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Adventures in Starting a Chocolate Business

Chocolate

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#31 tammylc

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 05:34 AM

thanks,
that does help. How did you work out the storage of the chocolates? Do you mainly do enrobed or molded pieces?

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I do a mix of enrobed and molded pieces, and the ratio is still working itself out. I won't be storing chocolate there much, if at all, since I'm just making to order and not maintaining a stock.

One of the challenges of working in a space that's not just mine is how to manage air-drying/crusting times. Ultimately, I'm going to investigate getting some sort of enclosed cabinet that I can use for that (like this one, although that's really much bigger than I need), but for now I'll just be managing my work times around their schedule. Fortunately, they are closed on Sundays, so I can leave things out overnight on Saturday.

Anyone have any thoughts on whether using a fan would help speed up this process? Although I expect that sometimes I'll have to "cheat" and use the refrigerator.

Tammy's Tastings

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Dinner for 40


#32 tammylc

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 05:42 AM

COngratulations Tammy!!! Its nice to know wastn that bad at all , but I know you were ready for it, did your homeworks  :biggrin:


Couple funny things I just remembered. When the inspector left, the owners of the kitchen were totally jealous - "She was sooo easy on you! She's never that nice to us!" On the way there that morning I'd been saying to myself, "I hope she's not in a bad mood!" and I guess that worked. Her laptop was in the shop, so she was a little off her game, having to do everything by hand.

We had a long conversation/debate about labeling, with her saying that I needed to clearly spell out the exact contents of a box on the label. Ie. 4 caramel filled chocolates, 4 coffee-liquer flavored chocolates, etc. Which is clearly not the case, given all the boxes of assorted chocolates (Pot of Gold, etc) you can buy in stores, with mystery pieces that you have to bite into to identify.

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#33 mrose

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 06:49 AM

This inspector will create a labeling nightmare for you. If you follow the recommendation you will be spending as much time labeling as making chocolate. Show her a box of Godiva which you can get at Bsarnes & Noble, they don't do what she is wants.

Mark
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#34 tammylc

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 07:27 AM

This inspector will create a labeling nightmare for you. If you follow the recommendation you will be spending as much time labeling as  making chocolate. Show her a box of Godiva which you can get at Bsarnes & Noble, they don't do what she is wants.

Mark

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That's where we settled things, actually - I agreed to go look at a box of mass market chocolates and follow their lead. Because I know that they are not required to do what it is she's asking for.

Thanks, Mark!

Tammy's Tastings

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eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40


#35 David Israel

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 09:00 AM

thanks,
that does help. How did you work out the storage of the chocolates? Do you mainly do enrobed or molded pieces?

View Post


I do a mix of enrobed and molded pieces, and the ratio is still working itself out. I won't be storing chocolate there much, if at all, since I'm just making to order and not maintaining a stock.

One of the challenges of working in a space that's not just mine is how to manage air-drying/crusting times. Ultimately, I'm going to investigate getting some sort of enclosed cabinet that I can use for that (like this one, although that's really much bigger than I need), but for now I'll just be managing my work times around their schedule. Fortunately, they are closed on Sundays, so I can leave things out overnight on Saturday.

Anyone have any thoughts on whether using a fan would help speed up this process? Although I expect that sometimes I'll have to "cheat" and use the refrigerator.

View Post


I wonder if a climate-controlled wine storage unit would fit the bill as a way to store the chocolates overnight and facilitate the air drying/crusting of the ganaches?

#36 Desiderio

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 09:12 AM

COngratulations Tammy!!! Its nice to know wastn that bad at all , but I know you were ready for it, did your homeworks  :biggrin:
One question I still have is , did you had to file tha food handling business license  for that as well, I mean I know the inspector gives you the livcense after the inspection , but on the package I downloaded from the web ( for COlorado ) has a lot of stuff that doesnt apply to my case , its more for someone that is moving to a kitchen full time and owns a restaurant type .DId you still have to file those as well?

Thank you and Good luck with your first day as business owner  :biggrin:

View Post


Michigan differentiates between different kinds of establishments. I am a retail food establishment (which lets me sell both wholesale and retail), but not a retail food *service* establishment. I'm guessing that the food handling license you describe probably refers to service establishments. Call whoever the licensing agency is in CO, they should be able to help you figure out what you need to do. Also, there's probably some sort of local small business agency that can answer questions.

