Ferenc is the creative brains behind the business. A keen eye for design and a background in printing and packaging, means he’s well placed to be the ‘arty’ one!
Jocelyn is the techie of the partnership. She is the nerd who has an extensive background in website development and programming, knows all the DTP and Office packages, fixes all the hardware and software issues and writes most of the copy. She has a background in both IT and Public Relations, meaning she is the bridge between the two fields.
Jocelyn and Ferenc Droppa moved to Bideford, Devon in September 2004 with their very young children – prior to having children Ferenc was a financial services project manager and Jocelyn an IT manager for a hotel booking agency. They both gave up these senior jobs and moved to Devon to ‘live the dream’.
Jocelyn was diagnosed a coeliac in 1995. At that time fresh gluten free food was largely unavailable with just a few small producers, so they decided to start baking gluten free food to supply both direct customers at home and the food service industry. They successfully ran this gluten, wheat and dairy free bakery from their house so they could effectively stay at home with their children in their formative years.
As part of running their own business, they called into practice all the elements of their studies and previous jobs. Ferenc, with a print and packaging degree was able to utilise those skills when developing the packaging required to send food by mail order. Not only did it have to protect the product so that it arrived in a condition to be served to customers, in terms of the look of the product, but it also had to be kept chilled so that it remained fresh.
Jocelyn used her IT skills to build and develop the company’s websites and her public relations skills (she has a masters’ degree in Public Relations) to write the copy for the marketing material and websites.
The industry changed and grew massively over the ten years they baked for. Legislative updates meant that the provision of gluten free food and its labelling had a significant impact on any serving food. Jocelyn and Ferenc developed a training product for the industry – Catering for a Gluten Free Diet (www.glutenfreetraining.co.uk) – to help caterers understand the impact of serving gluten free meals. The emphasis of the training is that it’s not just about the kitchen and reducing the risk of contamination with allergens, but it’s about the overall dining experience for the consumer.
The training can be purchased via the website – www.glutenfreetraining.co.uk and it is watched either on-line or via a DVD. Templates to assist with procedural documentation are included.
In June 2015, they were the proud joint winner of the North Devon Journal’s Micro Business of the Year Award. They were granted the accolade for their Employment Practices; their Approach To Growth; Support for Staff Training & Development; What Makes Our Products and Services Unique; Innovation and Customer Service.
By July 2015, the training had grown so that it took up more and more time. Also Jocelyn was asked to produce websites and write content for clients, Ferenc was offered several long term contracts back in financial print and thus they took a big leap and closed the food manufacturing business.
The company has now evolved once more into the media company that it is today – providing a synergistic mix of media related functions that can truly enable a company to communicate more effectively.