Tim Hazel-Brown runs a sweet factory in Derby. He and his family have made hazel nut toffees since the turn of the last century. In recent years THB Confectionery have been involved with an additional business line, which Tim just actually thought would be fun. It started as a competition to guess the time and place of old coins and stamps that had been imprinted on to the inside of the sweet wrappers. The competition took off and so did a new business angle for the confectionery. To date they now have an online service that is dedicated to answering questions, sourcing coins and stamps from every part of the globe. It attracts all ages, from collectors to enthusiasts and last year they had a billion hits, “who would have thought a competition would provide a lasting business?” Tim was heard to remark. All this started 13 years ago when Tim took over, he wanted to add value to the whole customer experience, something he said “that lasts longer than the taste and memory of a delicious candy”. Inside every sweet wrapper he imprinted coins and stamps in gold and silver foil dating back to AD60 – real gems it seems. When asked how he came upon this new business venture his reply was “I blame it on modern technology, the internet and even today it continues to support the whole chain; from procurement through to delivery, customer service included.” THB Confectionery has a global market because of one small competition that took the ‘world by storm’. Back in 2007, two main businesses were emerging; the bread and butter arm - the confectionery and the online sourcing of coins and stamps, which has now grown into a multi-million dollar concern, with rich clients concentrated in Asia. Since 2007, THB Confectionery phenomenon has continued; the development of communities has now become an intrinsic part of the online business and the way it is managed. The communities seem to be made up largely of confectionery, coins and stamp collectors;...
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