Hitting the Spot with an Insider’s Look at the Chocolate Business in NYC
Valentine’s Day 2013 has come and gone, and we hope you all were wined, dined and romanced to your hearts’ content! Did you know that each Valentine’s Day, more than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are sold? As long as there are celebrations, holidays and break-ups, the chocolate business is one whose popularity will never wane, and EFactor took to NYC last week to show the business side of this sweet industry. The event, Savvy & Sweet: The Chocolate Business at a Glance, presented chocolatier Joan Coukos
and chocolate expert Clay Gordon
, who shared insights on chocolate industry entrepreneurship, pros and cons of the business and how small operations can compete against chocolate giants.
Joan Coukos is the CEO and chocolatier at Chocolat Moderne
. She studied business and, after receiving her MBA and working for years in the competitive NYC banking scene, Coukos, inspired by the film Chocolat, began experimenting with chocolate-making, and decided to pursue her new passion formally. She studied under world-class chocolatiers, became a member of the New York Women’s Culinary Alliance, and now has her very own storefront and chocolate laboratory on West 20th Street in NYC.
Coukos, who shared with event attendees that she only makes moulded bonbons, is known for her unique and unexpected flavors. She makes her chocolate with crushed tomatoes.
Clay Gordon, the event’s other speaker, is a world-renown chocolate authority, as well as a veteran of the startup tech industry. He combines his passion for confections, knowledge of the chocolate trade, understanding of digital technologies and abilities as a writer and storyteller to educate people around the world about cacao, chocolate and more. He also acts as a consultant for those interested in starting chocolate businesses of their own.
At the event, Gordon shared that he originally wanted to be the world’s first chocolate critic, for which he studied for seven years the chocolate-oriented lives of 7,000 in over 40 countries. This led to his own radio show and a reputation as a trusted consultant for startups. Newness, he told attendees, is the trend in the food business -- it’s important that business owners create something that has lasting power to become a classic, but that no one has ever tasted before. Salted caramel, said Gordon, is a perfect example of this kind of ingenuity and is very trendy now as a result. Flavor is something that simply cannot be taught, Gordon told attendees.
All this sweet insight into such a mysterious industry certainly left our EFactor attendees with a sugar rush to go take a bite out of the world of entrepreneurship themselves! Thanks again to our seasoned speakers, and to our host, Chocolat Moderne. Got a hankering for more brilliant events like this one? Join
EFactor today and scope out upcoming EFactor events
in your area!