Become a chocolate artist, we make it easy! Join our community and help make chocolate the newest and most delicious medium of expression. Our online tools allow you to design your very own gourmet craft chocolates shipped directly to your door.
The brainchild of MIT engineer Levi Lalla and Donovan Crowley, Piq Chocolates’ goal is to change the way people view and experience chocolate. We’ve spent the last 6 months fine-tuning production methods and now we need your help to reach more customers. We are currently using shared equipment and shared work spaces. As a result we only have access to key equipment for a few hours a week. We need our own equipment so we can lower costs and take on more orders as the holidays approach. We're planning to open a combined store-front and production facility and purchase our own commercial kitchen equipment in Austin and we need your help to make our dream a reality!
What can you do to help?
Shout it from the roof tops! Share this project with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter. We are trying spread the word to as many people as possible so anything you can do to pass it along is very much appreciated.
Become a chocolate artist! It is super easy to design your own personalized chocolates. We give you the tools you need to create a truly unique gift. Perfect for Christmas, Valentine's Day or Birthdays. All you need to do is:
1. Decide which pledge on the right you would like
2. Click the green "Back This Project" button at the top and Kickstarter will walk you through the rest
How it Works
We have developed an online tool that helps you easily personalize and customize your own chocolates.
You’ll be able to upload images, move them around, rotate and resize them. Add a message and adjust your images until you get the design just right.
We would also like to share with you a preview of the online tool that you will use to design your own custom chocolate bars. We use real-time 3D renderings to show you what your bar will look like. You can even rotate your custom bar by clicking and dragging it. Go to http://piqchocolates.com/pages/preview, to see how our 3d rendering system works.
Once you have selected your chocolate preference and the quantity of bars you would like, we’ll make them for you and ship them right to your doorstep. If you need inspiration, we will be introducing a gallery of pre-designed templates that you can start with and then add your personal touch.
What you can make
Don’t wait until the last minute and fight the crowds to buy your Christmas gifts this year. Give a one of a kind gift that shows how sweet you are. Piq Chocolates allow you to craft the design and personalize your chocolate bars right from your computer. Imagine giving your loved one a unique and decadent gift this year. What memories can you create with these chocolates? We are sure that they will appreciate the thought that goes into such a personalized present. You provide the images and we provide the chocolate!
There is no simpler way to make your holiday event unique than with Piq Chocolates. Our 3”x7” bar is perfect for an individual gift and our 2.5”x2.5” square favors are designed to be the perfect gift for groups of people. Send chocolate christmas cards this year or put a custom shaped bar in you loved one’s stocking. The theme of your uniquely designed chocolates will provide a beautiful display AND a sweet treat. Here are some ways you can use custom shaped chocolates:
We love great chocolate (we know you do too). Quality and taste are important to making your gifts memorable. Our single-origin chocolate is sourced from the finest cocoa growing regions of the world; where making chocolate has been an art and an industry for centuries. You’ll have a choice of either dark chocolate, milk chocolate or white chocolate. Currently, our 70% cacao dark chocolate has a rich chocolate flavor with nutty notes and a mild acidity. The finish is mellow and balanced between fruity and bitter notes. Our 40% cacao milk chocolate has a pronounced taste of cacao with long lasting vanilla and malt end notes, along with a hint of caramel. Our 35% cacao white chocolate is a lightly sweetened and well balanced white chocolate providing a delicate blend of fresh milk and vanilla, with 35% cacao.
Back in 2005 Levi had the idea to create custom shaped chocolates, but at the time it was too expensive to make his idea a reality. In the last 10 years, technologies like desktop 3D printers and other rapid prototyping tools have made it easier and less expensive to realize this dream.
Our goal is to combine technology, design, and delicious chocolate to create a unique experience for our customers. We are constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible with chocolate. We have even completed our first fully-functional chocolate 3D printer prototype!
We've done many different shaped chocolates over the last year, and one the of biggest issues we have faced is how to package and ship our chocolates. The chocolate needs to fit in the packaging tightly, so that it does not get damaged or broken when shipped. We realized that if we wanted to bring custom shaped chocolates to more people we would have to standardize the shapes and sizes. As a result we have decided to launch our first two products, The Personalized Chocolate Bar and the Personalized Chocolate Favor in either dark chocolate, milk chocolate or white chocolate.
The online tool is nearly complete, but we need your help so that we can actually make your chocolate bars. We are currently using shared equipment that we only have access to for a few hours a week and are tempering our chocolate by hand in very small batches. We need to get own equipment and our own space so that we can start producing your personalized chocolates.
So, what can you do to help? Back us on Kickstarter! We have several great ways that you can help us out with our new facility and receive your own order of personalized chocolates. Also, tell your friends and family about our campaign to help us get the word out. The more support we receive, the more design tools we can create, the more orders we can we can fulfill and the more we can help you make your gifts or events one of a kind.
How will your money be spent?
In order to achieve our dreams of personalized chocolates, we need to raise money for equipment and supplies. Here is the rough breakdown:
EQUIPMENT (45%) - The majority of the Kickstarter proceeds, about 45%, will go toward equipment. We need our very own rapid prototyping equipment and some commercial grade chocolate tempering machines. These machines can be rather expensive, but we've done our research and know how to get the most out of your money.
REWARDS (30%) - The next largest portion of our campaign will go toward covering our rewards. We will be using only premium chocolate in our bars which may cost a bit more, but we feel it is well worth the additional cost. We will also need to get food grade packaging, custom made for the bars, as well as some custom tooling.
KITCHEN SPACE (15%) - We will need to furnish and decorate our space. This includes any miscellaneous equipment, dishes, and furnishings that we may need as well as any permit fees associated with moving into our own space.
We are currently looking at a shared kitchen that has enough space for all of our equipment and up to four chocolate stations.
We will reorganize the space a bit to optimize our workflow. We have enough room for two chocolate stations and all of our equipment without needing to move any walls. If we require more stations (due to overwhelming support) there is more room in the back of the kitchen area, but it will require some additional equipment.
FEES (10%) - Kickstarter and Amazon will take the final 10% as their fee for running the campaign
Together we can make custom shaped chocolates a reality and make your special occasions truly unique.
Thank you for your support!
If we meet our goal, we won't stop there! We have ideas for more options, offerings and tools that we hope you will be interested in. Here's a peek at a few that we'd like to be able to provide if we can raise the funds to support development (more to come!):
Dual Color Chocolates: Thanks to one of our backers we now have access to the equipment necessary to offer this as a free upgrade to all backers once we hit our $25k goal.
$35k Stretch Reward: If we reach $35k we can get tooling and packaging to create a third option, a half-sized bars. Half the size means half the cost (and half the calories for those of you who are diet conscious). We are excited have a chance to offer a lower cost product.
$55k Stretch Reward: We'll be developing an entirely new product line. We have many ideas for new products, so if we hit $55k, we will ask our backers which of 3 options they prefer. More details to come...
Risks and challenges
Getting our own equipment in our own commercial kitchen space will be great for the business. We are only looking at spaces that are already health department approved to avoid unnecessary delays. We believe that we can setup a space without any major renovations, but if you've ever been involved in a construction project then you know how there's always a chance of unexpected issues.
We will be locking in our lease as soon as we are confident that our project will be successfully funded, but there is always the chance that our first choice will not be available by then. We have several backup locations that we are equally excited about in the event that this occurs.
If for any reason we are unable to get into our space by December 2013, don't worry, we have a plan! Once we have the necessary equipment, there are dozens of commercial kitchens in the Austin area that we can temporarily lease space in (at a bit of a premium), until our new place is ready.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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