To the best of my knowledge, I have now met all my state and county requirements.

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Thank you much Tammy, I will definatelly call the department and ask for this specific case .
:smile:
Vanessa

#37 tammylc

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 10:21 AM

I wonder if a climate-controlled wine storage unit would fit the bill as a way to store the chocolates overnight and facilitate the air drying/crusting of the ganaches?

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Possibly. But most wine coolers are geared to maintaining humidity, not getting rid of it, so I'm not sure. I did see a little countertop wine cooler at Home Goods yesterday and considered it briefly. But they're not cheap either...

Tammy's Tastings

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eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40


#38 sote23

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 02:19 PM

This inspector will create a labeling nightmare for you. If you follow the recommendation you will be spending as much time labeling as  making chocolate. Show her a box of Godiva which you can get at Bsarnes & Noble, they don't do what she is wants.

Mark

View Post


That's where we settled things, actually - I agreed to go look at a box of mass market chocolates and follow their lead. Because I know that they are not required to do what it is she's asking for.

Thanks, Mark!

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that's right, there is nothing that states that you have to list all ingredients.

#39 tammylc

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 03:00 PM

that's right, there is nothing that states that you have to list all ingredients.

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Well, you do have to list all the ingredients, although you can use "flavorings" and "spices" and the like. Our debate was on how specific the package labeling had to be, with me arguing that "assorted chocolates" was fine, and her saying that I needed to explicitly spell out what the assortment was.

The confusion was probably mostly my fault, I have to admit. In my current business model, I have special occasion sales, where I make lots of chocolate at once to fill a bunch of orders. There's a limited flavor selection to choose from, but people can be quite precise about what goes in their box (2 caramel, 3 passionfruit, 1 hazelnut, etc). So I thought the best way to go would be to make a label that gives the ingredients for each of the potential chocolates, knowing that not everyone will have all those flavors. I make a flavor guide insert with pictures, so people can cross reference if they need to know the ingredients for a particular piece. If I'd just presented her with a label that assumed an equal amount of each chocolate and had the ingredients for them lumped all together, she probably wouldn't have batted an eye. But she got all caught up in the level of specificity and worried about "fanciful names." Live and learn!

Tammy's Tastings

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#40 sote23

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 06:21 PM

[quote name='tammylc' date='Feb 21 2007, 02:00 PM']
[quote name='sote23' date='Feb 21 2007, 04:19 PM']that's right, there is nothing that states that you have to list all ingredients.

View Post

[/quote]

Well, you do have to list all the ingredients, although you can use "flavorings" and "spices" and the like. Our debate was on how specific the package labeling had to be, with me arguing that "assorted chocolates" was fine, and her saying that I needed to explicitly spell out what the assortment was.

The confusion was probably mostly my fault, I have to admit. In my current business model, I have special occasion sales, where I make lots of chocolate at once to fill a bunch of orders. There's a limited flavor selection to choose from, but people can be quite precise about what goes in their box (2 caramel, 3 passionfruit, 1 hazelnut, etc). So I thought the best way to go would be to make a label that gives the ingredients for each of the potential chocolates, knowing that not everyone will have all those flavors. I make a flavor guide insert with pictures, so people can cross reference if they need to know the ingredients for a particular piece. If I'd just presented her with a label that assumed an equal amount of each chocolate and had the ingredients for them lumped all together, she probably wouldn't have batted an eye. But she got all caught up in the level of specificity and worried about "fanciful names." Live and learn!

View Post

[/q

I was in the class with andrew shotts and I believe he said there is no law that requieres you to list ingredients. Unless I heard him incorrectly.

I also happen to have a box of jacque torres chocolates and he doesn't list anything on his box.

Luis

#41 mrose

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 06:57 PM

[/q

I was in the class with andrew shotts and I believe he said there is no law that requieres you to list ingredients. Unless I heard him incorrectly.

I also happen to have a box of jacque torres chocolates and he doesn't list anything on his box.

Luis

View Post

[/quote]

Maybe in the states that they make chocolates in, but I know in Michigan you have to list the ingrediants. You would have to check with the state regulations.

