Company: Elizabeth Luxury Chocolate
I am writing this article as the owner of this company.
The brand described below is engaged in making high-quality chocolates from Belgian chocolate and boutique cakes from high quality products. Everything in the preparing is handmade, in this type of work the precision and attitude towards the product are on much higher level
My education is not related to this activity, but the passion of the cocoa has always attracted me. At home, my mother was a wonderful cook, the perfect example of a person who looking for perfection in every pastry she makes. I learned from her that every chef should have a signature by which people can recognize her. Hers was hidden in the undeniable quality, the style of making and a specific spice that she put in every cake. Although she never worked this professionally, she was the best primary school for pastry training.
By profession, I studied Landscape Architecture in school and then I graduated it with a master’s degree in Bulgaria, I studied in this line for a total of 10 years, but after several attempts to continue my development in this direction, I realized that no one should run away from what really motivates him, and in my case that was the chocolate.
It all started from one Valentine’s Day when I decided instead of an expensive gift to try making handmade bombones from Belgian chocolate for my boyfriend and nowadays a husband. The final result was impressive even for me, which motivated me to continue my development in this line. With great support from all of my friends, who ordered chocolate gifts for their loved ones for every occasion, I was able to start the beginning of Elizabeth Luxury Chocolate. It was a little challenge to select the name, because in the beginning I wanted to have something brilliant in the name, or something precious like a “diamond chocolates”. But after a long time of thinking I went out with one of my best friend and she told me “ You are the root of this special brand, you must give all of you except the passion, and the manner, give it to it your name, that will be the most personal thing in this brand. “ and maybe 5 minutes later I said “ Why no”. And that was the beginning. I thought that I would develop it very quickly and there would be no need for large capital, but the truth turned out to be different and I had to start work in another place with a completely different activity from chocolate making or from my education in order to accumulate funds, which to invest into the development. Every day after work I went to the chocolate workshop to make orders, develop my skills and think up for a new flavors. In my lunch break I often delivered the orders. It was hard, sometimes I thought to leave up everything but my biggest support- in the past my boyfriend but in nowadays- my husband, was always near to me to tell me that everything will be fine if I am constant in my actions. He stayed up to late at night to help me, to looking for decisions for faster growth, and often it was successfully.
In the process of development, I realized that food in Bulgaria cannot be sold easily if it can be seen only online on the website, Instagram and Facebook. After hard work and a lot of strong efforts, I managed to buy my own personal space where I can register my activity and people can see these chocolate jewels. Of course, finding, repairing and registering it took a lot of time and effort, but it was worth every bit. After 5 years, the brand managed to position itself in the central part of the Capital of Bulgaria to accept and transmit every chocolate desire of our customers. And even though I always told myself that after implementing this part of the plan, everything would be much easier, I faced quite a few challenges such as constant demands from the authorities controlling the production process, finding high-quality packaging and raw materials, as well as finding workers. After an unsuccessful attempt to find a good staff, in which I invested time, training and money, I settled on to my sister, who gives the same emotion as me into preparing chocolate jewels and presenting it to people. So she started working in the store and she is still there, but since she is still studying in university and I, as a mother of a one-year-old princess, the store does not have the possibility to be open all the time and works on fixed hours and days. This is one of our main challenges, because with irregular working hours it is quite possible to lose a large percentage of already won customers and it is more difficult to find new ones, but this is a risk I am ready to accept until I find someone like me who will give it his all to create an exclusive chocolate gift that will leave the customers truly impressed and satisfied, and they will receive the attention they need and deserve.
Nowadays, the market is too variable, which is strongly felt in the increase in current, raw materials and even the impossibility of their detection. At the beginning of 2022, we had to make an order of another luxury boxes, but we hit the incoming crisis to find high-quality cardboard, both the price and the production time were much longer and more expensive. Another difficulty we were faced with, but we were able to handle it with without any serious feeling from the end user.
I would like to make an insertion of the matter with the staff that the owners of this type of business hire. We had the bad luck to hire a girl who is seemingly good, devoted and correct in work. After the first signs of bad manners, we took measures to retrain, introduce strict rules and other measures. After almost two years, he quit his job at the worst possible time – when I had to give birth and there was no one to work into the store, but the worst thing was that she tried to copy the overall vision of our products, but as I mentioned above, if you don’t feel the chocolate, he won’t give you the opportunity to develop it either. My advice is that any staff you hired to go through the specific training, but never in touch with the biggest secrets of the business and in this case in the preparation of the products, sign a strict confidentiality agreement, and maintain the boundary between employer and employee.
The years in which we live are difficult to start and develop a new business, even more if it is in a niche class and based of a higher price class. Every company would have an opportunity for development, if despite of the situation, it does not change the raw materials he works with to cheaper ones. Persistence and attitude towards the customers are key to the successful development. The main thing for every company is to create contacts with which to drive the sales, to build a network to reach to the end user. It is important to build a specific type of presenting through which the products are offered, so that the detail remains remembered.