Fife Business Matters met up with business man David Archer, Managing Director of Sephra Europe Ltd and heard how his love of music led to the creation of an innovative, fun foods company.
David Archer’s love of music and his eye for a business opportunity were what led him to purchase his first chocolate fountain in 2005. Whilst performing at weddings with his band, Big Night Out, David identified a demand for chocolate fountains and set up Chocolate Fountain Warehouse. By 2008, David had formed a partnership with Sephra LP in America and was running Sephra Europe Ltd, the leading manufacturer of chocolate fountains.
Sephra Europe shows all the signs of a dynamic and innovative company, with a host of fun food products being sold around the world. It has just won a significant contract to supply purpose built Self-Serve Popcorn Machines to 250 Asda stores across the UK, following the completion of a 22 store trial. This contract is expected to treble the Kirkcaldy based business’ turnover, and has resulted in the creation of three new jobs.
David Archer said: “This contract with Asda will change the face of our business, but our feet are firmly on the ground. We have a wide client base around the world from New Caledonia off the Australian coast, to Saudi Arabia and Nigeria, and our core values remain. Keeping our customers happy and delivering the best possible customer service is critical to our continued success.”
Sephra Europe’s online presence combined with its willingness to meet new buyers, has resulted in a number of other new deals. It’s just signed a £300,000 distributor deal to sell its products in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait. Discussions are also ongoing with Premier Inn, with a view to it trialing its Belgian Waffle Maker and Walmart in America, which has expressed interest in Sephra’s Self-Serve Popcorn Machine and new Rotary Donut Maker.
David commented: “I like to meet new food buyers and showcase our innovative range of products and have recently returned from an ‘To The Table’ event in Dubai, where there was much talk of the importance of the ‘theatre’ of food, which our products fit into well.”
Over 50 per cent of Sephra Europe’s products and consumables are exported to Europe and the Middle East, with 95 per cent of its UK business in England. Despite that, David says Fife is still the place to do business.
“Fife is an ideal location for us, with close proximity to Edinburgh and Glasgow airports as well as to Grangemouth for those products that are being shipped abroad.”
Sephra Europe was awarded an East of Scotland Investment Fund (ESIF) loan back in 2014 to support its cash flow and allow for the restructuring of the business. It has also benefited from business advice from Business Gateway Fife and financial support to attend a number of international food exhibitions and events from Scottish Development International, as well as export help from Fife Chamber of Commerce, which was recognised at the 2015 Fife Business Awards, with Sephra winning the Exporter of the Year Award.