How Islands Chocolate approached hiring a new Operations Manager to fulfil their ever-increasing sales demand


Wilf Marriott the founder of Islands Chocolate knew that building out his team was going to be the hardest on all fronts.

A farm to fork chocolate brand

Wilf, the founder of Islands Chocolate wanted to create a great tasting product with a fully ethical and traceable supply chain from farm to bite. Today, Wilf has developed a product range that meets the standards of top chefs as well as chocolate lovers across the country. The brand is most popular in high-end restaurants and foodservice sites.

Islands Chocolate
Building their team to serve high demand 

The closure of foodservice sites during the pandemic gave Wilf some unexpected time to plan a bumper reopening – this involved creating a team that would help his business get to the next level.

Having not managed an FMCG business before, Wilf did not know the team structuring models that are common in challenger FMCG brands. He knew what he wanted to achieve but was not clear on the resource requirements to deliver it – including the salaries, skills and experience, job titles and job descriptions.


“I did not have a great deal of business experience when I started looking for a new hire. It took me a long time to find the right candidate with the right experience – over a year – that’s why I decided to enlist help”


“Start by defining your own role”

The first advice we gave to Wilf was to imagine himself in the business – what role does he want to play? That will help define what roles he hires around him. Through plenty of back and forth it was clear Islands needed a hands-on Operations Manager. They required strong end-to-end supply chain knowledge and the ability to work confidently in an ambiguous and fast growth working environment.

Wilf worked with our Recruitment Team to build a strong brief for this role, not just establishing Island’s needs but also creating the sell for attracting a top-tier candidate to work for an unproven start-up. 

We were able to advise Wilf on what to expect from the process and how to effectively interview – so when it all kicked off he felt absolutely confident.

“YFs experience coupled with my gut feel was the perfect combination. To have a second opinion on the candidates was invaluable and limited the risk of me making any errors”

After Wilf led a stellar interview process, meeting a diverse variety of people, he ended up interviewing and then eventually hiring his dream Operations Manager.

Wilf - Islands Chocolate
Islands Chocolate has accelerated in growth

Now, post-pandemic, we are pleased to see the team thriving with the volumes substantially returning. Wilf is focused on running the business and further growing the team while his Operations Manager takes the weight of the rest. A fantastic outcome for the business.

“More than just a recruiter”

“I felt that YF were fully on my team. They became a partner I could trust, knowing they would go above and beyond to find the right candidate for the position. I was able to have an honest dialogue with the team throughout the process saving myself a lot of time and stress”

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “Using services like YF provides you with more time”

“Initially I did not like the idea of paying a recruitment fee and believed I could achieve the same outcome myself with no cost. However, I learnt the hard way that this was not the case. It is not just about the time you take to hire someone, it is also the time you invest in onboarding and training, and if after 3 months you find out the candidate is not the right fit, you have actually lost 6+ months. By using YF I removed any risk and saw the value in using someone with better experience than me, ultimately saving time. Clearly it worked.”

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “A real challenger”

“Finding the right hire can be hard and brands often fall into the same potholes when doing it. These can be deadly for young brands. After Wilf had been through a really tough experience on hiring, we were delighted to get the call from him to support. He listens to advice and trusts his instincts in equal measure - this is exactly what we want in our clients. And by giving clear and direct feedback on all interviews, I am so happy to say we found him the perfect person for the role. It’s great to see the impact it has had already and we look forward to supporting the team growth even more. We wish him and the team the best of luck.” .

3 things Wilf learnt in hiring and building a new team


1. “Invest in the right talent. Saving money here is a false economy.”

2. “Get the job spec nailed before starting interviews”.

3. “Using partners such as YF can derisk the recruitment process saving you both time and money”.

Do you need help recruiting too?

Our Talent Team are the only specialist recruiters for high-growth FMCG and consumer brands.

From junior roles to executive positions such as Heads of and Directors we can help you find the right talent for your business.

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