After reading many discussions on this website for almost a year, I am finally introducing myself. Howdy!
I am in the nascent stages of starting my business. By training, I am a philosopher. But in a year off from academia I fell into chocolatiering and then quickly designed, packaged, and sold my product (my one product) in Los Angeles (to retailers and to individual clients). By 6-month's end of being "in business" I stopped production and moved to Houston to continue my doctoral studies in philosophy.
Now I am in Houston and I can no longer ignore the chocolate itch.
This time around I'd like to begin by doing things differently. In LA, I did everything. EVERYTHING. It was all very micro-batch. Recipe R&D, tempering (by hand), dipping, shelling peanuts by hand, designing brand aesthetic, label design, printing labels, cutting labels, hand-wrapping confections, marketing (and more marketing, social media, etc), selling wholesale, selling retail (like to people in hip parts of LA out of my leather satchel but also at pop-up markets), and building my network in the gastro-arts. It was fun because I was looking for something to do, but it was not very sustainable. By the time I had to leave LA I was burned out, as you could imagine.
This time I would like to begin by finding someone who can help on the production end, and perhaps getting a tempering machine just to automatize that end of things. I'd also like to find someone to print my labels for me, and if I decide to re-brand (now would be the time) to find someone to design for me. Costs of all that, though, can be prohibitive. And I like the aesthetic I've created. Of course, there's the name recognition (if I were to offer my oeuvre in LA).
So right now I will begin navigating the acquisition of licenses and permits here in Texas. I will finalize some products too and finalize packaging (I no longer wish to print and cut my own labels). All very nascent still. At some point I will begin writing my business plan as well. And all in the foreground, are my studies in philosophy.
I am currently most interested in and reading through the archives for: 1) where to acquire packaging for small scale production, 2) business plan guidance, 3) thoughts on (new world) (soft) nougat, and 4) finding a small capacity tempering machine (~10lbs).
Nice to finally and formally introduce myself.
What an outstanding combination: chocolate (emotional) and philosophy (rational), I guess it will be interesting to see the outputs!!!
Anyway if I can help.....which kind of tempering machine? Batch or continuous?
Nice to meet ya!
That's certainly one way that my two main lines marry together! Perhaps too one day I'll start a "Philosophy of Chocolate" research project.
The Delta or the X3210 would be nice, as far as tempering machines go. But I think my current budget is more on par with a used Hilliards Little Dipper. I'm looking for around 10lb capacity and I don't have much to spend. Any leads anyone?
I'm interested. Email away!