What's The Chocolate Lab?
The Chocolate Lab is a business owned by SCAD graduate & pastry chef Kelly Spivey. "The Lab," as I've come to call it, currently offers a wide variety of chocolate tastings. Over the past year, I've been doing research and development to create a line of artisan candy bars. Each candy bar is hand-crafted in small batches with no preservatives and as many local, organic, and fair-trade products as possible. I need your help to take my business to the next level by obtaining the equipment necessary to offer these candy bars to the public. For even more information, check out www.chocolatelabsav.com for upcoming events, candy bar flavors, and general drool-worthy pictures.
Why Organic & Local & all that Jazz?
I believe in getting right to the source of things whenever possible. Fair-Trade products ensure that the farmers involved with producing the amazing products I work with (cacao especially) get a fair share of the profits. Direct trade provides an even more intimate tie with the people who are taking the time and care to create amazing food. I have found really great bean-to-bar chocolate artisans in the United States who are making unbelievable chocolate while supporting these ideals. I support these companies whole-heartedly.
Locally I work with PERC Coffee, Southern Swiss Dairy, & Savannah Bee Company to support small business in my own community. I also use as many organic and natural products as possible because I believe in supporting a sustainable and responsible food system.
What I've Done
- Obtained the necessary permits
- Partnered with a local business owner for use of a commercial kitchen
- Produced several successful chocolate tastings
- Grown my client base
- Made test batches of recipes
- Created an extremely thorough business plan
- Gained 20 pounds to find the perfect American-made chocolate for my tastings and candy bars
How You Can Help
I need to purchase equipment to produce a large amount and variety of candy bars. Most of this equipment is out of my financial reach, so your help is vital. Your donation will help me purchase(among other things):
- A commercial grade tempering machine (very expensive!)
- A large set of confectionary frames (to make perfect candy bars)
- Silpat Mats / baking sheets
- Kitchen Aid Mixer
- Packaging for the bars and samplers
- Labels for the bars and samplers
- Initial food ingredients to stock my chocolate pantry
How It Works
You can donate to help me get my dream off the ground. If you can't donate, sharing this link with your friends and family is also a huge help. If I reach my goal, I will then start making candy bars like a crazed person to reward you. I've had lots of help making some pretty great rewards and I'm excited to share them.
Of course, there's always chocolate...
This extra special poster was made just for you and will be a limited edition run, printed byThe Maker Collective.
I have to meet my goal or I don't get anything.
I'm constantly developing new flavors and tweaking old ideas. Below is a short list of my current flavors. To see more information about flavors, visit www.chocolatelabsav.com
- Graham cracker, Marshmallow & Chocolate Ganache dipped in 66% Organic TCHO chocolate
- Bourbon Soaked Toasted Pecans, Maple Caramel, & Buttery Shortbread dipped in TCHO's 53% Organic Cacao Chocolate
- Goat's Milk Caramel, Toasted Pecans, & Vanilla-Honey Nougat dipped in TCHO's 66% Organic Chocolate
- Vanilla Nougat wrapped in TCHO's 66% Organic Chocolate
- Chocolate Nougat & Caramel wrapped in TCHO's 66% Organic Chocolate
- Seasonal Flavor: Fig Caramel & Vanilla Nougat wrapped in TCHO's 66% Organic Dark Chocolate
Thank you in advance for your support of the Chocolate Lab and small business!
Risks and challenges
Because my project launched before these changes, I did not have to complete this section. I am voluntarily doing it now because I think it's a fair question to ask of someone to whom you are donating your money. Here's my answer:
My project (transitioning & expanding my business into making candy bars) faces one main challenge. In an effort to run my business as efficiently as possible and face these tough economic times as realistically as possible, I have opted not to open my own commercial kitchen. I will be sharing kitchen space with a local business. This means that my time in that kitchen will be limited to the hours when that business is not open to the public. It also means that I will not have a storefront to direct people to when they want to purchase one of my candy bars. This can pose several problems, such as the following:
How will I sell my product?
Will I be able to produce enough product working around another business' time schedule?
Will the kitchen meet my needs? What happens if I need a larger space?
I have thought of all the pros and cons to not opening my own space, but financially, this seems the best fit for me. I will be selling my candy bars both online (with local delivery) and in local businesses. I have partnered with several local publications to promote my business and have local businesses that are ready to stock my candy bars when production get rolling.
I have planned to purchase enough equipment to allow me to make several flavors of candy bars in one day, so I should have no problem working around another business' schedule. Because I make all of my candy bars in small batches to ensure freshness, delivering enough product to meet my initial demand should not be a problem.
When any business is successful, it is often the case that they should expand. I look forward to the time when I will need to look for my own commercial space and outfit a kitchen of my own. I already have a budget set up for this possibility in the event that the demand for my product is so high that I need to do this sooner than I anticipate. My goal is to be in my own space in 1 year, but I have learned through this whole process to be flexible, so if it takes more or less time, I am ready for that possibility.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The labels on the candy bar packaging will include an ingredient list. Currently, the ingredients I use are local to the Savannah/Georgia area, fair-trade, or organic. Because glucose (a liquid form of sugar, also known as corn syrup) is a vital ingredient in many of my candy bar components, it is present as an ingredient. I do use Organic Corn Syrup by Wholesome Sweeteners. I am also in the process of researching alternative sweeteners such as brown rice syrup, but have not found anything that has produced the desired results. The ingredient list below may change slightly from bar to bar.
Other ingredients include:
(Local)Heavy Cream, (Local)Honey, (Local)Eggs & Egg Whites, (Organic) All Purpose Flour, (Organic) Sugar, (Organic) Brown Sugar, (Organic) Maple Syrup, (Fair-Trade/Organic/American-made) Chocolate, (Organic) Cacao Butter, (Local) Butter, (Organic) Peanut Butter & Peanuts, Vanilla Beans, (Local) Whole Milk, Goat's Milk. (Direct-Trade, American-made) Cocoa Powder, (Organic/Local), Pecans, (Local) Coffee
Currently I plan on charging in the $7-$8 range per bar, but may be able to charge slightly less on certain bars, depending on the ingredients. What is reflected in the price is not only the craftsmanship and care that goes into making each bar, but also the commitment to using organic and fair-trade products. The cost of those ingredients is higher because it reflects the true cost of growing our food, often comes from smaller farms, and strives to pay those farmers a fair price for their goods. The difference is reflected in the flavor and overall quality of the bar.
Mini Sampler Packages should retail in the $20 - $25 range
Full Size Sampler Packages should retail in the $30 - $40 range
I know you have a strong background in vegan baking - are you planning to produce any vegan chocolates?
Yes! I have a Maple Pecan Pie candy bar that is seasonal that I plan to make vegan and offer year-round while I work on recipe development for other vegan candy bars. I don't currently have a release date for any other vegan candy bars, but I definitely plan to include at least 2 more in my standard collection.
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