I want to introduce myself. I'm beginning to convert my hobby into a business, I'm just not sure what kind of business. Health issues prevent me from running a store on a regular schedule. I'm thinking of selling my chocolates at farmers markets, local fairs, festivals and through local shops. Portland Maine is a foodie town and a few prominent local chefs say I should start a business, so here I go. Some restaurants have asked me to sell my chocolates there. I guess that's a good sign.
I've procured the Rev 2 and ACMC tempering machines and a lot of polycarbonate molds which I love to work with. I started with Guittard Akoma chocolate chips I bought at Whole Foods but now use Callebut 811NV callets I get from a local restaurant supplier.
I have a d.b.a. from the city and I have access to a few local restaurant kitchens in their off hours. My attempts to sell chocolates at holiday fairs were disasters but that's more on the event organizers. I'm figuring out how to find new markets while dealing with state and local regulations. I'm researching business plans.
Local cream and butter sets me apart from some of the other chocolatiers in the area and my biggest challenge right now is learning how to extend the shelf life of my dairy based ganaches and creams or how to manage inventory for items with a short shelf life.
I hate the word bon-bon so I call my ganache filled chocolates truffles, even though they technically aren't.
I do not like most fondant based fillings and am developing an alternative.
Welcome to The Chocolate Life. This is a fantastic resource for all of us chocolate folks, so if you have any questions don't hesitate, the great members on here will answer just about anything you ask. And Clay is the most knowledgeable person I've come across when it comes to chocolate and the science of chocolate.
I'm in CT but get up to Maine a few times a year, do you have a website or Facebook page where you can tell people where you'll selling? When my wife and I travel we search out other chocolate shops and would love to try your work.
Also as a side note, I buy my chocolate from Qzina, they are out of NJ the prices are very reasonable and they carry several brands of chocolate including Callebaut. You should look them up I think the minimum order is $200 or $250 dollars and shipping isn't too bad either, it may save you a few dollars and they carry so much more than chocolate. Just a thought.
Best of luck on your journey,