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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Adventures in HTML

You'll find that the website has a slightly different look this morning. I know that there are much more sophisticated ways to bring about changes to web pages, and one of these days, I'll be sure to figure that out - or pay someone else to do it for me. Since I'm much more adept at chocolate, I just do the best I can with my rudimentary skills. So, after an hour of careful hunting, choosing and replacing color codes on my source page, I give you the new front page:

I like it. I hope you do, too.

In other news...

The deadline for an on-time Christmas delivery is December 15 (for Priority Mail) or December 20 (for Express or Next Day). If you're ordering Chocolate of the Month (a fantastic gift idea, hint, hint), the gifts will begin in January, and you have until December 19 to place an order and have the card arrive on time for Christmas. Hanukkah begins next Tuesday, so if you need a gift in a flash, I'd suggest you place an order today or tomorrow!

There's another holiday flavor coming - cranberry cordial. Pictures and descriptions to come. In the meantime, if you'd like to add some cranberry cordials to your order, just add it in the comments section, and I'll set you up.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Peppermint Promises and Dark Chocolate Dreams

Maybe that's a little grand, but it's exciting stuff. There's a new flavor, just in time for Christmas, Peppermint Squares!

It's a dark chocolate ganache, blended with peppermint oil and chamomile tea, and sandwiched between two thin squares of chocolate. If I can stop eating them, you can buy them in the Holiday Box, the Stocking Stuffing, or the Haute Couture.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

New Winter Shipping Rates

From now until probably mid-March, the shipping for US Priority Mail has been reduced! Because the insulated mailers aren't really a necessity during the winter, LØVE Chocolate packages weigh less, and cost less to ship. So go out there and shop with abandon, your shipping's half price!

Also, don't forget to throw a LØVE Chocolate coffee mug or apron into the gift box. Come on, you know it's a great logo, go on and wear it.

Monday, November 19, 2007

you gotta know when to fold 'em

Oh Kenny Rogers, you're a modern day oracle. Sometimes you really do need to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, and know when to run.

Nobody panic, the company isn't folding. But there have been a couple of experiences over the past few days that reminded me that every opportunity shouldn't be taken, every path doesn't need to be walked. I'll share one of them, the other one I'll keep to myself. Oddly enough, I'm going to share the personal experience and not the business one.

Last night, I was talking on the instant messenger to a guy I'd just met. The conversation had just gotten started, literally, we were about four exchanges in.

Him: "Hi, this is ****"

Him: "how are you?"

Me: "pretty good, and you?"

Him: "pretty good"

Him: "so are you cynical about men, too?"

Me: "what?"

Him: "it's a question..."

HIm: "ARE"

Him: "YOU"

Me: "yeah, I'm familiar with questions, but why would you ask if I was cynical about men, too? That implies that I've already admitted to being cynical about something, which I haven't, because I'm not"

Him: "are you always so uptight?"

Him: "because you seem pretty uptight right now"

Me: "no"

Him: "WELL?"

Me: "well, what?"

Him: "are you going to answer my question? Have I caught you at a bad time? Maybe you'd be in a better mood later"
(after a brief pause, where I considered my options and answered the phone - it was somebody I'd much rather spend time talking to)

Me: "I think we're done here."

Me: "Goodnight."

Really. What was that? Was he trying some of that Mystery, pick up artist bull? (not familiar? let me enlighten you...) Was he that pathetically clueless about how to have a conversation?

I don't know, because I didn't stick around to find out. Sure, maybe I'm missing out on an opportunity to make a new friend, but if that's his first impression, can you imagine what's to come? Forgive me for wanting to miss out on hours of being corrected and having flaws magnified.

It's a lesson I'm learning in business as well as in personal relationships - not every opportunity is going to be helpful. It may seem obvious when it's written down, but I can assure you, in practice, it's not so easy. When your biggest dream is to have a healthy, growing business with a broad client base, the lines between colossal time wasters and genuine helpers gets a little blurry. The only thing I know that works is just as clichéd as you think - trust your instincts.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Five Types of Sampler

First off, apologies if you got the last post eight million times. There was a little problem with the HTML link and it wasn't apparent until after I'd hit the little publish button. What can I say? I'm a pastry chef, not an IT whiz.

