I've been a member for some time, but as more of an observer than participant. As I'm considering jumping into the deep end of chocolate pool, I think it's time to introduce myself and start participating.
I am the owner of Whimzy Chocolates, which I operated for several years out of kitchen incubator in the suburbs of Houston, TX. I sold primarily at weekend arts and craft markets and through special orders. My products line is largely made up of what I call "familu favorites", caramel pecan clusters, caramel apples, various barks, lots of chocolate covered tasties, and hand rolled truffles. I managed to develop somewhat of a following and frequent sold out of products before the end of an event.
Unfortunately, just after my husband and I made the decision to relocate out of state, I recieved three different requests to wholesale, one of which was from a major national department store.
It's a year later, I'm happily settled just outside of Nashville, TN and the chocolates are calling me. I am strongly considering resurrecting the business, but on a larger scale, with the goal of renting a location and building out my own commercial kitchen. My initial targeted market would be a few coveted wholesale accounts, special event orders, and the weekend markets, with an eventual growth to a retail chocolate boutique.
I welcome any words of wisdom or caution, and would love the input of those who have gone down this road before me. I'm in the processing of identifying the costs involved and my question of the moment is "what do I need, that I don't know I need?"
My primary big piece of specialized equipment has always been the tempering machines. Is there another, chocolate specific piece of equipment that has improved your production time and makes life easier?
We are thinking about jumping into retail chocolate sales in Kingwood, TX. Any suggestions about how to get staerted and what events did you frequent.