Recently, we had a UNR student approach Dorinda's Chocolates requesting an interview. She had some great questions and gave us the opportunity to talk about what well love even more. CHOCOLATE! A big Thank You to Jasmin Flores for her interest in Dorinda's Chocolates, we're all flattered! (Especially our Vice President Dustin Vance with whom the interview was conducted).
Describe the experience required for your position.
Well, being a Chocolatier is no easy task. It requires literal years of experience. Dorinda herself has been working with chocolate for years. She was first certified online and then proceeded to chase down every opportunity to hone her skills with as many classes and opportunities for hands on experiences as she could find. Although I have no formal training, I have been fortunate enough to learn everything she knows through her advice and years of personal experience.
What drew you to this particular profession?
Initially, it was just a way to make money back in my High School days. However, it wasn't long before I began to fall in love with the profession. As I became more and more involved, my passion for hand-crafting chocolates only grew stronger. Watching the faces of our customers when they try our award winning Sea-Salt Carmel for the first time, or bite into our Hazelnut Praline ganache filled "Kraken" Truffle definitely makes all the tedious man hours preparing those pieces with it. Aside from feeding people chocolates and bestowing "mouthgasms" on dozens, (You would be astounded to find out how many times we hear that word!), I think the business aspect is just as interesting. I have been incredibly fortunate to have assembled such an outstanding staff and managing these people and being a part of the team effort to succeed is an amazing feeling. Sure, the business can get dirty and there are always jobs that need to be done; jobs that are not as glamorous as others but I have been our maintenance man, the delivery boy and just about every other position we have here but it is all worth it to be able to stand behind the name Dorinda's Chocolates and feel the sense of pride that I do.
What are some particularly positive aspects of your profession?
As I mentioned previously, the smiles we see for every one of our customers makes all of our efforts worth it. I especially enjoy hearing the kids rave about their newest treat and beg to come back for more. Although, I would be lying if it didn't make me grin a little when I hear someone say "This is even better than sex!" while I'm working back in the kitchen. Just like "mouthgasms" it happens more than you might believe. Outside of satisfying our customers, I really love being in the kitchen, especially when I have the opportunity to experiment with new crafting techniques and try and create an entirely new piece. Is never fails to amaze me how many flavors can be combined to make something amazing and beautiful and the ingredients have been right there in the kitchen all along. Some of our most popular pieces actually originated from a wonderful mixup that happened in the kitchen.
What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of your position?
One of the hardest parts about being a business owner is that everything, eventually, comes down to you. If en employee catches a bug, we simply can't have them in the kitchen. A majority of the time that means I am filling in on my days off. Damaged equipment can also be a nightmare, sometimes it is just normal wear and tear and sometimes its just an accident. Things can get pretty hectic in the kitchen, accidents happen and then new equipment needs to be purchased. These little surprise costs we incur every month can sometimes be a big hassle to resolve. As an owner, I can't just come into work, put my head down and grind out my list of things that need to be accomplished. It's much more complicated than that!
How is your industry evolving? How do these developments affect your job?
Dorinda's Chocolates is growing fast. Sometimes its scary how fast were developing! I love it though, despite how challenging it can be to keep up with the order. Sometimes were working extra hours to make sure we can deliver orders on time, especially around the holidays, and other times we have to deal with the fact that our employees need their hours, even if we don't necessarily have the work. It is also important to be aware of mechanical developments. We are an handcrafted store but we know we need to be aware of what our competitors could be using and what could potentially help us out in the future without taking away from what we are known for.
Where do you see Dorinda's Chocolates in 15 years?
Right now, Dorinda and I are planning for myself to take over the company and for her to take over a section of beachfront somewhere enjoying retirement. A lot can happen in 15 years, we will be on an entirely different level by then. I am hoping to turn Dorinda's into a household name, the challenge is doing it without compromising on aspects that we are known for. Organic ingredients and hand-crafted truffles. 15 years is a long time though, realistically, anything could happen. Life's an adventure!
Do you have any advice for beginners in your profession?
Don't give up. I can't even attempt to guess how many times we have come up short on what we hoped to be a game changing idea. Failure is an occupational hazard for an entrepreneur. Be cautious of your debt but don't be fearful of it. Many times you will need to insure some level of debt to move forward. If you truly have a passion and if you love going to work, you will be working hard and in this market, anyone can succeed. The last thing I would say is that having a partner you can trust and who shares your passion is paramount. My mother, Dorinda, is my partner. We keep each other focused and in check and we bounce ideas off each other all the time. The fact that we are both fully invested in this business makes us sure we will continue to succeed.