Dude, Sweet Chocolate
Tell us about your business.Dude, Sweet Chocolate traces its roots to a dive bar just south of downtown Dallas, called Lee Harvey’s, where co-founders Chef Katherine Clapner and Redding May (CFO) were regulars. Heading towards the holidays in 2008, he partnered with her to send unique artisan chocolates as client gifts while working at Merrill Lynch. This turned into chef pushing her chocolate creations in summer heat at farmers markets and the like. Success became a small kitchen/store in Dec. 2009. At Dude, Sweet Chocolate we concoct, manufacture, distribute, and retail dark chocolate inspired creations as our core business. Our product line is very fluid and seasonal, but usually contains fudges, truffles, toffees, nuts, artisan chocolates, and basically anything else our chef decides to improve by introducing it to cacao. We currently have 3 stores, & a production kitchen, and are sold in over 100 locations nationally. We plan on continuing to expand and conquer, with additional stores and doors opened.
What makes your business stand out?Our sense of adventure and never say never attitude. We have worked outside the normal chocolate expectations, developing partnerships with kindred spirits, such as The Flaming Lips (special chocolate piece + music), and Breckenridge Distillery, have created a chocolate coffin (upcoming reality TV show), been a Wusthof spokesperson (Wusthof Defining the Edge http://vimeo.com/64580253), and have basically created a chocolate company that has a personality! At Dude, Sweet Chocolate we strive to differentiate ourselves by maintaining intense focus on the quality of the product itself, & not getting lost in the rest of the product design process. You will not find a single bow, ribbon, or shiny box in our stores. Kraft paper packaging, brown labeling, and simple, clean design shift attention to the chocolate, which stands on its own. The quality and character of Dude is personified in our employees, stores, packaging, as well the product, which has a rabidly loyal customer following.
What's the best business advice you've received?Be true to your vision and be open to new ideas. Once you open the door to changing your brand it cannot be closed
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