Sure, you may love chocolate. But did you know you can actually start a business as a chocolatier?
Professional chocolatiers can work for larger food companies or they can start their own solo ventures. Either way, it’s a career that can be incredibly rewarding.
Gail Ambrosius of Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier shared some insights in an email interview with Small Business Trends:
“One of my favorite things is getting happy compliments from my customers, and seeing the joy we bring with our chocolates. Another great joy for me is traveling to the farms that grow the caco that is made into the chocolate we use and thanking the farmers in person for all their hard work.”
In fact, Ambrosius conducted this email interview with Small Business Trends from Costa Rica, where she was visiting farms and learning about the agriculture behind her products.
That kind of commitment requires a real passion for chocolate, not just a casual fondness for it. For Ambrosius, it was a class trip to Paris when she was 17 that turned her fondness for chocolate into something more. She noticed customers’ faces as they enjoyed chocolate at local patisseries. She tried some real dark chocolate and then started dreaming about eventually owning a chocolate shop of her own.
That wouldn’t happen for many years though. Ambrosius’s leap into the chocolate business wasn’t exactly a typical one.
She first launched Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier in 2004 at the age of 44. She had recently been laid off from her job with the State of Wisconsin, where she had worked for over 10 years.
So she decided to finally start the chocolate business that she had dreamed about on her trip to Paris years before. She took a class with Ecole Chocolat, which offers online courses in chocolate making, and then returned to France where she learned from local chocolatiers.
Since officially launching her business in 2004, Ambrosius has grown from a tiny, one-person operation to a larger shop with ten employees. She continually creates new flavors and products, predominantly made with dark chocolate.
There may not be one clear route to the chocolate business. But a love of chocolate and some business sense are the only things truly required for becoming a great chocolatier. Ambrosius explained:
“Everyone’s situation is unique, but be true to yourself and your values, also do lots of research and homework before you start any business. Making a solid business plan is critical, you will learn a lot if you put the effort in.”