Mark
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#42 ChristopherMichael

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 09:39 PM

I talked a supervisor with the Orange County, CA health department earlier today and he told me if something is sold by piece (not prepackaged), then you do not need to label anything. If you sell something that's prepackaged (boxed chocolates, etc.), then you must list all ingredients in order of amount used. He lead me to believe that this was a federal law, but I didn't ask him if it was or not. Maybe some chocolatiers are avoiding this law by saying they do sell by the piece and that the box is just a way of packaging it (like a bag would be for groceries, fast food, etc). I do know that John & Kira's Chocolate in PA label the bottom of there chocolates, they're artisan chocolatiers and do a very large volume (at least for a smaller producer). Recchitti in San Fran. also labels their product on the bottom of the box.

#43 Desiderio

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 11:44 PM

I was just today reading more about labeling ( colorado ) and as Christopher said if you sell the chocolates by the piece you dont need to put the ingredient label, but you need to have a list of ingredients available upon request.Also at least here is you sell them where you manifactured and pack them you dont need to put other info other than list ingredients.( if you produce less than 10.000 units per year you dont need nutrition info also ).
I think I have seen assorted chocolates boxes with a bounch of ingredients listed of everything the might put in it even if maybe they are not , like Tammy said .
Vanessa

#44 Mary F

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 09:31 AM

code for my area:
also, may want to consider allergy labeling to decrease liability, and your insurance rates may benefit


3-602.11 Food Labels.
(A) FOOD PACKAGED in a FOOD ESTABLISHMENT shall be labeled as specified in LAW, including chapter 69.04
RCW; 21 CFR 101 - Food Labeling; and 9 CFR 317 - Labeling, Marking Devices, and Containers.
[Amended by WAC 246-215-051(8)]
(B) Label information shall include:
(1) The common name of the FOOD, or absent a common name, an adequately descriptive identity
statement;
WAC 246-215 Working Document 12/04 32 Chapter 3: Food
(2) If made from two or more ingredients, a list of ingredients in descending order of predominance by
weight, including a declaration of artificial color or flavor and chemical preservatives, if contained in
the FOOD;
(3) An accurate declaration of the quantity of contents;
(4) The name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor; and
(5) Except as exempted in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act § 403(Q)(3)-(5), nutrition
labeling as specified in 21 CFR 101 - FOOD Labeling and 9 CFR 317 Subpart B Nutrition Labeling.
(6) For any salmonid FISH containing canthaxanthin as a COLOR ADDITIVE, the labeling of the bulk FISH
container, including a list of ingredients, displayed on the retail container or by other written means,
such as a counter card, that discloses the use of canthaxanthin.
© Bulk FOOD that is available for CONSUMER self-dispensing shall be prominently

#45 dantodd

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 11:14 PM

The FDA has a Food Labeling Guide here: http://www.cfsan.fda...ms/flg-toc.html

I believe that most states use these guidelines when they are not already in the CFR.

#46 patsikes

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 07:43 AM

You must also supply a list of allergens that may be present in your product. Such as peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat....

That is the reason for listing the ingredients. Its not that hard to do and just makes sense.

What I did was create a Microsoft Access database that listed my product name, weight, and ingredients. Then I used mail merge in Microsoft Publisher to create my labels and merge them with my database.

If there was a change to ingredients, I just update the db and then reprint the labels. By the way, the HP 2600n color laser printer does a great job on labels and you can find them in the 200-300 dollar range.
Patrick Sikes

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PS I Love You Fine Chocolates

#47 tammylc

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 11:56 PM

Tonight was my first night using the commercial kitchen. It went well. I left the house just after 7:30 pm and got home just before 1:30 am. That included going to Meijer to do various shopping, washing all of the new equipment I'd purchased, and get oriented to the space and stuff organized. (I need one more storage bin to do that last part right.) Oh, and making 200 pieces of chocolate, of course.

I was only planning on making 100, but there's an event planner vendor's showcase thing going on this week, so I figured I might as well make extra so I could take little boxes of chocolate to it to hand out with my card.

There were some very good things about the space - lots of room, for one. Three compartment commercial dishwashing equipment, for another. Keeping up with the dishes was really, really easy. Lots of spare equipment I could use - no need to keep rewashing my rubber spatulas, for example - I could just grab another one from the drawer.

