Hello again everyone. I've been gone for a while as the real world took over and I've had to travel a lot for my day job. Now the problem exists that my side job is starting to expand as well. Mostly we make things for family, friends and coworkers at the moment, but those orders have been on the rise.
I'd love to have the opportunity to stay small for a while until I can put together the capital to actually put up a shop. (between a wedding, honeymoon, and hopefully buying a house this year, the money for a shop just isn't there)
My question here is this. Is it possible to remain small and chocolate focused anymore? In Salem, where I hope to build the business, there is a Sees candies and a Rocky Mountain chocolate factory. I realize that is a lot of competition to overcome, but with the grass roots movements here in the NorthWest, I think there is room for a hand crafting guy to come in and snag some of that market. But is it really possible to just make good, hand crafted chocolates, candies, etc, or do you find that you have to branch out or move to bean-to-bar?
As always thanks for any insight that you can provide.
Stay small, grow big, franchise -- you can most certainly do whatever you like. You just need to set a goal, and then make a plan to get there.
So you have "a lot of competition to overcome," but you're not trying to drive them out of business or anything, right? Figure out what you're going to do different - and better -- and focus on that. They're going to do well whether you're there carving out your niche or not, and you can still be successful (whatever your definition) even if they are, too.
There's definitely room for hand-crafted guy in any market. I started just like you, and a couple years later opened up my second Kakao Chocolate store here in St. Louis, in the midst of several other chocolate stores, two of which are aiming to be national wholesalers. We're focusing on hand-dipped confections, interesting flavor combinations, and old-fashioned confections that no one seems to make anymore. And we've developed a loyal following that appreciates the fact that we don't have any "Lucille Ball" machines in the shop, and that we're focused on high quality chocolate.
Don't let anyone tell you it can't be done. Just do it.
Anything is possible, of course. Will it succeed? Well, you need to define what success means to you and make sure your focus is directed to achieve your goals.
Yours in Spirit,
I live in Peoria, IL and trust me when I say this: even with the chain stores you're products will be well accepted. I work out of a little tiny coffee house just north of Peoria, IL and I can't believe how busy I am. I am also a full time student and mother with a husband about to deploy to Iraq for over a year. I have been asking myself what do I do? I haven't fully decided but I think I am going to go into a hiatus for awhile because It's just too much for me. Family and school are priorities right now. But to answer your question, you can do what ever it is that you want to do. If you have to say no to customers then do it, but make sure they understand your intentions. You have major life changes right now and people should and hopefully respect that. If you have a great product, they will come back when you are ready to come back at it.