I'm hoping we could share ideas and leads among us similarly minded small business owners.
Anyone willing to share how they are marketing their product? How did you begin? Clay have you written any articles on this topic for the small chocolatier?
Are you going to gourmet food shows? If so, which ones have generated business for you and which ones haven't been very fruitful?
How are you introducing your product to your general area?
Do you target specific businesses? Have you found some retailers sell more chocolate then others. For example, do florists move chocolate products? Are independent coffee shops successful retailers of chocolate products? If so, do you find that certain sizes and packaging are specific to each seperate market? Have any of you targeted restaurants or large food distributors like Sysco or US Foods?
I guess I'll start...............
I've just begun trying to sell my product. Heck, I'm still working on my packaging and I'm soooo small I've only purchased set-up boxes in 25 box quantities. I've connected with a local (very upscale) florist to retail my product. Right now, I'm thinking I'd only want one retailer per suburban neighborhood. Maybe that's a mistake, but I want to support each retailer in promoting sales and not become over saturated in any one area.
So to support my (first) retailer I've contacted two large social networks in that community and I'm making sample donations to their events. My packaging will have my label on top, on the bottom of the package with my ingredient list I'm mentioning the retailer where they can buy my product.
I can see doing similar for dozens of suburbs in my area. It obviously will take a lot of time!!! In addition, I want to get a website up and running where people could actually place orders and I'd ship to them. I find it hard to believe anyone will buy product off my website if they haven't already tasted it. AND SO............I see the need to spead up this process as fast as possible. That's why I ask what you all are doing to market your products?
Ideally you want to research your area and identify all of the vendors that have the type of business/clientele that can afford higher ticket food items ( gourmet chocolates). Then you would want to ensure that your product will stand out amongst their current selection. Find out who to pitch your product to, show up with samples etc, etc, etc.
Introducing a NEW product through a major distributor would have to mean that you have the manufacturing capabilities that allow you to sell your product DIRT cheap while being 100% compliant with any and all necessary gov't regulations.