The ancient bean that will replace coffee in your morning cup
Liam Browne believes in the power of cacao, hence the name Full Power Cacao. He has built a successful retail business via his website and offers cacao ceremonies and training. With help from Recipe4Success he passed £100k in sales in just over a year.
We spoke to him about why he’s such proponent of pure cacao and its mental and physical benefits and believes it can replace coffee in peoples’ morning routine.
What’s the background to you setting up Full Power Cacao?
I spent some time in Guatemala, Central America in 2012 where I learnt all about how cacao is used there, both in terms of a drink but also in ceremonies. I started bringing this pure form of cacao back to the UK, and it’s been developing since then. I wasn’t really aware of the quality of what I did until people started pointing it out and that it was something unique.
And then it was like, OK, now I want to have my own cacao brand. There were quite a lot of issues importing this cacao at the time, and it was quite expensive. I'd just been doing it for friends really and then there was a massive issue with the Guatemalan Post Office for quite a few years.
I was buying cacao from other brands and I found that the Cacao was good, it's a high quality. But what they do with it is not specifically what I wanted. I was more interested in the ceremonies that they do, the way it's used-so, I went on a mission to find the finest ceremonial grade cacao in the world.
I went with Venezuelan cacao, it's quite a unique cacao. It's the most chocolate tasting. It is the best, without doubt, at least for me. Energy and nutritional content are at super food qualities. There are only two others on a par with it on the market.
How was it finding your place in an already niche market?
We've become already one of the major players in the UK, I think, in terms of sales. Which has all been pretty much totally organic, through social media, promoting what I do, the ceremonies, the teacher trainings, the facilitator training and all that.
I think people buy into the energy that I and my partner put into it and the name Full Power, which kind of does exactly what it says on the tin. Our brand is incredible.
The two sides of the business, the selling of the cacao and the ceremony and training side, they feed into each, and complement each other.
At what point did GC Business Growth Hub enter the picture?
It was a business coach that I work with called Martin Lloyd, who's based out in Cheadle. He knows quite a few people from the GC Business Growth Hub and he said ‘Oh you need to get on this’. He said it would be good for my business. So that was it.
I applied for the Recipe4 Success programme and got a place on that, then obviously met Marc Appleton, Recipe4Success programme lead. And all the other people who have got businesses in Manchester and were on the course.
It was really enlightening, because there were so many vegan non-alcoholic and ethical companies there, I was shocked really. I wasn't expecting that. But I guess, you know, that's where it's all going towards now, it’s not always about having a unique product now. Everybody on the course just loves what they do.
What support did you get from Recipe4Success?
What I got from the programme were ideas. Ideas on where I can improve, where we can generate more sales, where we can, for instance, get better e-mail marketing.
All the way through the sessions I was constantly writing, constantly messaging my PA, just to say right, we need to do this, make a note of this. The sessions really sparked a lot of ideas and actions, which was amazing and really valuable.
It was also an opportunity to be in a room with 10 people and educate them about cacao and its benefits. Not a lot of people know about it. And then it was just very good getting the vibe of other people being passionate about what they're doing.
And for me, it's the fact that what we're doing with Full Power Cacao is that we are changing people's lives. It's a very good and is a natural antidepressant. It gives people a new lease of life and purpose. It gets rid of all their negative emotions and thoughts. And so yeah, all the benefits are just incredible.
Marc Appleton, Recipe4Success programme lead
How has Full Power Cacao progressed?
Well, the initial selling of cacao, and the training and ceremonies, paid for the IT side of things and for the website. We launched the business and the website on 12th December 2021 and that's when the people started ordering online.
We hit £100,000 worth of online sales at the beginning of this year, which is pretty incredible in just over a year. That was just solely through the website.
Obviously, there is a lot of other sales events and festivals that I sell in person and that is not accounted for in that calculation.
The bigger picture for us is to is to have a movement where we're taking over from coffee within 10 years. Not necessarily just Full Power, but to be the leading light within that. I talked about all this at the first session with Recipe4Sucess and you know everybody, Marc included, looked at me like I was a nutter when I said it's going to take over from coffee within 10 years, but I think the more they've got to know me and the more they've seen the progression of what I do, I think a few of them are going, you know, this could actually happen.
Do you drink coffee at all?
Coffee's nice, but it makes me too jittery, I actually had a decaf this morning because I came across a coffee guy trying to convince me of the health benefits of coffee. I can’t remember what his company is called, but apparently the way his coffee is roasted and extracted, it's good for you. The way he described it, his business is awesome.
At the end of the day, it's like with cacao, by the time it’s gone through lots of processing and been turned into a chocolate bar sold in a supermarket, it's lost all of its natural goodness. So, I'm guessing there's probably the same argument with coffee, and you know, both are essentially seeds off a tree.
As a yoga teacher and health advocate Coffee is a cup of anxiety and stress like swimming on a sea of razor blades. It puts us into the sympathetic nervous system, which keeps us on edge and in our fight and flight response system.
CACAO is a cup of love abundance and joy. it's a super food and healing plant medicine. Drops us into the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing us to be creative and full of love. It has magical properties and contains the BLISS molecule Anandamide. Cacao is like floating and a cloud and being given a warm fluffy cuddle. Lady Cacao has got your back.
Why be half power when you can be FULL POWER!!