A smashing idea!

Work experience alumni Ella Chadderton explains how her placement helped develop the skills needed to launch Chocolate Explosion Boxes.

Nikki Lee


After completing a work placement alongside Nice Network Head of Marketing, Nikki Lee, Ella Chadderton decided to put the skills and knowledge she gained to good use with the launch of her own start-up business.

Aged just 17-years-old, Ella started producing and selling Chocolate Explosion Boxes during the Covid-19 pandemic and – over the past few months – has gone on to sell hundreds of boxes to customers across the region.

We caught up with Ella to hear all about her business and how her works placement at Nice Network helped give her the confidence required to set up the company…

What are Chocolate Explosion Boxes?

Chocolate Explosion Boxes are made up of two or three boxes within each other, each containing a variety of chocolate bars. Once opened, the sides drop revealing the chocolate and this is repeated for each box.

We offer a bespoke service for our customers as each box is tailored to the customer’s requirements, providing a new way to present traditional gifts. I am guided by the needs of my customers and it sets me apart from mainstream suppliers.

I supply mainly chocolate and confectionary presented in an innovate way and have made boxes containing other products, again reiterating the principle of my business in being customer guided and focused.

What inspired you to set up the business?

The first box I made was an anniversary present, based on the positive feedback of various family members and friends. I spotted an opportunity to fill a gap in the market and decided to go for it.

When did you set up the business and how has it grown since?

I started in August 2020 by setting up Facebook and Instagram pages and posted a video of my original box, initially I offered three tier boxes which retailed at £35.

Based on requests from potential customers, I then launched a two-tier box which I retailed at £20. I have also run a monthly raffle on my Facebook page which has generated further interest and sales.

To date I have sold over 280 boxes.

What did your work experience at Nice Network include?

I assisted Nikki and the team  with the rebrand of the company from CCS to Nice Network, this included ordering promotional items for staff and customers.

I also shadowed the marketing manager [Nikki], which included attending meetings, taking phone calls and dealing with customers. I finished my time at Nice Network doing a presentation to the MD, sales director and sales team.

This helped me further develop my key computer skills – proficiency in Word, PowerPoint and Excel.

What three key lessons did you learn from your time at Nice Network?

Nice Network is a customer focused business, and this was my main take away from my work experience as evidenced above.

I assisted with the rebranding from CCS to Nice Network this gave me insight into the branding process.

I was also tasked to identify and order products such as t-shirts, pens and water bottles to promote the rebranding. This gave me the confidence within my own business to deal with suppliers of my products.

How important do you think work placements are in terms of preparing young people for the world of work and learning about business?

My time at Nice Network taught me a great deal about business. I learnt the importance of working to deadlines and it instilled in me the importance of listening to customers. It has been beneficial as I was brought ‘out of my comfort zone’ and this has given me the confidence to start my own business.

I also learnt the importance of managing a budget and developed my own mechanisms in business management such as the ordering of stock, monitoring turnover and marketing my products.

What  three nuggets of advice would you give to fellow young people thinking of starting a business?

  1. Listen to your customers – which has led to positive testimonials which can be used as a marketing tool
  2. Be disciplined in working to deadlines
  3. Don’t be complacent – each box I make is very important to the individual customer and therefore the quality has to remain high.