Hello and good day!
Well, we've made a strategic decision here at Fortunato Chocolate. When we started selling chocolate to the public for the first time back at the beginning of 2020, our goal was to do ecommerce in a way that felt like a local store.
That is why we have pictures of our kids holding the products on our website and that is why I send this daily email. I don't know if we've fully succeeded in achieving our goal, but we are doing the best we can.
We had no idea back at the beginning of 2020 that we were setting in motion a series of events that would lead us to opening a small retail shop in November 2021 and a second retail shop in July 2022.
Up to November 2021, we only had 4 products, 2 milk chocolates, a dark chocolate, and cacao nibs. Due to an unforeseen and completely serendipitous occurrence, we happened to team up with our chocolatier, Javier Valencia.
Javier is the husband of Rosa Valencia, who is in charge of fulfilling our online orders and overseeing packaging. Rosa told Javier that we were opening a little shop and we wanted to try to make some new products.
Javier said that he would love the opportunity to be involved. He had more than 20 years of prior culinary experience. We thought it would be awesome to work with Javier, so he showed up one day and started playing around with a melter and a couple of metal tables.
Next thing we knew, within a couple of months, we had something like 20 new products available. And here we are, 9 months later, with about 50 products that our team makes well.
So here is the conundrum we find ourselves in.
If we truly want to have an ecommerce store that feels like a local chocolate shop, we feel we have an obligation to our customers to put all, or at least most, of the products that we offer in our retail stores, online.
This takes a fair amount of leg work as the packaging requirements are different. Also, we make everything by hand in a pretty small and rudimentary little space.
What you see up above is pretty much it. Javier is in the background in a blue hat.We have a couple of additional team members who aren't in the photo.
We make everything by hand, fresh. There simply isn't enough capacity to stockpile much inventory, so everything is made fresh by necessity. There aren't any expensive machines or highly efficient production lines.
Maybe we'll get there in the future, but we aren't there yet. We rely 100% on good recipes, good chocolate, and an excellent, conscientious work effort from our team.
Given our production capacity, we run out of certain products in the shop sometimes and that will be the case online as well. That part of the experience will be authentic :). We can't put everything online all at once, because it would simply be too chaotic.
So here is our plan.
Each Monday, I will do a little write up on the new product and let you know that it is available.Given that we are low on dark chocolate until our next shipment shows up, the first several new products will be milk chocolate products.
The next several months are going to be a fun and challenging time, but fun and challenging is how we like to live life.
Of course the purpose of all this is try to give our wonderful customers a place to get delicious chocolate products that are unique and better priced, given the quality, than you can get anywhere else.
Also, we feel pretty great about being one of the only companies in existence that manages a cacao buying and processing operation at the origin on one end and manufactures products that we make and sell directly to our customers on the other end.
We are a direct trade company. This lets us pay more to cacao farmers on one side of the equation while offering fair prices for a high quality product on the other side.When you cut out all of the middle men and distributors and eliminate the mark ups, this becomes possible.
Anyhow, just wanted to let you know that this is coming down the pike. We look forward to bringing you some fun and tasty new products coming very soon.
I hope that you have a truly blessed day!