Annual Newsletter and Kickstarter Campaign!

Annual Newsletter and Kickstarter Campaign!

Kickstarter Campaign and Company Update Newsletter! 

Aloha Friends and Family,

 If you’re receiving this newsletter, then you’re already part of the Honoka’a Chocolate Co. family: You’ve either been on one of our tours or purchased some of our chocolate as either a wholesaler or through retail.  We really appreciate your business, and it is only because of your support that we have come so far in the last year and a half.   For those of you that don’t know us, we are a small but fast-growing Hawaiian chocolate company and working farm located on the Island of Hawai’i, aka, the Big Island.  If you’re interested in reading more about us and our history, please visit our website at https://honokaachocolateco.com/.

Thanks to all of you who have supported us in the past and present, we’ve come to a crossroads in our ability to meet our production to fulfill sales.  We just can’t produce enough chocolate!  So, we’ve decided to make a couple of improvements in order to enable us to grow with the increasing demand: expand our chocolate-making room and upgrade to larger capacity machines and upgrade other critical infrastructure.  The room is nearly done, and we’re ready to purchase the equipment and infrastructure, including a 20lb capacity roaster and two 20lb capacity refiners (melangers).  We’ll also be upgrading our cracking and winnowing systems with some automation (motorized with precise feed rate control) and add a dishwashing station, complete with a three-section sink.

While it’s likely that we could take out a loan to cover these upgrades, we prefer to engage all of our past (and future) customers to help us meet our goals through a Kickstarter campaign.  If you’re not familiar with Kickstarter, it’s an American public-benefit corporation based in Brooklyn, New York that maintains a global crowdfunding platform focused on creativity and merchandising. The company's stated mission is to "help bring creative projects to life." 

The magic of Kickstarter is that there’s no risk for you – it’s not an investment.  You’ll be purchasing our products in various levels and quantities (read on further to see what we’re offering!).  We’ve decided to mark everything down by as much as 20% off our typical retail price as an incentive for this campaign.   I’d like to think that we made a lasting impression on those of you who have enjoyed our products or visited the farm in the past and that you see the value in helping our small business grow and succeed beyond our expectations in addition to getting some of our delicious chocolate and one of a kind Hawaiian experience!  SUPER IMPORTANT NOTE: In order for Kickstarter to work, our initial goal has to be fully funded, and I’d like very much for that to happen so that we can get you the products that you want.  So, with that, we’re sending out this newsletter with all of the details of the Kickstarter campaign so that you’ll know what’s available for purchase and hopefully we get commitments from you so that we can ensure we meet our funding goal.

Current Company Status

Earlier this year we made several changes to our company image, including adding Honoka’a Chocolate Co as a business entity and brand, a new and improved logo, new packaging design, and a professional website.  Thanks to some super talented people helping us with our messaging and graphics, everything turned out fantastic beyond our expectations! We’ve received a large number of compliments on these adjustments both from customers and peers in the chocolate industry.

Back in June 2019, we had the privilege and pleasure of hosting Pam Williams and her husband Daryl at our farm for a “talk story” and chocolate tasting.  Pam is a previous resident of Hawai’i and also founded Ecole Chocolat in 2003, a Professional School of Chocolate Arts, which offers programs in chocolate making that help to explore your love of chocolate as a hobby or a business.  She offered some very nice and reaffirming compliments as well as invaluable advice.  Thanks Pam!

We’ve had record months since January of 2019, bettering our gross sales every month.  As you all know, our business model relies on three sources of income: 1) Making world-class chocolate using beans from Hawaii and around the globe, 2) White pineapple and Turmeric sales, and 3) Farm tours and chocolate tastings.  We currently have several retailers carrying our products, and we are continually working to increase our exposure.  Kona Wine Market, Kukio Provisions Store, Four Seasons Hualalai Store, Merriman’s Restaurant, Waimea Butcher Shop, and Honoka’a Country Market are currently carrying our products.  In the month of June 2019 we had a record turnout of 107 visitors join us for our farm tour and chocolate tasting, and we started hosting Hawaii Forest and Trail for their Flavors of Hawaii tours.   Our white pineapple and turmeric are selling like gangbusters, and don’t forget, we will have a year-round supply starting in January.  We are getting most of our business from web searches, Trip Advisor and Yelp, but we also started a larger scale marketing campaign in May, where we decided to advertise in Ke Ola Magazine and in This Week Big Island.  All in all, we are doing very well for being in business only 1 ½ years.  Our mantra has always been to grow slowly, ensure that we deliver only the best products, and to build lasting relationships with our customers. 

