1. Food
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Turning Your Candy Hobby Into A Business

By

Have you ever wondered how to turn your love of making candy into a business? Art Pollard, the founder of Amano Chocolate, was kind enough to answer some questions about his experiences starting a chocolate company. Read on to find out how he began making chocolate, his biggest challenges, and what advice he has for YOU, the home confectioner. The answers below are brief excerpts, be sure to click on the question link to get the full story!

1. How did you first get interested in making chocolate?

As my software company grew, I started to experiment with building my own chocolate refiner as a way to escape coding when I needed to clear my head...it was not long before I was regularly coding in one room while listening to the chocolate refiner chug away in the other room...

2. How did you learn to make chocolate?

Most of what I learned, I learned through trial and error while I was building and testing my chocolate refiner. I hunted as much information as I could through my local university library and purchased many rare and hard to find books. This helped me along the way. There is a lot of difference, though, between making chocolate on an industrial level for industrial purposes in order to make a fifty-cent candy bar at the lowest possible cost and where I wanted to go...

3. What is your factory like?

We imported our roaster from Portugal...When the circular lid is off, I can't help but think that it looks like the Death Star from the movie Star Wars. When we roast the cocoa beans, all our neighbors can smell the aroma. Our neighborhood smells like a large oven full of brownies...

4. How long did it take you to open the factory?

Well, I had made chocolate for a number of years at home for my friends and family before I ever even started considering making chocolate professionally. Once we decided to begin selling chocolate on a larger scale, it became a whole different ballgame...

5. How are you working to gain recognition for your company?

There is still a huge amount of room in the confections industry. We are all familiar with the local chocolate store where hand-dipped chocolates are made. Just about every town has a store like this, and many cities have quite a few. This is where the large industrial giants can never compete. They cannot give the care and attention that a local store can provide...

6. What has been your biggest challenge in starting your own chocolate business?

I have a hard time quantifying the "biggest challenge." It all has been incredibly challenging. When we started, my business partner and I calculated what it would take in time, effort, and money. We knew it would be incredibly taxing, and reality is always different from projections. This was no exception. In fact, it was much more demanding than we had predicted on all three fronts...

7. Do you have any advice for would-be candy entrepreneurs?

People always talk about following your passion. It is said so many times it almost sounds trite, but it is true. It is through passion that we can reach the next level...The most important part of any project is simply to do it and not be afraid of failure. I had several businesses fail before my software business became successful and eventually helped send me on this great chocolate adventure that I love. Some people have been lucky enough to start a business that is successful the first try. This is not the common case...

8. What's on the horizon for Amano Chocolate?

We are looking at cocoa beans from all sorts of exciting places. High-quality cocoa beans are difficult to find, but it is our job to hunt them down and make the chocolate so that you can enjoy it. We are looking at some amazing beans from a number of different sources. It is all about making sure the timing is right...we hope the public will join us; it is sure to be an incredible adventure...

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.