Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Dorset company makes mouthwatering "Marshmellows"

Catch sight of a stand in a food festival offering Marshmellows for sale and you could be forgiven for thinking that someone had made a spelling mistake. But you’d be wrong!

Gavin and Jackie, the couple behind the Dorset company Miss Marshmellow, decided that the delicious marshmallows that they hand-made were so soft and smooth that they needed their own name, to distinguish them from the commercial 'pink and white ones'. And so Marshmellows were born - marshmallows but mellower!

The inspiration for the business started whilst they were on their honeymoon in Provence in 2011. They loved the local Montelimar Nougat and wanted to be able to produce something similar using Dorset honey and other local ingredients.

After trying out various recipes, and experimenting with sugar technology, Gavin made some flavoured marshmallows that were pronounced 'fantastic' by willing tasters from amongst their family and friends.

Gavin then spent the winter extending the range of flavours, which involved tweaking both the proportions of the ingredients and the details of the process, and finally, in the spring of 2012, 'Miss Marshmellow' was ready to go.

"We are passionate about using only real flavour ingredients in our Marshmellows," Jackie explained, "and there are no artificial colours or preservatives either. Gavin zests and juices our lemons, we use a high cacao chocolate and melt it into our chocolate range and if we can use locally produced fruit, then we do... And the flavours really do taste wonderful."
"The range we make changes seasonally and we love trying out new flavour ideas and combinations, often those suggested by customers."

'Miss Marshmellow's Marshmellows can be found in a few specialist shops, mostly in Dorset, although the couple find that having a stand at food festivals and markets is the most enjoyable way of selling their product. "We like to interact with our customers," Gavin explained. "We always offer lots of samples, because people won't know how good they are, and how different to 'ordinary' marshmallows, unless they taste them, and customer feedback is really important to us in helping us to develop our product."

At the start of this year, Jackie and Gavin were delighted to be chosen by Theo Paphitis, from Dragon's Den, for one of his Small Business Sunday Awards. "It's really helped our business. We've had many more orders online, through our website, and it gave us a boost, personally, to know that he had recognised our business in that way."

"This year," Gavin added, "we are planning to be at many more food festivals and events locally, and we're also moving into the wedding market; our Marshmellows make great wedding favours. A bit further in the future, but within this coming year, we're planning to take our Marshmellows to one of the specialist food fairs in London."

Jackie and Gavin haven’t forgotten their original idea of making nougat, and are still working on it. "Next year we'd like to be able to offer Dorset Nougat as well as Marshmellows...and, of course, we'll continue to work on increasing our range of Marshmellows whilst ensuring that the flavours remain real."

Read some of our other Dorset business start-up stories.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Celebrating 50 years of Dorset's leading commercial property provider

Mickey Jones of DJ Property at Link Park, Weymouth
DJ Property, based in Weymouth, Dorset, is celebrating 50 years in business this summer.

The company, founded by David Jones in 1963, was one of the first located on the Granby Industrial Estate in Weymouth and was responsible for many of the buildings on that site.

Mickey Jones, one of David's three sons and Chief Executive of DJ Property, said this is a very special year for the family business. Mickey said: "Dad was instrumental in the development of the Granby Industrial Estate and probably the main reason why today it is the leading employment site in South Dorset.  For decades he promoted the estate and the businesses based on it, with great success.  The Granby is now the first choice of most businesses looking for premises in South Dorset."

DJ Property is marking their landmark anniversary by launching a competition to design the 'David Jones Memorial' with Weymouth College stonemasonry students. The memorial, in memory of the founder of DJ Property, will be sited at Link Park, Weymouth's newest business park.

"I have been looking forward to including a memorial to Dad’s business achievements at our newest development, Link Park, and it is fitting that this memorial will be completed in DJ Property’s 50th year of business," said Mickey Jones.

He added:  "I really wanted to involve the skills of the students at Weymouth College, and the competition brief was to use materials that played a part in Dad’s life such as Portland stone and steel.

My father spent his early years on Portland, and, from quite humble beginnings, worked hard to build DJ Property into the largest provider of commercial property in South Dorset.  DJ Property remains a very successful family business and we work hard to continue to invest in the local economy and its people."

To find out more about DJ property visit their website by clicking here.

Read some of our Dorset business start-up stories here

Friday, April 12, 2013

New magazine delivers luxury lifestyle across rural Dorset

A new luxury lifestyle magazine for Dorset has launched this month, combining the best in quality country living with stylish city dwelling. 

The magazine, ‘Village’ is currently distributed to local villages in and around Piddle Valley and Blackmore Vale in Dorset. It makes no secret of being aimed at affluent residents, being delivered direct to homes with a value of £850k or more.

The publication is the product of collaboration between strategic marketing agency Cre8ive Wisdom and advertising sales and distribution specialist, Mogul Media.

Publisher of ‘Village’ and Managing Director of Cre8ive Wisdom, Neil Armstrong, explains:

“There was a real gap in the market for a luxury lifestyle magazine aimed at people who live in the Dorset countryside, but also still have one toe in the city.

Mogul Media MD Danny Nash and I pooled our substantial publishing and distribution experience to create our first issue. We’re delighted with the positive reception we’ve received and hope to make the magazine monthly, with different editions in different parts of Dorset as soon as we can.”

Mixing the very best of opulent rural living and city trends, the first issue features Julia Bradbury as its cover girl with an exclusive interview and competition by the ‘Countryfile’ star.

The restaurant review section highlights gastronomic delights, both rurally and in London. The first issue features The Priory restaurant in Wareham, specialising in locally-sourced dishes, and the prestigious London restaurant, The Ivy.

The fashion-oriented ‘Lookbook’ section includes an interview with top London designer Maria Grachvogel while the ‘Treasure Trove’ article looks at jewellery designer Tessa Metcalfe.

Village magazine may be picked up from quality restaurants, hotels and other establishments in Dorset.

For more information about 'Village', or to view the latest edition online, visit

Read more Dorset business start-up stories here.