And there were some things that were not so good - they keep the temperature in the kitchen very low - 61 degrees. Things did set up more quickly, so I had to be really on top of managing the temperature and the level of beta crystals in my chocolate. Preheating my molds (by blowing hot air on them with a blow dryer) helped, but a couple times I forgot to do it. Still, I only have one tray that's really excessively thick. It also has some temper issues, so it might be a lost cause anyway. We'll see tomorrow.

Since they only have big giant pots, I bought a couple of smaller stainless steel pans to use for making caramel and the like. But what I didn't realize is that the single burner unit they have is not an electric burner, as I'd thought, but an induction burner. Which is very cool, except that it requires a pan of a certain diameter, and mine was not wide enough. So I ended up having to use the big pot to make the caramel. I don't know if it was an consequence of making it in a too big pot, or just that the kitchen was sooo cold, but the caramel stiffened up a lot and was difficult to work with. We'll see what they're like tomorrow when they are at warmer room temperature - they may end up being a chewier caramel rather than a creamier caramel, but that's okay. I don't know what I'll do about this in the long run - try to find a slightly bigger pot? Buy my own hot plate that's a better size for me?

I have to get up bright and early tomorrow to go back in and cap off the molds. And, if I'm feeling really motivated, dip some pretzels and Oreos in the leftover chocolate. Then I need to go to Baker's Nook to pick up packaging materials for the boxes I'll hopefully sell tomorrow. And Staples to get business card stock and labels. Then into my office to print some business cards on the nice color laser printer there. Then I have to make the ingredient and date/weight labels, so I can put those on the boxes and meet those pesky labeling requirements. And then get back to the kitchen by 1 when the anniversary party starts. Damn, that's just too much stuff to do, with not enough time. It was a busy week at work and in the evenings, so there was only so much I was able to do, unfortunately.

But for now, sleep would be good. If I'm lucky, I can get 5 hours.

Tammy's Tastings

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eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40


#48 Desiderio

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 01:06 PM

I usually work form my basement and its below 60 :hmmm: , so I am sure youll get the hang of it , some things that you will figure out soon, was the first time so I think it went pretty well anyway.For the burner , make sure , if you get an extra one , that is sommercial type ( I think they will be picky about having any non commercial stuff around ),anyway, I was looking for extra pans and pot as well, You can get a bigger pan for the caramel , not as big as the one they use in there.
You will get better idea as you go .I know the time is not much, and I am already feeling tired and I havent start yet, but with a family a baby and a full time job , starting your own business even if small, its pretty challenging ( we are in the same situation :rolleyes: ),but hang in there eventually the business will get so good that you will do that full time instead of you actual job ( at least thats what I hope for myself ).
Keep us update and good luck :wink:
Vanessa

#49 tammylc

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 06:09 AM

I usually work form my basement and its below 60  :hmmm: , so I am sure youll get the hang of it , some things that you will figure out soon, was the first time so I think it went pretty well anyway.For the burner , make sure , if you get an extra one , that is sommercial type ( I think they will be picky about having any non commercial stuff around ),anyway, I was looking for extra pans and pot as well, You can get a bigger pan for the caramel , not as big as the one they use in there.
You will get better idea as you go .I know the time is not much, and I am already feeling tired and I havent start yet, but with a family a baby and a full time job , starting your own business even if small, its pretty challenging ( we are in the same situation  :rolleyes: ),but hang in there eventually the business will get so good that you will do that full time instead of you actual job ( at least thats what I hope for myself ).
Keep us update and good luck  :wink:

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Thanks Vanessa - I appreciate the support!

I'm still figuring out if this is something that I would want to do full time. It's certainly an exciting idea, but also an exhausting one - constantly having to think about marketing and promotion and keeping myself in business.

My poor son was so sad when I had to leave yesterday. He was clinging to me and saying "Mommy, don't go. Don't go, mommy." That was really hard. We're going to do some special fun stuff today, though, to make up for it.

Tammy's Tastings

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eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40


#50 tammylc

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 06:26 AM

The event yesterday went really well. I had a lot of people whose first reaction was "But those are too pretty to eat!" Very gratifying, and I was able to convince most of them that really, it really was okay to eat them. Then word started getting around and it got much easier!

I didn't make a ton of sales, but I didn't really expect to. I gave out some cards and some flyers, added some names to my mailing list and - most importantly - got some really good networking done.

