Wednesday, March 18, 2015

03.18.2015 - Wednesday

I just got home from a talk by Jerry Greenfield, one of the co-founders of Ben & Jerry's, and it has me all excited and pumped to start a chocolate company again! I want to take a different approach this time though and build it slowly. What I'm thinking is that I get my home kitchen all cleaned up, and always vacuum up the dog hair before hand, and then just make things at home for friends and family. It'll be the cost of ingredients and packaging (including shipping and handling) and maybe a flat fee for my time. This will give me a chance to perfect my recipes, figure out packaging and flavors. When people have birthday parties, they can have a pile of S'mOregon bars instead of a cake, or when friends and friends of friends get married, I can make caramels or Shorty bars to give as favors. I need to grow the business slowly and save up money to build my own commercial kitchen when the time is right. I think the trouble with Draft Chocolates was that I rushed into the process without knowing all the steps and without enough money to rent the kitchen space. What I really need to do is have my own kitchen, preferably in my back yard, and built it at a time when I can hire help. So for now, chocolates and confections will continue to be a hobby (way to the side as I work on getting licensed). But it will be a way for me to build a business, preferably one that I can keep to the side of architecting. I also think I need to change the name, I got some uncoliscited advice that the name "wasn't good" which I didn't really care about because I was just doing it for me, but if I want to build a business, eventually, that can actually grow and support itself, I need a name that lets people know what I do.

Also Jerry's talk of giving back to the community, mostly by choosing to buy from local farmers, Fair Trade businesses and local businesses that supported people and really building a business based on their own closely held values, got me thinking. The chocolate I was using is Fair Trade, so that's doable. You kind of need to have scale to really get the numbers to work financially. 

Anyway, starting a chocolate/confections business (2.0) is on my long term goals. I need to approach it in a more financially responsible way this time. Grow more slowly, I have proof of concept and the couple farmer's markets that I did, and the success of my Kickstarter. I'd be able to message those people when I start up again. Anyway, now it's 9:40pm, I need to study some more before I get to bed!

Also, I have a meeting tomorrow with the loud chip eating client. My brilliant solution: I put all the chips in the base cabinet so they won't be out when she is here!

I told Jerry that I had started a chocolate company using a Kickstarter but I had to shut it down because it was too expensive. He asked what was too expensive? I said "renting the kitchen". He asked "but did people like your chocolates? That's what's important!". To which I responded "they did! And I'm inspired to try again with a new approach from your talk!"

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