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Start Your Own Food Business: Chocolate Case Study
In just two years, the owners of Washington, DC’s Fleurir Chocolates went from selling adventurously flavored truffles at farmers’ markets to owning their own boutique in Georgetown. Here’s the story of their journey.
In the Beginning
After four years of culinary school and training with a chocolatier, Robert Ludlow launched Fleurir with his wife, Ashley Hubbard, in 2009. To test the waters, they set up a production kitchen on Ludlow’s parents’ property in Virginia, then drove three hours to sell the chocolates at markets in DC. Fleurir built a following, but sales plateaued. “If we wanted to become profitable, we needed our own shop,” said Hubbard. They opened in Georgetown last April and are now focused on finding kitchen space in DC to save on the $400 they spend on gas each month driving back and forth from Virginia. 3235 P St. NW; fleurirchocolates.com.
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Fleurir Chocolates Opens Its Books
$32 Worst sales day at a four-hour market
$800 Best sales day at a four-hour market
$2,775 Monthly rent and utilities for the shop
$20,000 The boutique’s renovation and decoration costs
$32,000 Total sales in 2009, all earned at markets
$39,000 Total sales in 2010, from markets and online
$87,000 Total projected sales for 2011 for the company