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Help!!!What do I need to open an artisan chocolate shop??


I am a chocolate lover, and i have recently started to consider opening an chocolate shop wih a friend.

I am an artist and at the same time I have been running a family shopping mall.

I want ti change career and have been thinking about the chocolate business.

My friend is a documentalist.


We have been investigating but appart from the love of chocolate i do not know anything about the business.


Any advice>??one of my main concerns is to know if knowing how to make chocolates is a must in order to open the store. Do I need to depend on a chef??any advice welcome.


Many thanks,

Maria Teresa from Venezuela 

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Comment by Chocolate University Online on October 4, 2011 at 12:48pm
Would suggest that you first learn to make good chocolates. Start selling stuff to your friends and relatives. Your business could spread with people telling each other. When you are confident enough of getting enough customers, you can open a small shop in your own locality and you will have a ready client then.
Comment by maria teresa gonzalez on September 26, 2011 at 12:10pm


many thanks for your comment. I couldn´t agree more. At the moment we are in the researching part. and until we do not feel secure that we know all we can (from the heart and mind) about the chocolate. We won´t be taking the next step of making this dream a reality.  I have been a business woman and an artist for more than 15 years and will not be joking when talking about a new project. That is why I am looking for advice. This is a long journey that has just started, and any piece of advice will be strongly appreciated!

Many thanks, Maria


Comment by Richard Foley on September 26, 2011 at 1:38am
Fundamentally, dnt get into any business you know little about. I have been in the chocolate and Pastry business for 30 years wholesaling to thousands of small businesses. The number one success story is ALWAYS a direct connection with quality, know how, and passion. I would hate to see yet another person get into a business and do it wrong. Do it right, make money, do it wrong, close up shop and waste time. I suggest you go to chocolate school, and learn as much as you can first, and also learn about the business side from professionals. Start your new business smart. A good chocolatier is good for the industry, and a bad one is bad for everyone, not just the unfortunate owner. Chocolate is not easy. Business is not easy.
Comment by Susie Wyshak on September 20, 2011 at 5:58pm

Hi Maria, What about seeing if you can be an apprentice to a confectioner to learn the ropes? Many cities have Small Business Development Centers where you can work on a business plan and get help if you are new to business.



Comment by maria teresa gonzalez on September 19, 2011 at 9:03pm

yes excatly. i will be making the product with their this point I am on the research and "dreaming" step.... and yes, of course I am looking for a chef who will do the confections, but I am planing on taking courses as well. And accepting advise from the experts...


Comment by Conrad Miller on September 19, 2011 at 2:49pm

Ok, now I'm confused.  If you have chocolate from El Rey and Birongo, are you selling products that they make?  Or are you inquiring about making your own products from these chocolatiers?


If you don't know how to make your own products, you won't be able to open a store. Yes, you should be concerned.  You will need to rely on someone who can make those things that you want to sell.

Comment by maria teresa gonzalez on September 19, 2011 at 11:48am
Many, many thanks for your time. Although I think i didn´t explain myself correctly. When I talked about chocolate I was refering to truffles and confectuons. The chocolate itself i will be buying it from two different Venezuelan makers. One is El Rey which is a very big company and the other one is Birongo which I recently visited and they have a very small and artisan production(a very interesting project)....
Comment by Conrad Miller on September 19, 2011 at 1:48am

Hey There Maria,

If you are good at business, then you can sell anything, especially chocolate.  Chocolate sells itself! But if you are just starting to learn about chocolate, it would better to partner with someone who is the best you can find, and who will want to help you learn about chocolate.


If you can find beans, mill them on a metate, and create a paste, then you are then a chocolate maker!  Form there you can possibly add dried or candied ingredients like peppers or lemons, or not! Making chocolate isn't as hard as making fantastic chocolate!  So as you practice making chocolate, you will get better.  Always buy the best beans (no harsh chemicals), and make sure they're from a reputable source (no child or forced labor).


But first, just learn as much as you can about chocolate, and find every book online about it!  Clay Gordon, the guy who runs this site has a great book, "Discover Chocolate" on his profile page available for sale.  


There's also a thriving eco-tourism trade with cacao farming happening in Mexico and Belize.  Venezuela would be an attractive destination for many Americans.  And of course, you have great cacao growing there.


Have a great time!



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