I promised a more in depth story about chocolate sampling at the Weaver Street Market. After five(ish) hours of standing face to face with shoppers, I think I've identified a few distinct types of sampler.

The Enthusiast: approaches the display with gusto, intent on procuring a sample; tastes, appraises, responds accordingly (about 98% positive, in my case); proceeds to discuss all aspects of chocolate making, eating and buying.

The Frugal Nibbler*: tentatively tries a very small piece; quite surprised to actually be enjoying it; looks at the price and scurries away. (* there are two types of frugal nibbler, the one who checks the price and smiles while quietly backing away, and the one who checks the price and loudly declares "too rich for my wallet" or "I'll just stick to the samples!" and makes an exit)

The Multi-Sampler: walks up, tries one of each piece, and continues with shopping; approx 5-15 minutes later, reappears and attempts a look of innocence while trying two more pieces; upon making eye contact, the multi-sampler will often cite a child/friend/significant other on the opposite side of the store who just "has to try this" (it's ok, it's flattering, really)

The Analyst: before sampling, or while the chocolate is melting on his/her tongue, the Analyst will ask questions and inspect the ingredients list; my favorite analyst was a woman who said, "does this contain sugar?"

The Ghost: actually not a sampler at all, but an apparition-like shopper, intent on making only the pre-ordained purchases and getting out; the most notable thing about the Ghost is the ability to avoid eye contact, distractions, or the allure of chocolate.

As a lone chocolatier, I don't have a large group of people with whom I interact daily. It's pretty much just me and my infinitely helpful assistant/grandmother. Five hours of people watching was very much an information overload, but it was also lots of fun. I hope no one reads this list and finds it cynical - that wasn't my intention. Every single person who took the time to stop, sample and interact with me deserves some thanks. I realize that they were getting quite a payoff - free chocolate - but they were giving me the opportunity to share my business with them and potentially make a new client. The more contacts, the more sales, and the longer I get to keep doing what makes me happiest.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The easy way to give chocolate.

So maybe you've got this friend. And maybe this friend loves chocolate, but only certain kinds. Maybe you'd like to give them some chocolate this year for Christmas/Chanukah/Birthday/Bad Day at Work/Good Day at Work/New Years. But maybe you don't know which certain kinds of chocolate your friend likes.

See where I'm going here? Get them a gift certificate!

You can either go through this button, or the buttons located on the store page or the products page.. The gift certificates are through PayPal, so your recipient will have to register to use it, but it's a quick and painless process, and the reward is chocolate. How could that ever be wrong?

Saturday, November 10, 2007


I am exhausted. As a fairly introverted person, meeting and greeting people is always a little draining for me - even when I'm having fun and people are enjoying my chocolate. I'll tell a more complete story in a day or so, but for now, thank you to everyone I met at the Weaver Street Market on Friday and Saturday (especially those of you who also made a chocolate purchase!).

It's time for a nap.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Flavors Have Been Decided

I know you've been waiting with bated breath. I'll be giving out samples of Sea Salt Caramels and Peppermint Squares on Friday and Saturday. See you there!

Interview with the Chocolatier

Last Friday, I sat down with Elizabeth Friend, who writes articles for the Weaver Street Market newsletter. It was more of a virtual sit-down, she was in her home, and I was in mine, but our cell phones connected us. We talked about chocolate and the beginnings of the business. Throughout the interview, my cat, Jet, put her two cents in. I'm really surprised that the article won't contain randomly spaced meows.

Elizabeth impressed me immensely with the quality of her questions. I realize that part of her job is to have interesting questions, but, it was my first interview about the company, so I didn't have any idea what to expect. I've seen the rough draft of the article; I had no idea I was so articulate! When it's out, I'll link it here, or paste it in (with permission, of course).

And now, back to chocolate!