Extra Income Through Chocolate Making Part I - Hints And Tips
By Bob Sherman
As tough economic times drag on, I have given substantial thought to how our business can help make a difference in peoples lives. We do this in many ways that are not obvious - free projects and instructions, inexpensive classes, holding prices whenever possible, offering premiums with purchases, discount coupons, and so forth. In this article I will try to help in a more visible manner - by providing solid information that may help you make ends meet. This is the first of several articles I have planned.
Although some of this information was to be incorporated in an upcoming book and seminar, I'm not comfortable with trying to make money on peoples misfortunes so the book has been put on hold until better economic times and this article series is being split between our free section and our members section.
I should hope at this point those readers that don't know me are questioning all this since I am in the chocolate business (if not, then you are too trusting). Those who have known me or my business for years know I believe in 100% honesty, and would never knowingly give false information or otherwise present information just to sell more stuff. For everyone else all I can say is read on and keep an open mind.
- I've been publishing instruction and project articles to the internet since 1996. Many of these are available for free, and overall are the best, most accurate information of its type ever published (better than most information you might pay for in a book).
- I'm the author of a candle marketing book and occasionally offer candle business seminars. Small business marketing of chocolate is in many ways similar to marketing candles.
- Make your own decisions - I would never tarnish my reputation by publishing misleading information, but nothing I can say will convince you better than your own common sense. I am simply presenting ideas here so pick and choose what sounds best for you.
I must stress that none of the ideas presented here will make you rich (at least not without a huge amount of time, effort, and dedication). I don't believe in get rich quick schemes, and believe that anyone who knows a way to get rich quick wouldn't be sharing their techniques. The following ideas are more suited to extra income or possibly a small business.
Although this is not a marketing idea, one popular way to stretch your budget is to make your own gifts. When packaged nicely many chocolates make a well appreciated and expensive looking gift. Try to avoid sloppy packaging - tossing some chocolates in a sandwich bag just doesn't convey the message that you put a lot of time, thought, and effort into making the gift. Try to theme gift chocolates to the person's interests, or the occasion.
General Chocolate Business Tips
I have found the following hints and tips help build chocolate sales. Obviously not every tip will apply to every situation, but use as many as possible to maximize your success.
Try to avoid the same tired designs that everyone else uses. There are more styles of mold made for chocolate than for any other molded product (many thousands of styles). If you use only molds available from your local super store, you are only offering people the same designs they could easily buy themselves.
Anyone can pour chocolate into a mold. Try to be different and use your molds in unique ways.
Mold painted chocolates command a higher price than plain chocolates and will outsell similar chocolates that are unpainted. Even simple mold painting enhances chocolates. This is a skill well worth developing and it takes very little practice. See my Basic Mold Painting Instructions for more information about this.
When appropriate, candy eyes or other embellishments greatly enhance the appearance of your chocolates. Royal icing piped on with a decorating bag is also a popular embellishment.
Always use nice packaging - sloppy packaging is less appealing to customers. Clean crisp bags tied with curling ribbon or twist ties, wrapping foil, or even boxes cause potential customers to view you as a professional. Sloppy packaging is the hallmark of an amateur.
Taste seems to matter less to customers than appearance when buying specialty chocolates, but better tasting chocolate does help get repeat business. My personal preference is Mercken's Coatings which are simple to work with and taste very good. It is a good idea to avoid melts from the local super store as these usually don't taste very good and you'll want your chocolates to taste better than what customers can make themselves easily.
Every chocolate you sell should be as perfect as you can make it. Chocolates with bubbles or other cosmetic problems should be re melted. Never try to sell a substandard product.
Things To Avoid
I find that hand making chocolates with any type of filling consumes far more time than selling them will justify. Although these can be fun to make, try to limit making filled chocolates to gifts and for personal use because you will usually not be able to charge enough for them to cover your labor. This is one area of chocolate making where competing with companies that mass product chocolates with machines is very difficult.
Support Free Projects
You can help ensure the continued availability and production of free chocolate projects by telling your friends about them. The more popular they are the more we can produce so tell your friends, mention them on message boards, link to them from your web site, etc... More information is available here.
Disclaimer: The information presented here is accurate to the best of my knowledge and usage practices as of the time of this writing - originally published in April 2009 and updated in November 2010. The author and the publisher accept no liability for the use or misuse of any of the information presented in this article. This article is presented for informational purposes and is used at your own risk.
Author: Bob Sherman
Publisher: Bobby's Craft Boutique Inc.
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