in and returned to focused retail. We loved being back in a busy shopping environment and loved our regulars. After 6 years in Robina, at the beginning of 2023, we closed the Robina store, making the tough decision not to renew the lease. We miss our regulars and love it when they come to visit us at Beenleigh.
Our online business has grown so much between launch on November 30, 2019 and now, we wanted to focus on sending Joy ALL OVER AUSTRALIA and to the rest of the world. We are ecstatic to be delivering chocolates directly to our favourite people right around Australia. That is you! If you have read this far, I know you are one of my kind – a chocolate lover at heart and someone who understands how good great chocolate can make you feel. Let’s go on this journey together.
During the challenges of 2020-2021, we had trouble getting freeze dried fruit 🍓 that we used in our chocolates and embarked on becoming a freeze drying business as well. Little did we know that would take us on another taste sensation journey as we started freeze drying lollies, icecreams, cheesecakes and anything else we could experiment with including pumpkin to make chocolate pumpkin pies! 🎃
My 3 children have grown a lot since the beginning with my daughter now working with me and my eldest son sometimes helping when we're busy. My youngest just helps with taste testing and eating the chocolates and freeze dried lollies!
One may consider me insane and it definitely has been a roller coaster ride. But, I still LOVE CHOCOLATE and it has helped to keep my sanity! What is so important, and so many people in business forget this, your business is nothing without all the amazing people that work in it. I am fortunate to say that I have amazing chocolatiers and team members, without whom it would not be possible to make you the best chocolates in Australia.
I hope you enjoy our chocolates as much as we LOVE MAKING THEM FOR YOU.
With love, passion and dedication, Lynda Pedder and TEAM POPPY’S 🤗💏
P.S. These are the 3 questions I am most frequently asked:
1. Do you still eat chocolate? Of course! Every day! A day without chocolate is a day without sunshine.
2. Why aren’t you fat? (Yes, people do actually ask me this very frequently) Because good chocolate is good for you! If this is a concern, or you try and limit your calories, consider dark chocolate. I love my milk, but damn, a good dark chocolate is like a good red wine. Maybe takes some time to get used to the additional nuances, but once you do, a whole new world opens up. Dark chocolate accelerates your metabolism, which helps your burn those calories, rather than storing it.
3. Why is it called Poppy’s Chocolate? Poppy is my nickname. My mum used to call me Lollipop and then derivatives of this. Lol, Lolly, Pop, Poppy so it is fitting that my nickname is from sweets (which I have always loved) and that my chocolate business is called Poppy’s.