What we are raising the funds to do:
We are raising the funds to fix up the building we are renting to make it an inviting storefront/tasting room/event space. We already produce our confections here and have been for almost 3 years. The space needs new flooring, light fixtures, a counter/display case, an ice cream cooler (we will be serving Millie's Homemade Ice Cream), some renovations to the restroom, and signage/beautification for the facade.
Why we care about it:
Having a storefront will allow us to create more unique items to sell, to interact more with our customers, and to host events, classes, and workshops. We will be able to hire more people, and put on fundraisers to help local non-profits. We want to make it a place where people come from all over the world to visit. Being in business for six years without a storefront, it feels like it's the one thing missing from LUX Artisan Chocolates.
How we plan to make it happen:
We already have the space and great products to sell, we just need some help fixing up the place. We have great contractors that are ready to go when we are. Here is how we plan to allocate the funds:
$6750 - rewards
$1250 - kickstarter fees
$2000 - lighting
$4000 - flooring
$4000 - counter/display cases
$1000 - built-in shelving displays
$2000 - facade
$1000 - restroom upgrades
$1000 - plumbing for hand sinks
$2000 - tables and chairs and decor
any extra money raised above our goal of $25,000 will go towards purchasing bean to bar equipment and renovating the space in our facility to house our bean to bar production.
Who we are:
For the most part, LUX Artisan Chocolates is me, Shelby Ortz, pastry chef and mom. I started this company for a few reasons. I loved my career as pastry chef for Eleven Contemporary Kitchen, but I needed a more flexible schedule after having a child. I discovered the art of high end confectionery, and realized that there were no places making high quality confections in the Pittsburgh area. I made some bonbons and decided to test the market to see if any shops were interested in carrying my products. Mon Aimee Chocolat, an upscale chocolate shop in the Strip District of Pittsburgh, was my first visit and became my first wholesale account. Today, I have more than twenty accounts, and an online store (luxartisanchocolates.com). The business continues to grow and improve every year, as do as my talents and passion as a chocolatier and businessperson.
The product line has evolved over the years to include an ever-changing assortment of beautifully hand-painted, uniquely flavored bonbons, 11 bars - including the peanut butter & sea salt bar, which won an international chocolate award in 2017, sea salt caramels, toffee, peanut brittle, and bite-size squares. I hope to add more products this year, including, but not limited to, pretzels, truffles, and ice cream bonbons.
These past six years have been the most challenging, demanding, and rewarding years of my life. My first year in business, I was pregnant with my second child, so that means I had a toddler and an infant for my second year in business. At the beginning, it was really difficult because my kids were always with me, child care was out of our budget. I wasn't sure if the business would last past the first couple of years, but I was determined because I knew I was making some of the best chocolate in the world. I just had to figure out how to make it work, and I did. My husband has helped out tremendously with social media marketing, and building a fresh, new website this past year. I went from making everything in my home for the first three years to building out the space I am currently working in for chocolate production. It was a big expense, but worth it. This past year I was able to get my first business loan to purchase bigger, better equipment that has allowed me to quadruple my production, and also hire a full time employee, but not enough to renovate the space for a storefront. Now that I know that I can train people to do what I do, having a storefront for people to see and taste LUX Artisan Chocolates is my most important goal.
Risks and challenges
The potential risks and challenges of this project are completing the renovations on time and having a big enough audience to raise the money needed. In order to overcome these obstacles, I have good contractors on hand, but I also plan on helping out with the renovations as much as possible, and getting my family and friends involved if necessary. It will be completed by the end of this year or earlier. As for the audience, I will treat this project as my main priority and advertise on social media, as well as reach out to local magazines and newspapers, ask friends and family for help spreading the word, and attend local events where I can sell my chocolate and advertise the kickstarter.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)