Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sooooooooo muuuuuuuuuch chocolaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate...!


I'm typing from bed, taking a super quick break from working on the financials for my business plan, feeling kind of overwhelmed with ideas and lack of UPC codes.  We are meant to forecast sales and I just keep adding products because I keep thinking of neat products. There are three new ones which will be in stores soon.

Financials again. Brb.

I can't even fill in most of these numbers because I have no data- they're just concepts. I don't even have suppliers for some of the concepts. But the good thing is, that I can switch around UPC codes- for example, the Easter Bunny will not be sold at the same time of year as the Pumpkin, so the UPC code for the EB could become the UPC for the P.

Ideally, I would be shopping right now, after having cleaned up my house. Or, even more ideal- house is magically not made messy, and I am shopping.

But actually, this is great! I am not in the kitchen right now (though sometimes I think I should just move in there- bed and all. Hammock.) becauuuuuuse I was there til 2 this morning. Just getting Greens' order all done. I am going to deliver it today, not tomorrow, as I initially planned. I made over 240 chocolate bars yesterday! Some of them will be going to... Whole Foods.

On that topic- financials.

Oops- just kidding. Production Schedule (one exists now!).

Oops- just kidding, again. I need a nap.

But I'm the Greens order instead. And maybe will vacuum (?)

Lots more to post but I have to go. Sorry it was so weird. =)


Monday, November 14, 2011

Zimt: feeling centred chocolate.


Things to share-

Yoga Conference- fun! Zimt shared booth with my mum and aunt's company (they sell Canadian made products- like spelt pillows and tea blends and... misters.... and I think something else. Massage oil- there ya go. ... their website is going to come soon. I said I could help them set something up next week... hopefully they take me up on it! They also run commercial properties- quite the combo!).  Anyway, it went very, very well. People are corazy for Zimt! Almost sold out of everything and I had a lot available. I also made a lot of great contacts- both for Zimt and for me!

Some things can only be explained visually, though:


Anyway, being at the Yoga Conference led me to one contact from soon you will be able to order fine chocolates with your pizza. =) 

Also at the Yoga Conference- my competition! Not yoga competition- my Passing Out on the Floor cannot be beat. Chocolate competition! The company is called Giddy YoYo- they are based out of Ontario and have some pretty neat flavours! I tried them- quite something! Very different branding from Zimt as well. Anyway, they are a much bigger company than Zimt, because they have more than 1 employee, but that's okay- people love it when I say, "I made it myself!"- "Really?! You???" "Yes, I did. This is my company." "... How old are you?!" "Not fifteen- surprise!". It goes something like that. And I get taken very seriously. But my friend and mentor, Ricky, owner of Ergogenics Nutrition, believes that this is an unsustainable approach to selling chocolate. I believe he is correct.  

Sarah's Place: Zimt is going cross- woah. I get sooooo distracted. I was last blogging at "cross" and then went and worked on a pricing sheet and e-mailed retailers and moved to the basement of my house to sit with my cat because she gets lonely and depressed since confining herself to the basement, away from housemates. And now I am back to blogging (still in the basement, though)- full circle! This is how I do things.*

Anyway. My apologies for the detour. Sarah's Place! It is a cute little boutique (cross- water on Vancouver Island) and is believed to be the smallest vegan curio on the planet. Maybe the smallest in our entire universe. Oh wow. So... when Karl came to visit, we went to Victoria and there, checked out Sarah's Place. We met the Sarah Kramer- cookbook author of well-loved works including How It All Vegan,  The Garden of Vegan, La Dolce Vegan, and Vegan A Go Go. She played an instrumental part in bringing veganism to the spotlight.  And she wants Zimt at Sarah's Place We were just chatting while I was deciding on my purchases, and... bam. I sent off 60 chocolate bars today. Though I was supposed to send them off last Wednesday- this is what happened:

  1. Quality control issues in the kitchen. I won't go into huge detail, but I had basically made everything using an ingredient I would personally eat, but in all honesty, did not feel 100% comfortable with using. So I re-made all that I had intended to make in the first place. Double the love. Don't worry- I'll eat the original stuff. What a sacrifice. Anyway, that pushed things back 1 day. 
  2. Packaging- the bane of my existence!  Guess who had only 5 Chocolate Coconut Fudge Labels but needed 10? Me! What is involved in getting 5 more printed. Its okay- I have a much better system to track label inventory now. Pfewf!
    1. Thursday: Ordering more labels for the next business day, ... Friday? No!
    2. Friday: Remembrance Day- cannot order labels. Cannot get labels printed.  That's okay- think about what the day is all about. I really cannot complain about my lack of organization manifesting itself in a shortage of labels.  Took the opportunity to bother Sabrina (thank you!!!!) to fix up the labels a bit more. I want to go take a picture of them, but I cannot, as Tiger is sitting on me. Soon!
    3. Saturday: ... helpless in the label department.
    4. Sunday: Proofs from Sabrina. Beautiful. Here is a picture of us:  
Emma & Sabrina.

