Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dawn Nita, Owner of DWN Craft Chocolatier, located in Orillia, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
DWN Chocolate makes uniquely flavoured chocolate bars and panned items hand-crafted in small batches from a factory in Orillia, Ontario. DWN incorporates the fundamentals of bean-to-bar chocolate making with the whimsical colour and flavour combinations of fine chocolate bonbons, focusing on using natural and local ingredients. DWN customers are chocolate enthusiasts, and the company offers variations on the classic dark and milk chocolate and unique flavour combinations.
Tell us about yourself
I have been working in kitchens for over ten years and in pastry for the majority of that time. Years ago, I decided to specialize in chocolate instead of bread making because the hours were much better (no 4 am wake-ups). I first worked with one of Canada's first bean-to-bar chocolate makers. I then moved to a boutique company that specialized in colourful bonbons. DWN reflects my personal values of using what nature provides both in terms of colour and flavour.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
The concept for DWN Chocolate percolated for about five years before actually launching. As an entrepreneur, I spent so much time getting ready to press go that I wasn't thinking about what would happen after launch. It is incredulous to me right now that I opened a factory and a retail store (during a global pandemic) that doubled sales in a year, as well as having two employees. The ideas are now tangible.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I was under the assumption that once my e-commerce site went live, people would just find the company and start placing orders. However, the success of DWN has come from meeting as many people as possible and having them try the product. The hustle is real but super rewarding.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
You will need twice as much money as you anticipate. Things will take twice as long as you anticipate. The first step is to show up and then repeat every day.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Remember that one candle can light a thousand candles and still remain lit.
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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