Updated: Wed, 11/28/2012 - 01:00

Savannah Chocolate Lab sells candy bars online, retail

Richard Burkhart/Savannah Morning News Kelly Spivey, owner of Chocolate Lab Savannah, shows off a few of the chocolates shes offers during her chocolate tastings.  Savannah Morning News
Savannah Morning News
Richard Burkhart/Savannah Morning News Kelly Spivey, owner of Chocolate Lab Savannah, shows off a few of the chocolates shes offers during her chocolate tastings.
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business

The Chocolate Lab

address

“The Chocolate Lab works out of the Foxy Loxy Print Gallery & Café and will sell candy bars online and in the shops of local retailers. Chocolate Tastings are conducted for the public once a month at Foxy Loxy.”

owner

Kelly Spivey

opened

“I have been doing chocolate tastings since May 2012, but the ‘official’ opening is goingto be late 2012.”

what we do

“Provide a wide array of chocolate tastings, specializing in American made chocolate, and make hand-crafted Southern artisan candy bars.”

how we’re different

“Our focus is on creating products from organic, fair-trade, and local ingredients, and we support American chocolate makers with sustainable business practices.”

number of employees

“1 — me!”

a measure of our success

“The surprise and look of revelation that comes across people’s faces when they taste some of the chocolates at my tastings. Knowing that they are experiencing a side of chocolate that is altogether new to them is what makes it all worthwhile.”

how that happened

“I have spent a lot of time choosing the range of chocolate I present from each American artisan. While there are so many amazing options to choose from, I try to present the ones that best exemplify the range of the cacao bean and how subtle changes in the chocolate making process can bring about the most interesting flavor.”

best business advice received

“Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

my self-employment journey

“I left Savannah in 2006 with a BFA in photography from SCAD to attend the graduate MFA program at SMFA in Boston. After a year there, I knew that my real passion was pastry, so I moved back to Savannah, where I got a few jobs making cakes for friends.

“I worked as a baker at Lulu’s Chocolate Bar for four years before moving on to be the pastry chef at Foxy Loxy. Working at Foxy Loxy and being around so many inspiring and motivated people pushed me to find my one great passion and work toward it.”

advice for other businesses in Savannah wanting to open

“Be flexible. I’ve found that almost nothing has gone ‘according to plan,’ but that’s OK, because in the process I’ve discovered other routes that are more interesting. Originally, I wanted to start in a completely different place from where I am now, but not only is knowing I’ll still have that option in the future exciting but I also have the opportunity to approach this business in a completely new way.”

why Savannah works for me

“The community is very supportive of local businesses, and I have found a very welcoming atmosphere from many business owners who are willing to share their experience and expertise with me. The creative atmosphere here also pushes me to try new things and constantly push my own boundaries.”

things to avoid

“Being someone you’re not. I didn’t go to culinary school, and most of the time you’ll find me in jeans and a T-shirt because that’s who I am. I think because of that I bring an approachability to craft chocolate making that might not otherwise be there.

“I have a huge passion for chocolate and candy bar making. I’ve spent a lot of time learning about it, testing recipes, and tasting a lot of craft brands to cultivate my palate. There’s nothing I’d rather be doing than sharing all that knowledge with other people.”

And: “Any chocolate bar that has ingredients other than cacao and sugar.”

business motto

“Southern Hand-Crafted Artisan Candy Bars”

groups we support

SLAAM, Creative Coast, Thinc

family

“I have a very supportive family without whom I would not be able to do any of this:

Father / Mike Spivey(Attorney) & Mother / Arlene Spivey(Social Worker), 1 brother / Phil Spivey (Police Officer), 1 sister / Melissa Spivey(Hospice Nurse), and my boyfriend of 7 years Daniel Fraley.”

how you spend your work day

“A typical day for me starts at 3 a.m. when I head in to bake everything that goes in the bakery case at the Foxy Loxy. When I get home, I try to take a short nap after answering any emails that require my attention. I split my day between candy bar flavor development, marketing for my chocolate tastings, coordinating package design with my graphic designer Kay Wolfersperger, and looking for new chocolate to try.

“Needless to say, I make a lot of lists, but I find that at the end of the day (which for me is around 9 p.m), it’s all gotten done.”

why it’s successful

“I’m learning not to allow myself to get overwhelmed — to take everything as it comes — and that allows me to devote my full attention to one thing at a time, rather than trying to do five things at once. I’ve also surrounded myself with supportive people who inspire me every day. And, naps.”

professional achievement

“Creating the pastry menu for Foxy Loxy.”

personal achievement

“Donating blood on a regular basis.”

future plans

“My plan is to expand into a brick-and-mortar shop after a year (or earlier if the demand is great) and offer a selection of well-curated American-made chocolate in addition to having my candy bars in the shop. My five year goal is to make chocolate from the bean, beginning with a sourcing trip to South America.”

company motto

“The science of good chocolate.”

contact

Website: chocolatelabsav.com

Email: chocolatelabsavannah@gmail.com

The company is on Facebook.

Compiled by Shawndra Russell
www.shawndrarussell.com.

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