Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What's next...chocolate?

Well, I announced last week that Andy and I would be moving back to Virginia at the end of the month...so now what? This move for us is quite the risk. Andy has a really well paying job here in California, so leaving that job for the unknowns of Virginia is a bit scary. While it is scary, we are so happy with our decision and are determined to make Virginia work for us once and for all. If California has taught us anything, it is that we want to settle in Virginia and be near our good friends and family no matter what it takes.

(Some of my seasonal pumpkin-spice truffles from last fall.)
I have had a lot of inquiries lately as to whether or not I will start my chocolate business back up upon our move back to VA. This is such a hard decision for me to make. When I started Zest Chocolat I poured my whole heart and soul into it. I lived, ate, and breathed chocolate. The year leading up to my business opening was a fun year of learning, trial, and error. Then, when I officially started my business it was a whirlwind of kitchen inspections, wholesale agreements, marketing, newspaper articles, and bulk orders. All of a sudden I was pumping out chocolate in amounts that I didn't think I was capable of. While the quick success of my business was exciting, it was also stressful. I wasn't eating or sleeping well, and on top of that I was having a hard time keeping up with my bookkeeping and the other boring parts of owning/running a business.

Because my chocolate business was the first business that I have started, (other than a photography business) I made a lot of mistakes. I used the best (expensive) possible ingredients that I could find, which really jacked up my costs. While I could boast really high quality chocolate products, I did not charge prices equally to the costs involved. After some financial evaluations, Andy and I discovered that my brownies were actually causing my business to lose money because I was not charging enough. Well shoot! So the story continues with mistakes that were made... If I were to do it again, so many things would change. In fact, I think so many things would change that it would not be me anymore.

Something I learned about running a chocolate business is that I am not a very business minded person. My whole goal with Zest Chocolat was to make everyone happy through chocolate. A great goal right? Well not when you are giving away a large potion of chocolate. I gave away SO much chocolate! The whole point of having a business is to make money, right? Well somehow I had a hard time combining making money and making people happy with chocolate. With all of that said, I do not think that I will be starting my chocolate business back up. I will definitely continue to make chocolate, but only for fun and happiness, not to make a living. :) Maybe one day in the future I will think about starting a business again, but until then I hope to do something else...like teach! More about my teaching plans later though.


  1. You can make me happy with chocolate any time you want. Just sayin'.... (wink)

  2. You sound like me. That's why I don't want to continue with real estate. I just wanted to help people and gave away too many hours of my time. But the kind of work I do now is like selling ice cream (or chocolate). People smile and say thank you! Nice.

    1. Wonderful! Ice-cream is my next endeavor...once I have the energy to go the business route again. :)