Women in Innovation Award Winner: Michelle (Fanzi) Down, DPS Designs Ltd
KTN interviews Michelle (Fanzi) Down, Commercial Director of DPS Designs Ltd and 2016/17 Women in Innovation Award Winner, on developing a revolutionary chocolate moulding technique, transforming their business model and growing their customer base.
KTN interviews Michelle Fanzi Down, Commercial Director at DPS Designs, and Women in Innovation Award Winner.
KTN interviews Michelle (Fanzi) Down, Commercial Director of DPS Designs Ltd, and Women in Innovation Award Winner, on developing a revolutionary chocolate moulding technique, transforming their business model and growing their customer base.
“When the opportunity presented itself to come and work for the family business it was like a dream job for me, that I could transform the business model effectively.”
DPS is a unique business that works directly with retailers such as Aldi, Hotel Chocolat, M&S and Harrods to build their chocolate range by working from concept through design, to manufacturing. To their knowledge, they are the only company in the world that has this operating model that fuses an intimate understanding of retail, genuinely creative design, knowledge of chocolate manufacture, in-house tooling manufacture and mould making.
“If you can imagine for the business running for over 20 years, we had only ever dealt with UK based manufacturers and we never even dared to talk to the retailers directly. It’s a dream to even think about if we could ever supply a mould to manufacturers in Belgium or Germany or wherever. The Women in Innovation Award gave us the confidence, we can do it, we’re good enough, and we have the technology.”
How did Women in Innovation help?
“It has been a hugely positive experience and has come just at the right time for the business, giving us the confidence, and also outside expertise, to push forward at an uncertain time for businesses in general. Being involved in the award has been brilliant, it’s given me exposure to people who think creatively and have experiences that are both very similar and very different to my own.”
The Women in Innovation programme was first launched in 2016, and the award increased Fanzi’s confidence to think even further in the company’s aspirations. She had a clear vision of where she wanted to take the business, and she definitely had the tenacity and determination to succeed at it.
Impact / Outcomes
The world is DPS Designs’ oyster and further growth in international trade is certainly achievable. Their creativity and unique designs give them the advantage.
“We’re the only company that does this in our industry and we are a world-class company. We’ve gone through a transformation so that we’re ready as a business.”
For more information on Women in Innovation, visit the Programme page here.