The Chocolate Life

Discover Chocolate and Live La Vida Cocoa!


Startup Central

Are you looking to start a chocolate business? Want to talk to others who've been there or done that - or have you been there and done it and want to share with others? This is the place to discuss it.

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Startup Central

Do you make great chocolates? Know everything there is to know about tempering chocolate and cooking the perfect caramel? Able to turn out thousands of finished chocolates without blinking any eye?

Does the thought of using Quickbooks or writing a business plan sends you screaming into the walk-in begging for mercy?

This group is for you. When you join, please introduce yourself to the group in a comment on this page. Yes, I know you have a profile page, but it would be great to have you add a few words about you and your business in the context of this group. If you have a website, feel free to post a link to it. Please don't post a link to your profile page, people can just click on your profile photo to visit that.

PS. Below is the full picture I used for the Group photo. It's a chocolate store/cafe in Mexico. Those are stone mills (the kind Taza uses) to the right of the guy with his back to you in the blue shirt and notice that they are selling beans. The stone mills suggest that this store is located in Oaxaca.

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Comment by Young Yang on April 5, 2010 at 2:16pm
Hello, my wife and I have recently opened a chocolate shop in San Antonio, TX. Choicolate (my wife is the one who creates and makes chocolates and her last name is "choi"). The website is still under construction behind scenes. I have tons of questions and need advices and at the same time I hope to be helps for other members.
Comment by Danielle on March 30, 2010 at 12:30am
Hi: I started studying chocolate a couple of years ago. I wanted to learn how to dip my homemade caramels and sell them. This started my adventure into confections and now I am studying to be a confectioner. I have been to classes at the Chocolate Academy in Chicago, as well as taken classes from an independent chocolatier. I have taken a chocolatier class online and am now in the middle of reading Minifie's book "Chocolate, Cocoa and Confections." I hope to be open with my own business online in 6 months, starting with caramels and eventually branching into chocolate truffles.
Comment by Howard Roth on March 19, 2010 at 3:36pm
Hi all. I'm joining from Chicago. My son and I (he's graduating high school this year) have made chocolate together since 2006 and are now interested in taking this hobby to a new level. By the way, I've been in that chocolate shop in Oaxaca (pictured at the top of this group) and it was the inspiration for me to come home and try to make chocolate myself.
Comment by Patricia D. on March 8, 2010 at 12:59am
I am a Chilean resident in San Francisco and I am in the stage of testing a product. I am looking forward to learn more about chocolate. If there are classes in the city or nearby I would appreciate the information. This is a great community and I have been learning a lot just from reading your posts. Thanks!
Comment by Shelley Fields on March 3, 2010 at 12:46am
Will do, thanks for the suggestion!
Comment by Debby on March 2, 2010 at 10:28pm
Shelly, if you'll start a discussion for that topic it would be easier to follow the answers rather than have them buried in the comments. And, I would be more than happy to answer. "It all began with the bees..."
Comment by Dirke Botsford on March 2, 2010 at 5:48pm
Thanks Emily, looks tasty. I will pass on the link to my friend. Much appreciated.
Comment by Emily on March 2, 2010 at 4:59pm
Dirke, have you looked at Lagusta's Luscious for vegan chocolate ideas? Her truffles look great, and I've contacted her before with questions about her products. She's very friendly and responsive as well.
Comment by Shelley Fields on March 2, 2010 at 4:35pm
If anyone that is currently in business would be so kind as to answer these questions, your answers would be so helpful to those of us starting out! No dollar amounts are needed unless you are comfortable sharing, as they can be so helpful!

1. How did you get into chocolate and when did you actually start your business?
2. What was your original strategy?
3. How did that change and why?
4. What did you think would happen vs what really happened?
5. What is your vision?
6. Who is your target market?
7. How did you figure out how much money you needed to start?
8. Was it enough?
9. How long did you think it would carry you? Did it? If not, why?
10. How long before you were in the black?
11. What was the best advice you received regarding your business?
12. What are the most important lessons you learned about the business side?
13. How big a price did you have to pay to learn that?
14. Knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?
15. What do you like the most and the least about your job/business? Was that a surprise?
Comment by Dirke Botsford on March 2, 2010 at 4:20pm
This is how I support cocoa growers/buyers and sellers and thought you may like this route? It helps out other entrepreneurs in developing countries.

I support entrepreneurs by investing in there business temporarily by helping to provide them with capital for investment. In my opinion it's a great way to sustain and create new ventures in cocoa.

If you are not familiar with it please check it out - Look under fundraising and then food. I am in no way affiliated with this organization, I just think it's good.

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