How I Got Started in the Business
For as long as I can remember I have always given handmade Christmas Gifts to my friends, family, co-workers, and clients. Over the years I've made pamper kits, snow day kits (hot chocolate, marshmallows, and chocolate spoons), assorted butter cookies, and assorted cookie bars. Yes I have done them all and enjoyed every minute. But I owe the start of Chocolates by Delanda to my Aunt Bettie. In late 2010 my Aunt Mae Jeweler passed and we were home for the funeral. My Aunt Bettie had started her candy business earlier that year, and was doing really well. As I watched her make the candy, I was fascinated with the process. Everything was about patience and timing. Being a professional baker I would never ask for her recipe, but in that moment I knew I had to try it for myself. It was my new challenge for the holiday. So when I got home I looked online for recipes, I went the library to find books, research and more research until I found a recipe that seemed worth trying. Needless to say the recipe was a complete let down. It looked or tasted nothing like Aunt Bettie's, but that was not going to stop me. For the next six months I tried played with the one recipe that had the best chance (in my book) of being something special. And finally it happened. It was the right texture, taste and appearance. SCORE!!! But then I realized I had broken cook rule #1, I forgot to write down what I did. Well, long story short and a week later I had the magic again.
I made a batch for my Mom and some friends to try and everyone loved them, I made more for other friends and they loved them to. At this point I thought yeap these are the Christmas Gift for 2011! But it was just February. So I started making them and taking them to work, church events, meetings, and just about anywhere I went. Now I know your thinking this was when I knew it was a business! Nope not even close. I was working full-time for the VA and so busy I could just barely find time to sleep, less known think about starting a business. Nope this recipe remained a Christmas and special gift until about April 2014. A friend asked if I would make them for her churches anniversary. They were a huge success and members of the church started asking where she got them, and could they order them, and that's when the idea of making this a part-time business started to spark.
However a diagnosis of Breast Cancer put a stop to that in September. This would be my third battle with the diseases, and I vowed it would be my last. So the dream was on hold again. I started chemo and endured all the ups and downs of therapy, and finally surgery. I recovered and thought about the year I had had, and knew I could not return to 10-12 hour days at work, or the stressful environment I worked in. So I started looking into the process for starting the business. I knew I could not just quit my job, after all I had a family to help support, and I still actually loved what I was doing (minus the hours). So I started small, I leased kitchen space from my church and started vending at local farmers markets and other events. This lead to corporate events and other nonprofit events, but I still was not ready to leave my job.
At the end of 2016 I decided it was time to put a plan in place. I am giving myself 24 months to leave my full-time job as a Food Service Director and make Chocolates by Delanda Inc my full-time job. The race is on! I'm 15 months away from my deadline and making good progress. Currently I am working on getting my products into local specialty stores for the holiday. Stay tuned for updates!