As we’re all still “Out Of Office”, we’ve got another fabulous home-office edition of Desk of the Month, our monthly feature showcasing the workstations of successful businesspeople. This time it’s the legend Craig Sams, founder of Green & Blacks Chocolate, executive chairman of biochar company Carbon Gold, and former chairman of the Soil Association.
I run all of the businesses I’m involved with from my home office in Hastings. Most people who know of me probably know me as a chocolatier, I founded Green & Blacks, the organic, Fair Trade chocolate company, with my wife back in 1991. But I’ve been busy since the 70s. I’ve done, been and started innumerable things in my career, I’ve been a grocer, a baker, the owner of Seed, the first ever organic magazine, had a restaurant and shop. I sold the Beatles’ their famous Afghan coats, oh and my brother Gregory invented the the Vegeburger. We trademarked it as nobody had use the word before. It’s been a wild ride.
Since founding Green & Blacks I’ve been increasingly involved in all things organic and Fairtrade. I’ve been the chairman of the Soil Association, I founded Carbon Gold, the world-leading biochar company, and I helped my son with Gusto Cola, his organic drinks company.
These days everything I’m working on happens here. I have a saddle chair to try to keep my back straight when I’m sitting down, though most of the time I work standing using my adjustable desk riser. The VHS cassettes on the shelf above my desk have all now been digitised.
This filing cabinet is where I keep bits and bobs. The labels go back to when I originally I saw the working-from-home light when my office was at Portobello Road, where we lived upstairs. So “Join” has staples, paper clips, membership cards and sellotape. “Write” has pens pencils, markers, erasers and ink (for my Mont Blanc that I now use about once every 3 months). “Label” is post it notes, sticky labels, a thousand different business cards and file tabs. “See” is glasses, magnifying glass, lens wipes and cloths. “Petty” is inactive as all receipts are put straight onto my assistant, Teresa’s desk (and most of them are electronic these days anyway).
I’m surrounded by books. This shelf has the complete Oxford History of England. One day my novel “Aengelland” will be published to critical acclaim. Almost 40,000 words written (but it needs quite a bit of polishing).
More booksl The sundae glass on the left was a relic from when we owned the Soda Jerk on Portobello, supplying healthy-ish soft drinks and ice cream sundaes. On the top shelf is “Koala” (pronounced ‘cola’), a Koala made of real koala fur, a gift from an Australian friend and my companion when we moved house 15 times before my 16th birthday. My wife also had a koala, but polyester. They now sit together on the top right shelf.
Now for the important part. This is my drinks station for tea, dandelion/burdock coffee, hibiscus and decaff coffee. I swear by dandelion/burdock coffee. Get on it if you haven’t already. I get the dandelion ready roasted, the burdock needs roasting.
And this is the balcony that opens out to a view over the garden and a recliner for mid-afternoon breaks…Zzzz.
The sun doesn’t reach the deck till 1 so it gives me plenty of time to get stuff done before my mid-afternoon rest.
And then it’s just more books. I had a bakery on Portobello Road and then expanded to a bakery factory to cover the wholesale trade so my bookshelf has a few baking books, the Standard Cyclopedia of Modern Agriculture, a treasure trove of farming information and guidance, and books on being a grocer and a baker. My two main career elements.
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