Archive for April, 2010

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Business #26…Wild Women Truffles: Kathie & Debbie

Business #26…Wild Women Truffles:  Kathie & Debbie

Denver, Colorado



Favorite business books:  Cathie – Chocolate and Confection by Peter Greweling

                                    Debbie – Sell your Specialty Food by Steven Hall

Start Date:  2005

Yummmm, was this a good interview. Debbie and Kathie are two friends that have created a business around a love and passion for chocolate.  What could be better than working with you best friend and making truffles?  After taking a cooking class and realizing she really loved making chocolates, Kathie decided to ask her friend Debbie to venture out, and create a business and sell chocolates.  If you get to speak with Debbie and Kathie, you will quickly discover their playful and fun personalities.  Because of this, they decided to name their company Wild Women Truffles, which is also appropriate for their handmade and slightly rough truffles.

After starting the company, they soon realized that it was imperative to use a commercial kitchen for the making of their chocolates for sale.  In the beginning, samples can be made in a home kitchen, but food items that are sold, must be made in a certified commercial space…for obvious reasons.  So, on a search they went, and it was not and easy one.  But eventually they found The Kitchen Network, in Morrison, CO .  It is a gluten free, 3,000 sq. ft. commercial kitchen that they are allowed to rent by the hour. 

After they found the kitchen, they were encouraged to attend a seminar at Whole Foods where they would be able to showcase their truffles.  After about a year of courting, they were finally approved by the regional offices, but would then had to get approval at each store to obtain shelf space.  They are currently selling in two Whole Foods locations, with plans to add two more.  

Other ways they have found to sell their truffles besides on their website, has been to partner with local businesses.  They do special events at the Balistreri Vineyard  in North Denver, where they do a gift basket and sell a special truffle, just for the vineyard.  They also work with English Tea Leaves  in Parker, CO, where they do a Tea & Chocolate Tasting.  They have an upcoming event on May 8th, if you are interested.  They also do events with The Melting Pot and the Chocolate Therapist, both located in Littleton, CO.

While they have thoroughly enjoyed the experience of starting a company, establishing a consistent flow of business has been a big challenge.   They have done a good job at not overspending, or committing too much financially, but would like to build the business to a point where they can receive some financial rewards for their efforts. 

As far as strengths, Kathie is the idea gal with tons of passion.  Debbie on the other had is the talker and marketer of the two.  The big weakness for the two of them is their willingness to give things away. 

The truffles themselves are great.  They are made with all natural products, and handmade to order.  Both factors create problems in that it keeps their costs high.  Individually they sell their small truffles for $2, large truffles for $3, and a box of 4 can be bought at Whole Foods for $7.99. 

These two ladies have a huge passion for their craft and their business.  Creating income and profit will be essential if they plan to continue down the path of entrepreneurship.  They have a great product; they just need to get it to market.  I say help them out.  Order a few boxes for Mother’s Day.  And while you’re there, order yourself a box too. 

Thanks Debbie and Kathie.  You were a pleasure and a joy to talk to.  Thank you for sharing your story with us, and thanks for the truffles. 

Until next time, continue to plan, plant, and grow your business, but don’t forget to harvest!