Some memorable moments:
The women who's first question was "Do you do corporate gifts?" Why yes, yes I do.

The 12 or 13-year-old boy who made a point of coming up to tell me that my chocolates were really, really good.

Helping out a new mom, by telling her that most (good) dark chocolate is dairy-free, so she doesn't have to give up chocolate entirely now that she's giving up dairy (because of her breastfeeding baby having trouble). (All my filled pieces had dairy from other sources, but she did grab a couple of chocolate-covered pretzels.)

Spending the day chatting with another local small business owner (a coffee roaster) about business, and our favorite local restaurants.

So all in all, a good experience, and hopefully will lead to sales down the road. The new mom I mentioned above is on maternity leave from Detroit area lifestyle magazine, and she encouraged me to send a sample box to the editor, giving me her name and address and her own name to drop.

On Wednesday, I'll be going to a local event planners event to do some schmoozing. I just found out about this group on Thursday - it's a membership organization for event planners at the University and in the community, as well as vendors and suppliers. They're having a vendor showcase on Wednesday. I'm sure it's too late or too expensive to get a table of my own (although I'm planning to contact them to check), but I made up a bunch of small boxes to hand out with cards and figure I can at least do some informal meeting and greeting.

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40


#51 patsikes

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 02:15 PM

Awesome job Tammy. Great for your first official run!
Patrick Sikes

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PS I Love You Fine Chocolates

#52 tammylc

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 02:24 PM

Thanks!

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40


#53 tammylc

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 08:31 PM

The networking continues. Went to a Vendor Showcase event yesterday for a local event planners group. I really needed to *be* a vendor, but I only found out about it a few days beforehand. But I took along a bunch of sample boxes and found a few people it was appropriate to hand them out to. I spent some time tonight sending email followups to some particularly promising contacts.

This stuff about marketing and promotion and selling myself is definitely a challenge. I'm pretty comfortable with what I'm doing in the kitchen, and pretty confident with the tasting events (the other side of my business). But the marketing angle is coming a little harder.

It's definitely the biggest barrier I see in me trying to make this into a full-time job - constantly having to be "on" and looking for the next opportunity is really hard work. Having regular paid employment in addition to this work means that if I fall down on promotion for a month or two, it doesn't much matter - the bills will still get paid.

On the technical side of the house, I won eBay auctions this week for an air compressor and a vibrating table, and placed orders for some new molds and a bunch of colored cocoa butter. Hoping/planning to spend some time this weekend doing some experimentation to the end of nailing down my Easter flavor assortment so I can start promoting that. Need to get some acetate, as my plans include trying out making my own transfer sheets. Must go read up on that thread to avoid the pitfalls ahead!

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40


#54 tammylc

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 01:48 PM

Well, got the word back today that the local store I'd been hoping would pick up my chocolates isn't interested. Bummer. The sticking point appears to be the couverture - apparently a bunch of the people who were in the decision tree "weren't crazy about the Guittard."

There is some possibility that I might be doing a custom piece for them, however, from a new-ish chocolate that they're really fond of. So that would be something. And we're still talking about caramels, although they thought my last offering didn't have enough depth of flavor, they'd be interesting in trying others that I come up with. And if I find a chocolate I like better, I'm sure I can revisit the bonbon question with them.

Ever onward...

Tonight I'm going to stop by a small wedding expo being run by a local group. It's 12 women-owned businesses who each specialize in a particular aspect of weddings - catering, DJ, flowers, limo, officiant, etc. But they don't have a chocolatier... So I'm going to hand out samples and meet all the different women involved, and if I like them and they like me, they're doing interviews in April for new people to join the group.

In other news, I'm looking forward to playing with my new toys - my airbrush compressor and dental vibrator have both arrived, along with four new colors of cocoa butter, a bunny mold, and an egg-shaped cutter. I'm crossing my fingers that my order from http://dr.ca will get here today too - two different molds and a bunch of individual transfer sheets.

I got my first request for a charity donation and am working on figuring out my strategy for responding to those sorts of requests. In addition to the chocolates, my business also includes customized tasting events, so for any given event I have to decide if a) I want to make a donation and b) whether a box of chocolates are tasting event would be more suitable. The tasting event has more possibility of spin off business, because it would involve more people, but of course it's more time and resource intensive.

