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understandingcocoa

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  1. understandingcocoa

    Opening a shop - dos & don'ts

    It is overwhelming isn't it! Do you have any community groups (facebook etc.)? I've been posting on there about the launch and had a huge response, people seem to really like getting behind a local business, so if you can, involve them as much as poss and let them get invested in you. Do other businesses in the same area do well? Yes I do online, but to be honest it needs far more marketing. I think if you can find something low risk enough (you can afford and not tied into a lengthy contract) it's worth a chance, chocolate is at least an easy thing to get people excited about!
  2. understandingcocoa

    Opening a shop - dos & don'ts

    Good advice thank you. I do a range of chocolate lollies that are great as "add ons" so hopefully this will cover that market!
  3. understandingcocoa

    Chocolates with that backroom finish

    @gfron1 Were these left to set in the fridge? I've had this on exposed chocolate i.e. bars when i've left them in too long, or truffles have sometimes developed a sticky sheen after tap out due to being left too long in the cold (I have the memory of goldfish)
  4. understandingcocoa

    Opening a shop - dos & don'ts

    Funny you should say this, it's an old security shop so it currently has bolted on bars across the whole front of the shop too
  5. understandingcocoa

    Opening a shop - dos & don'ts

    Haha yes, it won't last for long! And as the buildings are stone round here they stay pretty cool luckily. Wine fridge it is, thank you
  6. understandingcocoa

    Opening a shop - dos & don'ts

    Another question - what does everyone do in terms of truffle storage? My counter won't be refrigerated, I'm wondering whether to store the truffles in a wine fridge or some such when the shops closed, or at least boxed away to keep fresh as the counter won't have a back. P.s. the shop will be cool, it's the North after all
  7. understandingcocoa

    Opening a shop - dos & don'ts

    Good point, it was such a good feeling to turn down a wholesaler trying to batter me down on prices because I've started to recognise when things aren't worth my time - took a long time not to just grab every opportunity with both hands. Haha I'd love to have something that fancy, however I think a max of about 8 people could fit in the shop at once 😂
  8. understandingcocoa

    Opening a shop - dos & don'ts

    I know you're right, I've just got to build up that confidence!
  9. understandingcocoa

    Opening a shop - dos & don'ts

    Oh yeah I'm totally with you here. Something that held me back was the fear of investing everything I have and losing it all - and the huge amount of extra pressure that comes with knowing you've spent so much! This shop is sort of the perfect stepping stone, lower rent & lack of various other normal fees means it's the least risk I could have taken. Fingers crossed kitting out the premises is actually going to be fairly reasonable from current projections, I'll be building as much as possible myself, I think the main cost will be the custom counter, and the only thing I won't be able to take away with me is the paint on the walls and the flooring! Haha yeah I'll give the 20k selmi a miss for now, hoping just to carry on with my current equipment for as long as poss with a few extra basics. Yes that's the plan, really hoping to be up and running by October and start off with a bang for Christmas.... I'll keep you posted 😅
  10. understandingcocoa

    Opening a shop - dos & don'ts

    You're right, I think i've accepted that it's going to be a bit of trial and error. Does anyone else use izettle? I use them for markets so think I will continue on for the shop, perhaps link it up to an ipad to use as the till screen. Just had a browse on fiverr, thanks for the tip!
  11. understandingcocoa

    Opening a shop - dos & don'ts

    Luckily I've just had my packaging properly done for the first time, it's what convinced me to go ahead with the shop. I was really lucky and got a grant so all the design/ structural work was completely free - is there anything like that you can take advantage of? Although a lot of shops i've seen seem to still do very well with basic packaging, i.e plastic bar bags and printed stickers. Mine will be a slow process of improvement I think, I absolutely love the new branding but there are still a million little additional things I need to do 🤪 Re your Q on price, I upped my prices with the new packaging, but with the right packaging it looks so much more expensive so it's more than justified, my packaging for bars is approx... 7/8% of retail price, it's slightly more for boxes etc.
  12. understandingcocoa

    Opening a shop - dos & don'ts

    Thanks for all the tips @gfron1 really appreciated, so many little things you don't think of yourself. Have you found you sell less boxes now that you got rid of the 5's? I like the idea of sticking to limited options, people usually don't debate if there isn't a different choice to make I suppose. Newspaper editor is definitely a good shout, the local paper here is quite fond of getting involved so that's a plus. What are peoples thoughts on opening weekend deals? It would be great to get a buzz going....hopefully with enough social media marketing it would be enough to lure people in. Can't quite decide what format to do this in, free X to the first 50 people, 2 for 1 on something etc.... @ChocoMom I've never considered retirement homes, this sounds like such a good idea! I have no idea what the retirement community round here is like, it's quite Yummy Mummy, I will research. Something I am getting involved with is WI groups, do you have these over there? Doing some tasting events and hoping to build a good relationship with them as I imagine they're very involved in the community too. When you say packages for hotels etc. do you mean like gift baskets? Or like event packages? I've been reluctant to approach hotels as I'm not sure what they expect, similarly with approaching corporate clients. My shop is going to be pale pink too! (Although sad to hear about the fire!) The landlord laughs at me every time I tell him my plans which is mildly discouraging, as he doesn't understand why I wouldn't do it all as cheaply as possible, but I've always had such a clear idea of what I want it to look like, pale pink with a black & white chequered floor (instagram bait). There's only really one other independent chocolate shop in the area, they sell a lot of other brands wholesale and have a limited selection of their own products. It's hard to tell how they're doing but they've been there a loonng time and in a much higher rent area, so I see that as a good sign.
  13. understandingcocoa

    Opening a shop - dos & don'ts

    Haha I also enjoy hiding from the villagers, i like to think of myself as the mysterious chocolate lady. It's definitely hard selling yourself, I think I need to be more confident in pricing for this reason.
  14. understandingcocoa

    Opening a shop - dos & don'ts

    I'd love you to follow along! Nice to have other chocolatey people on the journey. I've found it quite intimidating too, especially negotiating with landlords etc - I have no idea what is expected or reasonable! I'm in the North of England, i've been working with chocolate for about 3 and a half years with no real plan/ structure until more recently. I left my job in October to go full time chocolating and love it! (My bank balance not quite so much). I have retail experience of running shops from my younger years, and sell in local shops but no experience of owning and being solely responsible for a shop. So, main points/ challenges - The location is a little high street near home, not the main shopping area of the city by any means but the local community really gets behind the small businesses here - Rents here are fairly low because it is "out of town" so it's a bit less of a risk - Shop is teeny tiny - in terms of build out, the landlord is removing a wall & putting in plumbing, apart from that I will be paying for flooring/painting and furniture, oven etc - As much as I plan, footfall is really hard to estimate so getting enough sales is a bit of a concern - Hoping to entice people in for easy sales with hot fresh cookies, hopefully these will help tide us over if sales are slow - Again, if sales are slow, fresh truffles in the counter would obviously create a lot of wastage - although perhaps I just do tiny batches to make sure they sell out - Big initial out lay which is scary Sorry for the babbling, my brains going a million miles an hour!
  15. understandingcocoa

    Opening a shop - dos & don'ts

    So I've just signed the contract for my first ever shop, I'm excited but mostly terrified!! It's going to be a tiny little chocolate shop, with a few shelves for bars etc, a counter for fresh truffles, and a counter for fresh cookies. Bars & shards etc will be fine with shelf life, with truffles I plan on keeping the range quite simple to start with (8 flavours) and make limited quantities. I was wondering if anyone had any tips, or any success stories to ease my mind! Eeeeekkkkk
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