Hands down, the best part of this chocolate making journey of ours has been and continues to be the people we’ve met along the way and the relationships that have developed. We said way back in the beginning that part of our philosophy was one hand up, one hand down, and that we have a deep commitment to paying it forward. It’s amazing how busy all of those hands have been going both up and down, and how freely they’ve been extended over the last several years. People have shared their wisdom, their knowledge, their time, their feedback, their beans and chocolate(!), their trust and confidence and hearts. We have a LOT to pay forward (which we’re doing our best to do).
In that spirit, we thought we’d offer and update on where we are today and what’s working and what we still have to tackle.
March will be our first ‘real’ month of sales – if we don’t count the cost of our labor we’ll finish just above break-even for the first time. We expect sales to be pretty lumpy for the next year or so, but at least the net dollars going out are doing so more slowly now than they have been for the last 18 months. We have a lot of work in front of us as we continue to build our brand, our channels, our capacity, and refine our manufacturing processes.
First up is increasing our tempering capacity. So far we’ve been doing it all, believe it or not, with one little Rev2 machine. Providing the feedback is positive on our first big order and we have reasonable prospects for a second order, we’ll order a larger tempering machine – hopefully yet in March. Hot on the heels of that upgrade will be getting our new melangeur up and going. We’re waiting on some new parts to arrive from India and for help with the electrical and the motor controller. If all goes to plan (but why should anything start going to plan now??) we could see it take its first couple of tentative spins by May.
In parallel with that we’ll be working on our branding, our website, and figuring out what we want to do with social media. We’re fish out of water in this realm, but we have a secret weapon behind us now (thank you ‘A’!).
We’ll post more soon, but at the moment these two chocolate makers are exhausted and calling it a day!