It has been a while since my last update on the blog. Rest assured this is due to how busy I’ve been, not because of having nothing to report!
October is when Coastal Cocoa is due to go live, so with October starting in 2 days, time is getting tight. It probably won’t be a surprise at this point that go live date won’t be October 1st. So what have I been up to?
The recipes for 11 out of our 12 initial flavours are finalised. There is 1 recipe for our Seaside Selection that still needs a bit of work, mainly on the presentation. So far we have announced 10 of our flavours. To summarise the information on Facebook & Instagram we have
Bitter Orange Caramel
Honey and Almond
Blackberry and Vanilla
Vanilla Ice Cream Cone
Ready to Produce
I have now finished fitting out my chocolate kitchen. I have a couple of 5 ft steel catering tables, a fridge, a freezer, and lots of kitchen hand tools. I also have extra moulds in the designs I’m using in the initial selection of chocolates. The plan is to start producing the first set of chocolates ready to sell in the next week. You can look forward to pictures of more chocolates than I have ever made before.
Ready to Sell
Coastal Cocoa will be available online and at fairs and events. We are now booked in at a number of Christmas fairs to start spreading the word. The full list is on the Events page. There is some work still needed to prepare for the events, but with around 5 weeks until the first one, there is plenty of time still.
The more immediate concern is the website. Most of our online store is now ready but it is not integrated into the main site yet. So what are we waiting for? Three main things… Firstly there is a WordPress plugin that needs some minor tweaks to work in the way that I require, which will make it easy to see the details on each chocolate in a selection box. The plugin developers are working on this, and it is due imminently. Secondly, I need to write some pages describing how Deliveries etc will work. Thirdly, and probably the factor that will hold us up the most, we need some photos of our products. For the individual chocolate shots, I just need to finalise one recipe. Should be done this week. However we also need photos of the complete boxes, which brings us on to the packaging.
I’m not revealing too much about our packaging yet, but I think it is looking pretty special. We have had some challenges, between me changing my mind about what it should look like, and the first sample product not having the quality of finish that I wanted, but these are (I hope) behind us now. The packaging is likely to be the factor that delays our start the most (the critical path for the project managers out there). This is because part of my packaging design can only be finalised once the other part arrives, and once the product photos are all taken. And the product photos depend on finalising the recipes. And once the packaging is designed it needs to be printed. And then overall product photos can be taken for the website. And then we can hopefully go live! Hence the project plan currently stuck on my fridge (see photo above).
Countdown to Cocoa
So when are we going live? Good question. Manufacturing will start this week, and the aim is to have everything ready for the website to go live by the 12th October. Ambitious, but we need a target don’t we! Progress updates will be here and on our Facebook page, and I will try to be a lot more communicative over the next few weeks than I have over the last few.