    1. Monday: Today! Was expecting a delivery of labels, so I could take them to the printer to be printed. I waited really patiently until 11:23 this morning when I called them to ask where my labels were, please. "You ordered them on Friday and the next business day... Tuesday..." "...mmmm... nooooo... Thursday and... Monday...?" "So you will get them tomorrow" "I need them today. May I go pick them up from the warehouse? I really, really need them, a lot." "We don't normally do that." "I really need them. Monday, today, is technically the next business day..." "One moment please" etc.... So, me and Oma took a field trip out to Richmond where the labels live at the warehouse. We got very lost, ending up on Mitchell Island (there's a garbage dump there and a Japanese auto repair shop, among other things) and she critiqued my efficient driving the whole way there. And back. =) Okay, then, to the printer... printed labels... realized I needed to make changes to the weights of the bars. This is getting fixed.... got labels. Wrapped chocolate for 2 seconds, finished packing box, print invoice- how much is shipping?- take parcel to post- fill in shipping- forgot handling- mail parcel. Yay accomplished. 
    2. Ready to go to Sarah's Place in Victoria!

Whenever I blog, I seem to forget a great many things I wish I had remembered. ("Aren't these long enough?"- kinda!)

Other things:

  • Oma and Mom and I went for a Sunday drive out to White Rock- it was a business trip, because I needed to deliver chocolate bar samples to Choices. Fingers crossed that they like! 
  • Business Plan: This is happening. Finally. I need to do this for my course and for my peace of mind. It is a big project and will take until December 5th when it is due. 
  • Juicy Juice Bar parties! My friend, Katie Kitson, owner and operator of Juicy Juice Bar personal chef services, hosts parties to showcase her incredible talent of making really yummy food for those who may be interested in her personal chef services. She is also an avid supporter of Zimt- known to eat multiple Zimt bars for breakfast.  While at the Juicy Juice Bar party, I re-met Janice Skoreyko of the Raw Foundation. This wonderful person gave me my first taste of raw chocolate, nearly three years ago, at a raw potluck. Thank you, Janice! (A huge thank-you.)
  • Kids love Zimt, too! Leeanne, who is basically my sister, in my opinion, though takes care of me like a mom, because we both know I need that, brought over the toddler she cares for- he loves Zimt! And kale chips! 
Best nanny ever! 

Chocolate in tummy and on face (snack for later!)- life is good =) 

  • Surprise in the Works: Can you guess what all of this fun math was for? 

LOVE maths!!!!! I was so happy to work on this. Hypoteneuses! Such a big deal!

I am going to use the unacceptable chocolate to test recipes. I have a million ideas, but only 3 remaining barcodes- so many possibilities! Including buying more barcodes. ROI? 

I hope that your week is off to a good start!


*This is what I mean- a glimpse of a bit of my morning: Feeding cat while brushing my own teeth while on hold on the phone with supplier/retailer/broker while doing laundry (I am doing laundry, I mean. Maybe they are too?). I don't know- none of my housemates multi-task like that. Maybe they've chosen smart paths. Maybe they were not born into: 

image from

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

irresponsible chocolatier.


Just to make things clear right off the bat for you speed-readers, "irresponsible chocolatier" is not meant to allude to the chocolate quality. I don't put anything weird in your chocolate.

Now that we have things cleared up, please allow me to update you on my life. On Zimt's life. =)

This has been a busy since I last posted, but I have been dedicating my time to some other stellar ventures some of which I will tell you about. For example- surprise visit from one of my best buddies on the planet earth- Karl! This is how it happened...

