Sam Bouton of Kelsale-based Truffles Et Al praises support from enterprise agency Menta

Sam Bouton making truffles in her kitchen.

Sam Bouton making truffles in her kitchen. - Credit: Archant

Last September, Suffolk-based Sam Bouton decided to join the Menta-ERDF Business Start Right Programme and launch her own business, Truffles Et Al, creating hand-made luxury truffles.

Having been an enthusiastic home baker for many years, she took the product development stage in her stride but found self-confidence a bigger challenge when it came to getting the business off the ground.

“I only decided to concentrate on making truffles at the end of September,” said Ms Bouton. “I’d been making chocolates and cakes as a hobby while my husband and I previously lived in France, but after moving back to the UK I realised that I wanted to do this properly so I took a Level 2 catering course, read up on technique and started experimenting with different chocolates and flavourings.

“I eventually decided on a high cocoa percentage Belgian chocolate because although different from the Swiss chocolate I’d been using in France, it seemed to give a better taste, and how the product tastes is the most important thing.”

The workshop sessions were “interesting, informative and motivating”, and enterprise agency Menta also provided some useful contacts with professionals, such as Sara Green from Sara Green PR. The biggest challenge, said Ms Bouton, was self-confidence, but the support of Menta helped here too.

“The biggest challenge was self-belief or lack of it – I worry that nobody will think my chocolates are any good, even though I know they are; worry that because I’m so new at this someone will turn around to me and say, ‘You’re doing this all wrong’,” she said.

“Gary Parker, one of the advisers from Menta, who helped me, reassured me this is commonly referred to as “imposter syndrome” and affects lots of new business owners and entrepreneurs.

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“I’m finally getting past that now and have started building my confidence as I meet more and more like-minded people going through the same experiences.”