Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

First steps in new chocolate business


Recommended Posts

After taking a break from chocolate making for a few years, I am now back in full speed, and actually opened a chocolate business called mmm-chocolate (which is what my 2 year old says every time he sees me making chocolate :) ). Currently I have a permit for my residential kitchen and am working out of my house, offering pickup or local delivery in my area. 

 
There are a couple of questions :

Labels:

1. I am required to add an ingredients label for each product- since boxes can have different flavors, how can that be precise? Or should I just list all ingredients I use? 

2. Any suggestions for how to print labels that doesn't cost a fortune? What I have looked at online is about $1 a sticker which is insane

Shipping- I am not looking to expand there yet, but I do want to send some boxes to a few people across the US

1. Each chocolate is in its own cup, with a candy pad on top, inside a rigid box. What would you put the box in in order to send it?

2. For the future- how do you even price shipping costs- whatever USPS just says?


 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, lironp said:

There are a couple of questions :

Labels:

1. I am required to add an ingredients label for each product- since boxes can have different flavors, how can that be precise? Or should I just list all ingredients I use? 

2. Any suggestions for how to print labels that doesn't cost a fortune? What I have looked at online is about $1 a sticker which is insane

Shipping- I am not looking to expand there yet, but I do want to send some boxes to a few people across the US

1. Each chocolate is in its own cup, with a candy pad on top, inside a rigid box. What would you put the box in in order to send it?

2. For the future- how do you even price shipping costs- whatever USPS just says?


 

 

Congratulations, and good luck.  As for the specific questions:

 

Labels: I have two inclusions in each box:  The main one has my contact information and a guide to the flavors (photo + description).  Every box has the same guide, which I have "printed" (photocopied actually) on glossy paper at a print shop.  The other item is the ingredient list.  Our state requires ingredients and weight of product, so the latter will vary depending on the number of pieces.  I print ingredient lists on my inkjet printer and cut them to size.  Each label will include all ingredients, but I account for variation in flavor by saying "Depending on selection, contents may include any or all of the following:"  At the end I state the weight (average) of the contents, which will vary for the various box sizes.  And, of course, allergens must be listed as your state requires.

 

Shipping:  So far I have resisted large-scale shipping because (frankly) it is so much trouble.  The biggest issue I have noticed is that the bonbons can bounce against the top lid. To counteract that, I first cut a piece of waxed paper to fit inside the box, directly on top of the chocolates, then a few layers of bubblewrap (whatever it takes to fill the space), then the candy pad and the inserts mentioned above.  I use a gold elastic loop that fits around the box and holds the lid down securely.  The idea is that the lid must be tight but not so tight as to damage the chocolates.  Then, if the weather is warm along the shipping route, I seal the box in a large plastic bag.  I do not use ice because I have never received anything when ice was used (aside from dry ice) where it wasn't completely melted.  So I don't ship when heat is a major factor.  I place the box in a shipping carton, surrounded with crushed shipping paper (or bubblewrap).  If a box is going to the eastern part of the U.S. (where I live), I do not use flat-rate USPS because it is more expensive; instead, I weigh the carton and ship it Priority Mail.  To the rest of the country, I use USPS flat-rate boxes.  It exhausts me to describe this process, and so I am reminded why I continue to resist shipping.  As for charging, you can start with whatever you pay USPS and add as much as your conscience allows (I think those in retail often speak of "nuisance charges" when they don't really want to do something, so feel they deserve a reward for doing it).  I should add that no one has ever reported damage to a bonbon using the shipping method above.  But especially at holiday time, shipping is a bit of a gamble.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am not a chocolatier but I do send chocolate to clients. @Jim D. has excellent advice. I usually have the local favorites shipped and have never had a problem. I call the receptionist and get the skinny on arrival and condition at the offices. My go to are See's and Scharffenberger (well Hershey bought them out but people have the local name association thing in their heads) See's uses a white bubble wrap on top of the pieces and that gold elastic to gently keep the lid secure.  I don't remember what Scharffenberger does. But if they are showy pieces - hhmmm  https://www.sees.com/     https://www.scharffenberger.com/en_us/home.html

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Jim D. said:

 

Congratulations, and good luck.  As for the specific questions:

 

Labels: I have two inclusions in each box:  The main one has my contact information and a guide to the flavors (photo + description).  Every box has the same guide, which I have "printed" (photocopied actually) on glossy paper at a print shop.  The other item is the ingredient list.  Our state requires ingredients and weight of product, so the latter will vary depending on the number of pieces.  I print ingredient lists on my inkjet printer and cut them to size.  Each label will include all ingredients, but I account for variation in flavor by saying "Depending on selection, contents may include any or all of the following:"  At the end I state the weight (average) of the contents, which will vary for the various box sizes.  And, of course, allergens must be listed as your state requires.