And lastly, I'm trying to finalize my Easter offerings. I'm torn between something peanut-buttery and something caramely for my last flavor (the others are raspberry, cardamom, and milk or dark chocolate truffle bunnies). Anyone have any ideas on how to make a peanut butter caramel, and whether it would be any good?

Tammy's Tastings

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eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40


#55 Lysbeth

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Posted 08 March 2007 - 08:58 AM

Tammy,

Thanks for telling us about your adventures, it is interesting to read what you are going through with the start of your business.

I wanted to comment on your questions about donations. I am just playing around with chocolate and I was hoping to start a business, but then I got pregnant and now, well now I have my hands full with other stuff.
Any way, I have donated a lot of chocolates to local fundraisers such as hopitals, schools and a local clinic and I can tell you that the exposure you get is tremendous. I have always been allowed to leave my information or present the chocolates myself and many people usually attend these events so you have a rather large audience at once. Also, it gives me the opportunity to try something new and get immediate feedback from people. So it's been a good way to do something for the community, but really, I have also benefitted from it because I viewed these events as a marketing tool (it's cheaper than placing an ad in a local flyer.) Just pick your events wisely and know that you can't do them all! As you go along you will probably come up with some "rules" for yourself that will help guide you through the requests you get.

Lysbeth

#56 tammylc

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Posted 08 March 2007 - 09:17 AM

Thanks, Lysbeth - I appreciate the comment. I often feel like I'm talking into the void on this thread and wondering if I should bother continuing to post!

I think the rough strategy to donations that I came up with yesterday is that a tasting is a good thing to offer for a silent auction donation request. It's more interesting, and then I have the opportunity to essentially market myself to all of the winner's guests. And, with a silent auction, there's an assumption that the kind of person who would bid on an item valued at $80-$100 is likely to have the kinds of friends who might be a good target market for that kind of event.

For events that are looking for a door prize or something like that, then a box of chocolates is more suitable.

And if I can find the right event for it, one person suggested that I donate a single boxed piece of chocolate (with business card enclosed) to be given to each attendee. Obviously this would be a major investment on my part, but is also the widest possible exposure.

The possibility that you raise is the one about actually donating product to be served at the event, and that's certainly something I'd think about doing as well for events where that was a possibility. Which reminds me, I need to send an email to someone about that exact thing...

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#57 alanamoana

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Posted 08 March 2007 - 09:28 AM

Thanks, Lysbeth - I appreciate the comment.  I often feel like I'm talking into the void on this thread and wondering if I should bother continuing to post!

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keep posting tammy! we're reading!

#58 Kerry Beal

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Posted 08 March 2007 - 09:34 AM

Tammy,

Please keep posting, even though we don't always answer, we are following with great interest.

I find the whole donation thing a bit difficult, because what I'm selling is education and supplies. So me giving a box or basket of chocolates does nothing for my business except get my business card to someone. I still donate them, cause I generally have chocolate around. I've donated lessons in hopes that it might generate sales of the DVD's or molds or bulk chocolate, but I find that it is kind of rare that the person who bids on the lesson actually follows through and takes it. I know that I've bid on and won all sorts things at auctions and invariably the gift certificates expire before I get around to using them.

Edited by Kerry Beal, 08 March 2007 - 09:41 AM.


#59 mrose

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Posted 08 March 2007 - 10:10 AM

The only place I really donate chocolates is to a few auctions for charity orgs. They usually have a offering listing so that you can get a bit of exposure and people get to know your business name. I also always give to raffles or auctions that the church whose kitchen I use has. It also helps people see that you will give to a good cause. I have had truffle logs sell for almost 2x as much as could be bought directly from me.

Mark
Mark
www.roseconfections.com

#60 Mary F

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Posted 08 March 2007 - 10:31 AM

Hi Tammy,
please don't stop the posting, I enjoy reading them!
I am in a similar situation as yours (a "real job", small children, and trying to move over full time into the confectionary business). The posts make me feel better that others are up until 1 am making chocolates, and the kids are clinging to your legs telling you not to leave.
As far as donations go, I find that you have to be selective as people tend to come out of the woodwork asking for a variety of things. A box of chocolates at an auction goes a long way though, as people tend to share with the table after winning (making the other tables jealous!). As long as your name has exposure (as in a auction guide), its a win-win situation.





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