Everyone is sad that Colman’s Norwich factory is closing. Mustard has been made in Norwich since 1858. This EDP report tells the story.
More than 180 people supported a crowdfunding campaign that has allowed us to set up and prepare our business plan. Later, there will be a community share issues. This will give everyone the chance to own shares in Norwich Mustard.
To give you a taste of what is to come, we are having a pilot batch of wholegrain mustard made for us. This will use imported mustard grain and be made in Suffolk. We have mustard being grown for us here in Norfolk and later this year, we hope to start production on a modest scale in the city of Norwich.
We think that you will love Norwich Mustard. It will taste good and prove with every mouthful that community owned business really can cut the mustard.
Norfolk has a rich tradition of bucking the trend and doing things differently. Norwich Mustard is of course an example of that. We want to go one better than to simply retain Norwich making in Norwich. People in Norwich loved Colman’s because thevy cared for the community within which their mustard was produced. They did much more than provide jobs, building housing, funding healthcare and providing education to families of their workforce.
Norwich Mustard, as a community owned enterprise, will play its part in making Norwich a better place to live and work. We are planning to employ those furthest from the job market, helping them develop skills and experience that will help them secure jobs and rebuild their lives.
We also hope to open a Norwich Mustard shop, perhaps on Norwich Market in the heart of the city.
The story of mustard production in Norwich is in many ways the story of British enterprise. A Victorian family firm that did much more than provide jobs, Colman’s, along with Cadbury, Salt and Lever providing housing, schools and health support for its workers. That’s why Colman’s is so loved in Norwich. It’s why people will be so sad to see it leave.
Over time, most of these family firms became part of large corporates. The economies of scale, access to investment and the ability to reach new markets made this the right thing to do at the time. The products retain their integrity and value, but the rich tradition of community support too often gets lost. But the 21st century is seeing a return to community led business. Norwich Mustard is an example of that. We plan to work with schools to help young people learn about how business is evolving. We will of course also be helping young people learn about growing, preparing and using mustard!
We’ll soon have a range of products for you to sample.
Our plan is to name each after a famous Norwich heroine from history. Norwich has a tradition of producing women who change the world, which of course is what we are setting out to do too.
If you’d like to stay up to date with our products as they are developed, sign up here for our regular bulletins.
Buy Norwich Mustard
You will soon be able to order Norwich Mustard and have it delivered to your door. As well as our range of mustards, we’re planning to sell Norwich Mustard merchandise. Like the Norwich heroines who have inspired us, we are determined to play our part in making Norwich a better place to live and work.
We’re already talking to retailers who will stock our range of Norwich Mustard. If you don’t see Norwich Mustard in your favourite shop, ask them to stock it. We don’t want anyone to miss out!
Join the Norwich Mustard Club
We want you to enjoy Norwich Mustard. Join the Norwich Mustard club and receive a monthly jar of Norwich Mustard, a recipe from a Norfolk chef and a surprise gift. Membership will cost just £5 per month. Sign up here for your invitation to join the Norwich Mustard Club which launches in October 2018.
Have you got a shop? Or perhaps you run a restaurant or pub? Norwich Mustard can add a special something to any dish and we know it’s going to become very popular. Mustard can also be used to flavour a range of foods, for example chocolate. If you want to stock, or use Norwich Mustard we want to hear from you.
From small seeds…
When a social entrepreneur and politician get their heads together, you never quite know what will happen. In this case, over a coffee in the Forum, the seed was sown that has grown into Norwich Mustard.
It all started with a conversation. Steve Morphew and Robert Ashton were discussing the anger people were expressing at the announcement of Colman’s closure. “Why don’t we start a new company” said Steve, “and call it Norwich Mustard”.
As a social entrepreneur Robert quickly saw the potential. He posted this video on LinkedIn to see what people thought of the idea. 5,000 people viewed it over the first weekend.
This impressive response spurred Robert on. A third founder was recruited, Chris Herries, who like Steve is a local politician.
The EDP picked up the story, as did the BBC. A successful crowdfunding campaign raised almost £14,000, which included a £6,000 grant from Lottery funded Power to Change. We’re overwhelmed that 184 people contributed to the campaign. Some Colman’s pensioners also heard about us and are providing us with expert help.
We are hugely grateful to Norwich firm GRIT Digital, who have been helping us on a pro bono basis. Their input has been invaluable – so much so, we have had great pleasure in welcoming both Directors, Peter Whitmore and Emma Hayden, to the Board.
Norwich Mustard is already attracting national publicity with Robert interviewed by Radio Four’s Eddie Maier for iPM. You can listen to the interview here.