Next Steps for the Chocolate Business

We currently make all of the chocolate in a small 8 x 10 ft room located in the farm store/tasting room.  It comes complete with environmental control for perfect tempering and is currently set up to make about 20lbs of chocolate per week.   Working in this small space severely limits our production, so we just added a second 12 x 16 room, which will allow us more flexibility and storage as we grow.  Our goal in this Kickstarter campaign is to raise enough capital to purchase a 20lb capacity roaster and hopefully two 20lb capacity Melangers, in addition to a vibrating table for molding and installation of a full three section sink so that we can stop doing the dishes in our home sink.  Mike is in the process of designing and building upgrades to our cracking and winnowing machines to increase efficiency while maintaining our current standards of quality. 

Funding Goal

Kickstarter charges a 5% fee, and federal and state income taxes are due on whatever dollar amount that we raise.  We also need to consider our cost to produce our products.  All things considered, we need to raise about $30,000 in order for this to be a lucrative endeavor. High quality chocolate-making equipment, and in general, food service equipment, is not cheap.  A 20lb roaster and cooling tray will run about $7k, 20lb Melangers are about $3.3k each (having two of these is our near-term goal), and then there’s all the infrastructure to support these.  We also want to purchase a vibrating table (important for removing air bubbles and creating a beautiful bar without overworking the chocolate) and a three-section stainless steel sink. 

What’s Available for Purchase in the Campaign

The table below is a breakdown of all of the product selections that will be available on the Kickstarter site.  If you have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to share them so that we can make this the best experience possible and meet our funding goal.  And remember, everything is 20% off our normal retail price! 

 

Pledge level

Price

Description

1

$1

Get your name on our website thank you page and listed on a placard in our store

2

$6

1oz Pure Hawaiian Cacao or Special Edition bar.  Free pickup or add $10 for US delivery

3

$11

2oz Pure Hawaiian Cacao or Special Edition bar.  Free pickup or add $10 for US delivery

4

$20

Chocolate Maker's Choice (4 bars): one each of our 1oz Hawaiian 70 & 85% and your choice of two Special Edition bars.  Free pickup, $15 for delivery anywhere in the US. 

5

$40

Chocolate Maker's Choice (4 bars): one each of our 2oz Hawaiian 70 & 85% and your choice of two Special Edition bars.  Free pickup, $15 for delivery anywhere in the US. 

6

$40

Swag-bag (t-shirt, hat and stemless wine glass) + $15 shipping

7

$40

Chocolate maker's spread (8 bars): one each of our 1oz Hawaiian 70 & 85%, 6 of our 1oz 70% Special Edition bars, free pickup, $15 for delivery anywhere in the US.

8

$60

Private farm tour and chocolate tasting for two (add $30/per additional person, up to 8 people)

9

$80

Chocolate maker's spread (8 bars): one each of our 2oz Hawaiian 70 & 85%, 6 of our 70% Special Edition bars, free pickup, $15 for delivery anywhere in the US.

10

$80

Everything Bag with 1oz bars: Get a Swag Bag and a Chocolate Maker's Spread with free shipping!

11

$120

Everything Bag with 2oz bars: Get a Swag Bag and a Chocolate Maker's Spread with free shipping!

12

$300

Half-day Chocolate-Making Seminar: Join Chocolate Maker and Farmer Mike for a half-day chocolate-making seminar + tour at the farm for two (add $150/person, up to 4 persons)

13

$400

Farm Tour and Chocolate/Wine Pairing: Join Chocolate Maker and Farmer Mike for a private three-hour Farm tour & chocolate/wine pairing party at the farm for four (add $100/person up to 8 persons)

14

$1,000

Farm to Fork Catered Dinner and Chocolate/Wine Pairing: Come join Farmer Mike and wife Rhonda and our friend Chef Ryan from Scratch food truck for a unique farm tour & farm-to-fork catered dinner, including a chocolate and wine pairing for four at the farm (add $250/person up to 8 persons)

15

$1,000

Choose any combination of our pledge items totaling $1000 and get free shipping!

 

How to Purchase

Our goal is to formally launch the Kickstarter campaign within the next month (October 2019) – I will send you a separate reminder email with a definite start date and a link to the Kickstarter page. You can go directly to the Kickstarter site and make purchases directly.  Assuming that the campaign is fully funded and successful, we will immediately start delivering the products that you ordered with a goal of fulfilling everything by the end of the 2019 calendar year.  Special events (like the catered dinner, for instance) will need some advanced notice and planning and so may carry over into the next calendar year.

A Final Note to Our Tribe

Again, we’d like to thank all of you who have supported our business in the past.  You all are awesome!  It is only because of you that we have made it this far, and our hope is that you will be lifetime Honokaa Chocolate Co. customers.

Our deepest thanks,

Mike and Rhonda Pollard

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