New business venture is sweet success for Laura

Laura Rooney is having a ball with her new business ventures - and it's a sweet success for the Banbridge woman.
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'The Little Magic Ball Company' makes hot chocolate balls. These are chocolate spheres filled with hot chocolate powder and marshmallows. You pour hot milk onto them and they melt into luxury hot chocolates. Delicious!

There's been a major breakthrough for Laura recently, with her company announcing a new brand collaboration with another local firm, Rosie’s Bakes. One of Ireland's biggest bakeries, it stocks more than 500 stores and will now be the largest distributor of the hot chocolate balls.

Laura says: "Every single one of my ingredients are from Irish companies, as I love to support local. During Covid lockdown, I saw these being made in America and they were a huge hit. So I saw a gap in the market for them here and decided to experiment. After posting my first post on Instagram, only weeks later my product was FSA approved and on my first retail shelf in Lick Gelato in Newcastle."

The business has been a sweet success for Laura!The business has been a sweet success for Laura!
The business has been a sweet success for Laura!

The third anniversary of the company is coming up next week - and it's heartwarming! Laura adds: "On February 14, 2021, I made my product and created an Instagram page not knowing where it would lead to.

"Fast forward now three years on and I have stocked 81 different cafes and names within Northern Ireland and the UK - from Mauds to Morellis, to Nisa (wholesaler) and we can finally announce that we are now supplying for Rosie’s Bakes! This is our biggest deal to date and our biggest-ever order."

Laura has been determined to succeed in business. "My biggest driving force and reason to always push so well in all I do is being a single mother," she said. "I will never forget having to go to every meeting with potential new suppliers with my daughter Farrah by my side and introducing her as my business partner whilst apologising for how many times she would interrupt, or need to go to the toilet, or not let me hand over the hot chocolate balls because they were hers and then there would be tears.

"Through my social media platforms I have accumulated a big following who have given me the most amazing support."

Delicious…one of the luxury hot chocolate balls.Delicious…one of the luxury hot chocolate balls.
Delicious…one of the luxury hot chocolate balls.

There have been many challenges along the way. "In the background, as well as creating these little arty balls, I was also studying and I worked for PwC in Belfast, gaining more experience in the corporate world and expanding my qualifications in anti-money laundering and CIMA accounting level 2.

"The balance between trying to juggle a full-time job and a business and being a mummy was a lot of pressure. I left PwC in November and knew that it was now that I needed to put all my focus into this company because it had so much potential to expand due to interest from new stockists - and I haven’t looked back.

"Feedback from my customers and followers has been a huge driving force too and I always ask my customers what they want to see, what new flavours would they like - and listen to them. The company wouldn’t be what it is without my amazing customers so I always involve them in the process."

And there's more to come. "Seeing the business expand always excites me," said Laura. "I was worried about how I would manage alone and that’s when I decided to expand in numbers and bring in another business partner - Thomas O'Neill, also from Banbridge - last September. His background is in sales.

Laura & Thomas announce the new collaboration between the Little Magic Ball Co. and Rosie’s Bakes/Nutrilean.Laura & Thomas announce the new collaboration between the Little Magic Ball Co. and Rosie’s Bakes/Nutrilean.
Laura & Thomas announce the new collaboration between the Little Magic Ball Co. and Rosie’s Bakes/Nutrilean.

"By December, we had created a brand new product which was the first of its kind in the UK. A hemp tea and hot chocolate ball that also has health benefits.

"We created the 'Plant Based Ball Company' and we were blown away by how well it was received and how many people wanted to order. In our first week we had five retail stockists and for the entire month of January we worked together almost every night making the balls and expanding this second company.

"I have finally met someone who matched the same energy as me in my passion for business and who isn’t afraid of all the hard work that comes with it. In the first week of working with Thomas we landed our biggest deal with Rosie’s Bakes.

“We are lucky enough to have factory space within Banbridge and we are working with Innovate NI and hope to apply to Invest NI and get all the grants we need to develop this into a working space.

"This would bring job opportunities to local people in the future. We look forward to seeing what the future holds and it's extremely exciting. We have lots of new developments and plans and cannot wait till they 'roll out' because we are having a ball of a time!"

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