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.

Location: Worldwide
Members: 658
Latest Activity: on Wednesday

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.

Discussion Forum

Rotisserie Oven for Roasting

Started by Paul Picton. Last reply by Delcour Thomas Oct 17. 16 Replies

Sourcing Cacao Beans - Small Scale

Started by Eric Conceicao. Last reply by Eric Conceicao Oct 13. 5 Replies

Wholesale chocolate themed items

Started by Jo-Ellen Fairbanks. Last reply by PHLChocolate Oct 2. 2 Replies

Shared Journey

Started by David Senk. Last reply by David Senk Sep 28. 127 Replies

wholesale cacao beans/nibs

Started by Lisa R. Last reply by Valadi Krishnan Jaganathan Sep 24. 33 Replies

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Startup Central to add comments!

Comment by Loretta on February 21, 2012 at 6:16am

Hi everyone!

I'm from Rome in Italy (but I live in a neighbouring village). I started do home chocolates in 2004, since I attended two professional courses at Castalimenti in Brescia, with the extraordinary Man and Master Eliseo Tonti. I sell them just twice a year and my customers have been constantly increasing, together with my chocolate passion.

Now I'm working to open an ecological chocolate workshop even if in Italy is very difficult change work. This is my goal for the near future!

I'm very glad to join this community. Thanks all!


Comment by Kathryn James on February 17, 2012 at 10:14am

Hi everyone!

I'm brand new to working with chocolate.  I'd actually never tempered before December 31...I was determined to start the new year doing something I'd never done before, so I made truffles.  This snowballed into realizing that someone had to eat all those truffles if I wanted to make more and experiment with new flavors.  Then I thought it might be nice if I could sell the truffles so that I'd have money to buy more chocolate with.  Now here we are, less than 2 months into the year and I find myself running a business...not that I know how to run a business!  I've been an administrative professional in the construction field, a customer service agent in a call center, a licensed counselor, a non-profit program manager, and I'm also an actress and a musician, so I know little bits about how all those businesses operate, but I've never had to pull it all together and do it for a business of my own.  Thankfully, Arizona allows me to make confections out of my home kitchen and I've found a farmers market craft fair that doesn't require the $1M liability insurance and an up-front fee to reserve a space that most places do around here.  Selling at the craft fair is helping me build some buzz, and my local friends have been very supportive.  I've registered the business with the state and I have all my health department stuff squared away, but every time I turn around there's something new I haven't considered--insurance (still waiting on quotes), taxes (it takes 4 weeks for them to process the form by mail?!), a business checking account (to open with what money?), a business plan (wait, you mean beyond, "I think I'll do those vanilla truffles again, people really responded well to those"?) ... I'm constantly feeling like I went about this all wrong, but I just can't stop!  I'm determined to make this work.

I've named the business "Sweets by 5ftLatina" and I have a website at that's still under construction and a Facebook page at that has most of my info and pictures etc.

I'm really looking forward to being a part of this community and so glad I found others I can have discussions with who share my passion!


Kathryn James

Comment by Donna Slepicka on February 15, 2012 at 11:13am

Hi Everyone,

I am a mother of two, with my first child(and only daughter) off to college, I recently decided to take my passion for chocolate and open a small retail space with a production kitchen in my home town.

I have been renting a certified kitchen but cost is becaming too high.  I started my business as home based and attended a lot of shows and charity events to sell.  My following has grown and I now have a number of corporate clients and events who order regularly.

I am hoping to open my space in late spring 2012. My backround is in marketing and accounting, but I am rusty on the accounting side.

I have refered to the Chocolate Life for information, inspiration and I love the classifieds.

I do have a website: for info and visuals only.

I am on Facebook, a regular Constant Contact newletter user, have a brief Utube video(link through my website) and can be reached at

Thanks and keep posting-I love it!