 

Shipping:  So far I have resisted large-scale shipping because (frankly) it is so much trouble.  The biggest issue I have noticed is that the bonbons can bounce against the top lid. To counteract that, I first cut a piece of waxed paper to fit inside the box, directly on top of the chocolates, then a few layers of bubblewrap (whatever it takes to fill the space), then the candy pad and the inserts mentioned above.  I use a gold elastic loop that fits around the box and holds the lid down securely.  The idea is that the lid must be tight but not so tight as to damage the chocolates.  Then, if the weather is warm along the shipping route, I seal the box in a large plastic bag.  I do not use ice because I have never received anything when ice was used (aside from dry ice) where it wasn't completely melted.  So I don't ship when heat is a major factor.  I place the box in a shipping carton, surrounded with crushed shipping paper (or bubblewrap).  If a box is going to the eastern part of the U.S. (where I live), I do not use flat-rate USPS because it is more expensive; instead, I weigh the carton and ship it Priority Mail.  To the rest of the country, I use USPS flat-rate boxes.  It exhausts me to describe this process, and so I am reminded why I continue to resist shipping.  As for charging, you can start with whatever you pay USPS and add as much as your conscience allows (I think those in retail often speak of "nuisance charges" when they don't really want to do something, so feel they deserve a reward for doing it).  I should add that no one has ever reported damage to a bonbon using the shipping method above.  But especially at holiday time, shipping is a bit of a gamble.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate your help, thank you! You have answered every single one of my questions and I can move forward now 😁

I am definitely small enough to be focusing on my area now, and don't want to get into this shipping nuisance, it's more of a one time thing- I belong to a foodies facebook group where I have been sharing a lot of my process setting things up and my chocolates, so a lot of people from outside my state have asked to purchase some (shows the value of very targeted marketing, even though that was not the intention 😂)- I will likely do a one time thing where I ship orders for anyone interested from that group and that's it. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, lironp said:

I can't tell you how much I appreciate your help, thank you! You have answered every single one of my questions and I can move forward now 😁

I am definitely small enough to be focusing on my area now, and don't want to get into this shipping nuisance, it's more of a one time thing- I belong to a foodies facebook group where I have been sharing a lot of my process setting things up and my chocolates, so a lot of people from outside my state have asked to purchase some (shows the value of very targeted marketing, even though that was not the intention 😂)- I will likely do a one time thing where I ship orders for anyone interested from that group and that's it. 

I tend to share the view of Kate Weiser, whose business is in Dallas:

 

Quote

Shipping During Warm Months

This is Texas, y'all.  Shipping out from our Dallas location is extremely challenging starting from the end of March to early October. 

 

 

Edited by Jim D. (log)
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Jim D. said:

I tend to share the view of Kate Weiser, whose business is in Dallas:

 

 

 

😂😂😂

I just ordered some chocolates from her recently. Shipping was almost $30 and it arrived in perfect shape (but no way am I going to spend so much on her packaging to keep it cold)

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I use Online Labels blank, pre-sized label sheets.  They come in a variety of sizes and colors, you can print at home as needed.  Definitely make sure to list any of the top allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, milk, and soy are most common in chocolate items).

 

Do you have a website?  An ecommerce site such as through Squarespace can calculate shipping charges for you. I buy small shipping boxes through Papermart, it is usually cheaper to use your own box than to ship USPS flat rate, unless you are sending something pretty heavy pretty far.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/30/2020 at 4:05 PM, pastrygirl said:

I use Online Labels blank, pre-sized label sheets.  They come in a variety of sizes and colors, you can print at home as needed.  Definitely make sure to list any of the top allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, milk, and soy are most common in chocolate items).

 

Do you have a website?  An ecommerce site such as through Squarespace can calculate shipping charges for you. I buy small shipping boxes through Papermart, it is usually cheaper to use your own box than to ship USPS flat rate, unless you are sending something pretty heavy pretty far.

 

I have a website I am building on Wix (mmm-chocolate.com), not sure if they have that option, but will check, thank you!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...