Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Marcy Goetz, Co-Owner of Chocolate Inspirations, located in Roselle, IL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are a mother/daughter-owned specialty chocolate company. We, along with our team of women, including my 94-year-old grandmother, Charlotte (she works 6 hours a day packaging candy), make handmade, artisan traditional, and plant-based chocolate and confections. Our line includes comfort favorites such as our award-winning English Toffee, salted caramel, and Espresso Toffee and unique original recipes such as our Ruby Toffee, Cinnamon Toast Toffee, and our plant-based English Toffee, Espresso Toffee, Cinnamon Toast Toffee. If you love peanut butter, you MUST try our outstanding Chocolate Peanut Butter Pillows; they are a best-seller with our traditional and vegan customers. Currently, we are the only company that creates a plant-based/vegan version of "traditional" English Toffee. We specialize in corporate gifting; however, our products are also available through our website. We ship all over the United States.
Tell us about yourself
Our business began after my mom attended a chocolate class. After, she pulled out her homemade English Toffee recipe, applied her new skills, and gave it to friends as gifts. Soon her phone was ringing off the hook with requests to purchase her toffee. She became so busy that my family of women and I stepped in to help. We were so impressed by the frenzy her toffee created we told her she should open her own business. The following year mom traded a batch of her homemade cookies for her first chocolate machine, and Chocolate Inspirations was born. I wanted the world to know that she made the BEST chocolate, so I stepped in to help with sales and marketing. Making people happy is our motivation. It is an amazing feeling to watch someone taste our chocolate and giggle with delight. To know that we made a small part of their day just a little bit better - it's awesome!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
It's not one big thing; it's a combination of our everyday values and purpose - When employees tell us how much they love their job, when customers share their wonderful experiences with our company, when my 94-year-old grandmother has a fun place to go every day, to have coffee, chat and be busy (otherwise she would go crazy). When things are tough, you don't give up. They are all little things that happen to us; they are big accomplishments.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Having to do it "all." A small business is a small budget; you have to build your business before you can hire people to help with many of the tasks. Until then, you are the salesperson, the bookkeeper, social media, marketing, and the janitor. It's tough.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Create a business plan; there are many organizations that will help you for free such as the SBA. They are wonderful; take advantage of these opportunities.
- Find an accelerator program - there are many out there that cost very little or are free. This is where you will learn from other business owners and experts in the field. This is where you receive information that is not in the "text" books.
- Believe, believe, believe. You have to believe in yourself when no one else does.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Price correctly and know your profit margin. Again, the SBA is a great resource that can help you.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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