Donna Fantetti-Slepicka

Comment by Ancel Mitchell on December 26, 2011 at 1:23pm
Hi all,
I live on a permaculture farm on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, the farm was a cacao plantation before. The last two decades have been dedicated to raising tropical fruits and spices, but we have become increasingly interested in working our cacao. Our trees are matina forestero, and we're planting trinitario now. Up until recently we have been using our cacao for products we sell at our local farmers market, and having bars made with our cacao and vanilla by a local producer. Now we are very excited to be trying our hand at the production! We're waiting for our melanger to get through customs :) have many questions and queries and am so grateful for this forum and website! Our farm, Finca la Isla, can be seen here:

Thanks! Best wishes for a chocolate coated 2012!
Comment by Suzie Hoban on November 16, 2011 at 4:14pm

Hi All, I'm another soon-to-be-graduate of Ecole Chocolate. I'm planning to set up a business in Bogota, Colombia. Chocolate as a drink is very popular here but chocolate as a gourmet food is relatively novel. My plan is to transform the "maid's room" in my apartment into a small chocolate workshop and build from there. 

Happy to meet everyone.




Comment by Kim Darling on November 10, 2011 at 10:27am


I've been reading a learning from this group for about 3 months now.  I'm just about finished with ecolechocolat chocolatier course and am looking forward to starting and building a small chocolatier business in the town I'm now living in.  



Comment by sinclair pinto on November 9, 2011 at 8:26pm


This is my first group enrollment. I have worked since the last 9 years for several michelin chefs in london and USA. I am currently in San Francisco and am interested in all things chocolate. 

Hope this is an adequate introduction.

Thank you and have a nice day.

Comment by Mann Made Chocolate on October 26, 2011 at 11:51pm

I hate to take up anyone's time, but since Clay invited us to say hello,  I'll say "Hi" to the group.

I am a very small volume, client-only artisan chocolatier (i.e., still have a day job). I've been at this for about 8 years, and have built up a substantial fan base of customers, but do not consider myself a retail enterprise.  I am passionate about the art and craft and, frankly, the science, which to science-nerds like me is amazing.

I won't pretend I fully understand why people tell me they love my creations. (No, not just friends and family.)  Maybe it's because so many people have never had truly fresh chocolates before the subtle volatiles have dissipated. Maybe it's because I use time-consuming "old style" methods.  Maybe it's because of the secret ingredients I've learned to add or maybe because I put my customers' money into high quality ingredients, not packaging, keeping my prices reasonable.  Or maybe it's just because they just think it's funny that a medical doctor makes chocolates.  I don't know.  But, it's hard to argue with the feedback I get, and while I'm trying to keep this a truly small, artisan activity, if the demand increases, I may enter the commercial world, and if I do, I'm sure I'll be totally clueless on the legalities, regulations, etc.  I hope to read the wisdom of others (and The Chocolate Life is great for wisdom!) as I explore "what's next."

Thank you for listening and best of luck to all who work with this amazing substance.

-Bruce A. Mann, Chief Chocolate Officer, Mann Made Chocolate

PS: if you're one of those Facebook types, we're on The real website is "under construction" at

Comment by Bethany Garland on October 11, 2011 at 11:29am

Hi, I'm in the process of starting a small chocolate company in California that focuses on cake toppers, center pieces and small scale show pieces. I have been a passionate chocolate lover since 2004, having discovered my true calling in life while in culinary school. I have worked with artisan chocolate companies in the past, but now I'm excited to start my own.   I'm very grateful to have discovered The Chocolate Life and this forum.

Comment by Clay Gordon on September 29, 2011 at 9:40am
Emily - there are a bunch of threads about airbrushing and molds decoration in the main discussions on the home page. You can use the Google search box in the middle of the page to locate them (search for Airbrush). These "Allow Me to Introduce Myself" comments to the group is not the place to start a technical discussion for many reasons. If you don't find the answers you're looking for, please start a new discussion in the main discussion forum in the category "Tips, Tricks, and Techniques."

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