Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Frances Grant-Feriancek, Owner of Evertide Chocolate Maker, located in Lower Sackville, NS, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Evertide is a bean-to-bar chocolate maker, which means we make our chocolate from scratch using only transparently traded cacao beans. We use few ingredients and mindful processing to create chocolate that can best showcase the inherent tasting notes of each bean varietal. We use plastic-free products and biodegradable packaging.
Our customers have become more discerning in their food choices, quality and transparency of ingredients have become more important. Historically, our chocolate palettes have grown from candy chocolate bars to fine artisanal chocolate. Bean-to-bar craft chocolate is the next evolution of fine chocolate. The chocolate we make is identified not merely by country of origin but by the growing region. Much like wine varietals, each cacao region, genetics, and ferment develop the unique tasting notes of each bean.
Tell us about yourself
As a former chocolatier, I have always loved chocolate, and very recently, I became aware of the development of bean-to-bar chocolate making. It is a fulfillment of a long-ago daydream to create my own chocolate from scratch; what was not possible at that time is now. Bean-to-bar chocolate makers have adopted and adapted small-scale machinery from other food industries for chocolate production at the creator level. As chocolate makers, we are in control of every aspect of our chocolate, from choosing the cacao beans, creating the bean roast profiles, recipe, refining, tempering, and moulding, to the finished packaging and presentation.
Every day is different, the learning is continuous, and I find this invigorating and rewarding. I also value direct contact with my chocolate people; their opinions of my chocolate and their feedback is an important part of my work.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
The first steps can be the most challenging; just starting and taking that leap into business is not for the faint of heart. Ideas, dreams, and plans do not put you personally at risk; you have to have the courage of your convictions and just do what your soul is telling you is right for you to do. As we continue to grow, we will need to expand to a larger facility and hire a larger chocolate-making team while keeping our commitment to making great-tasting ethical chocolate. We love connecting with our chocolate explorers, people who love the great taste and are waiting for better chocolate.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
It can, at times, feel isolating to be the only decision maker and key employee. It feels like you are moving this train forward and setting the direction too! I look forward to the day I can build a chocolate-making team. People who, like me, are excited to learn about chocolate and geek out at the intricacies of the chocolate-making process. And business accounting, that is the worst; I have and will always need professional help in that aspect of running my own business.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Do your homework before you start or before you grow to your next stage. Do your business plan; it is time-consuming, and no one likes to do it, but it is a valuable tool. For me, it identified what I knew and what I didn’t know. It also prepares you for the obstacles that will occur. When things happen, and they will, you have a plan ready to help mitigate the situation.
- Learn as much as you can about your business and consult experts in your field; most are excited to share their experiences and will have an insight you could not possibly have. Even small businesses outside your business sector will have insights and may even become collaborators.
- Listen to your customers; you will learn where and what you need to adapt. Your new product lines will come from discussions with your patrons. I love making my customers part of my business and being able to share when their input has influenced my business.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
As a small business owner, you will work harder and longer than you would ever expect an employee to. You will be a terrible boss for yourself, so you will need to learn how and when to take care of yourself. Celebrate when you can, do what fills you, exercise, look at the sky, whatever it is, do it!
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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