I am a graduate from Ecole Chocolat from 2009, and 2 years later I still don't have my own chocolate business!
After a lot of thinking, I believe the main reason is that I can't do it alone. Just like in almost any business, a partner is essential to a startup - without that, for me, chocolate will always be a hobby, which is not what I am looking for.
So I am reaching out to the forum members who live in New York City and who are on the same boat I am now:
- I work full time (in Brooklyn).
- I don't have a lot of money to start something fancy, so working smart for me is the way to go.
- I want to create a business that, eventually, will allow me to quit my 9-to-5 so I can work full time in the business.
What I have in place so far:
- The company is called DaCosta Chocolates and is registered as a LLC.
- Insurance (paid until August 2012).
- A commercial kitchen we could use. The kitchen belongs to a catering company, which is located in Brooklyn, which means we could have access to the kitchen when they are not working on it. There are other options also available when it comes to kitchens. We can discuss when we talk in person.
- I have a great accountant that is very inexpensive and very sensible to the needs of small business owners - as he is a small business owner himself.
So, if you want to start working towards a great business with a nice guy (I am a very nice guy!!), drop me a note. I want to take it slowly, and build the business in a way that won't burn us out - but the main goal is to create a serious company that will make us money, and keep us happy by doing what we love!
I am in the same boat here in Atlanta. Would you consider moving?? I have been making chocolate for many years and it is more than a one person job.
As an entrepreneur who's built and sold numerous ventures, as well as succeeded and failed at others, and helped friends package and sell their own businesses, and to top it off now owns and operates a very successful chocolate company, would you like my CANDID opinion?
I will not write it here unless you ask for it, and agree not to take offence to anything I may write.
Seeing as someone asked, here's my opinion for what it's worth:
1. There is no such work as "Can't", as in "I can't do it alone...". Men have walked on the moon. In all likelihood someone in the chocolate industry has already successfully done what you are wanting to do. You're not re-inventing the wheel.. So, you say you can't start your own business? "Can't" is a cop out. Period. Fear of the unknown is perfectly acceptable. Fear of making a bad decision is perfectly acceptable. However, there will always be something you don't know, and ALL decisions take you in a direction. Some directions are better than others. At least it's a direction. If you want to truly succeed at ANYTHING, and I mean ANYTHING, drop the negativity, stop saying "can't" and start asking "how". The answer may not come to you right away, but think out of the box and be resourceful. The answer will reveal itself when the time comes.
2. You have access to a commercial kitchen owned by a CATERER??? Do they not use chocolate confections at their events? Do they not know of other caterers that could use chocolate confections at their events? Could they start? You've got access to the kitchen of your first client!!!
3. Who says you have to start big? Start with farmers markets, street markets, or even putting together packages for business colleagues as client appreciation gifts. Many big names in the food industry got started in their homes.
4. DO NOT.... I repeat DO NOT, involve a partner. Partners are a P.I.T.A. and you will eventually find yourself at a business crossroads of volume, $$, creativity, and even workload. Inevitably one person always works harder than the other, and over time resentment builds. BUILD YOUR BUSINESS AND HIRE EMPLOYEES AS IT GROWS.
5. Who says you need money to start a chocolate business? How much do you have to invest to make bark? How much does it cost to make a few hundred hand rolled truffles you can sell for $2 each? No molds, no fancy equipment - just a couple of bowls, some spatulas, and a good thermometer. Oh... and about $40 wroht of ingredients. That sounds like a pretty low cost start to me. Make the BEST, and your customers will spread the word.
6. Set goals and then work your a$$ off to achieve them. Each goal should surpass the last. In no time you'll look back in amazement at what you were able to accomplish with the right attitude.
7. This one's important: Do NOT look at your business as a job!! Look at it as a source of income for you. There's a big difference: A job is a ball and chain that holds you down, prevents you from doing the things you really like, and never gets you forward. A source of income is an independent, stand alone way to make you money while you enjoy life. When you do work for the business, send it an invoice for your time. After all, it's worth just as much money as if you had to hire someone else to do the same job. Tracking your time/money ratio will also reveal how to streamline processes and push tasks onto the hands of lower paid staff. For example: Do you REALLY need to wrap those 500 truffles, or can you pay someone $10 per hour to do that while you get on the phone and drum up more business? Your cost to the business to wrap 500 truffles: $200 and 2 hours of lost prospecting time. The cost of a temporary laborer: $20 MINUS 2 hours of your time freed up to drum up more business = -$180. You have just saved your company $180.
I know it sounds cliche, but it's SO true: Winners never quit, and quitters never win.
Hope that helps.
Well said. Couldn't agree more!
I have read many of your posts on this forum and this one might very well be the best and most inspiring.
Are you still looking for a chocolate partner?Please email me if you are ?
I just saw your post can you email me , or call 9176567274@ BKBONGAR@GMAIL.COM