Two years ago, I went to study for a year in Germany. In the building I lived in, also lived Karl, with whom I have had the honour and pleasure of being friends.  Many good memories with Karl- it started with him helping me with technology but eventually, I ended up having the best Valentine's Day ever with him and our friend, Alicia, watching Austin Powers 2 and eating an excessive amount of vegan baked goods, and I got on a sugar high and could not sleep.  This was his second visit to Vancouver this year (I owe you a visit to Taipei, Karl!) and we had a blast! However, this was truly a surprise visit- we Skyped on Friday after not having Skyped for quite some time and, on Sunday morning before even getting out of bed, I looked at e-mails and text messages I had received while I was asleep. Anyway, I usually just look at the messages- smile or frown, depending, and then answer them at some point in the near future.  But then I saw one from Karl that said "plane ticket to Vancouver". I thought this was for March, when he originally planned on visiting, but no! It was for the very next day- Monday (to be clear).  

How does this relate to Zimt? Well- it relates in a number of ways:

1. I made very little chocolate that week.
2. We did end up making some chocolate on Saturday- Karl was my Kitchen Angel and gave his input on how to make Zimt more efficient wrt the production process. Apparently, I need to hire people who work faster than me.
3. I got away with a very flexible work schedule- just as any other unself-employed person would.  It is a tricky thing, really. On the one hand, I don't want to be a slacker, at all. And I don't think that I am- I just have a different sort of project than most and work weird hours and things. But these weird hours allow for me to make time for friends (...especially if they travel 19 hours to see me! Or not- you're all valuable!) and then cram everything in when people don't want to see me. No stress. =) This is kind of tricky, because I am blessed to know a lot of nice people.
On the other hand, I do believe, and I don't mean this to be braggy or pretentious or anything of the sort, I do believe I have worked really quite a lot for this flexibility.  I will use the summer as a recent example- worked sooooo hard! And I was a bit jealous of my 9-5ers, bless them.

Also, there has been a recent wave of vegan entrepreneurship in Vancouver and that is great, of course! I also noticed that some of these vegan entrepreneurs have gone on vacay for a bit, which is also great. This also made me think that I could stand to take a vacation... and maybe one day I will, when my nerves look like my November prediction, as illustrated below:

I think this is an inaccurate prediction, however, as the customized bags will be arriving shortly (I am down to 26!), as will the candy cup samples, cacao butter arrived today, and I... I filed my HST summary (!!!!). I am not sure if it is accurate, but it is filed.

All I need to do, in terms of packaging, is work on truffle boxes (get stoked!) and have my logo put on the bags I bought, either as stickers (less great), or as screen printing (preferable).

Anyway. This past week was kind of a vacation, even though I did make Karl run some Zimt errands with me (xiexie!). But a real-travelling-somewhere-perhaps-on-a-plane-or-train-or-cruise-ship vacation it was not. I was thinking about going to Germany and Austria and Switzerland and Scotland (why not?) to see some family and friends and drop off chocolate samples at a few veg places on that continent.  I think the ROI on such a business venture would be above industry standard, as well. But I may just stay in Vancouver. It is just really strange not to be in Europe this year at all... yet. Who knows!

Other news: I got an iPhone 4S. So relevant! The picture quality of Zimt bars etc on my site will improve by 3 megapixels. But I feel completely terrible about getting it. I feel really, really badly. So baldy, in fact, that I have not started to use it, purely because I feel guilty about the resources used to make it, not because I don't really know how. That's mostly true. But here- please read this article and write to Apple, as I did yesterday:

Apple & Congo

Are things improving anyway???  better days ahead?

Or perhaps you prefer video: Short Video

I am thinking, too- and maybe making excuses, in all honesty, that this iPhone may be a good idea for me for several reasons (not trying to justify anything, but am trying to make myself feel less horrible. This is an honest blog!).

1. My BB is a disgrace. I got it off, used, and... just- it was not worth $350. It is worth $130, though- my friend is buying it off of me! You will love it, Dan! .... =)
2.  Cost-Benefit Analysis. The ratio is >1, because, at least for me personally, I will be able to get a lot (a lot) more work done and will not be so frustrated with the electronics I purchase simply because I read the Social Responsibility section of HP's website and found it impressive. And then I won't get fed up and buy two sets of electronics, with only the latter set being useful. Two vs One.
3. No need to avoid buying a camera (at least a point and shoot.), nor iPod, nor other electronics- fewer electronics I probably would not have purchased anyway.
4. Angry Birds- just looks better on that screen.

I need to get going, but to close:

1. Zimt will be at The Yoga Conference in Vancouver.  Yogis heart Chocolate.
2. Whole Foods application is going well, apparently- it is quite literally out of my hands!
3. Today is World Vegan Day! Please eat something vegan for a compassionate dinner. Make sure it tastes good, so you don't get discouraged and only eat vegan dinner once this year. See