Owner’s Investment: $20,000
A niche business positioned under parent company Man in the Moon Candies, Promise Me Chocolate provides delicious chocolates in the shape of gemstones and rings.
Promise Me Chocolate has recently been under the new ownership of Amy Lear, who also operates Man in the Moon Candies, 193 E. First St., Oswego.
In July of last year, Lear purchased the company from its original owner, Stacey VanWaldick, an art teacher at Oswego High School. VanWaldick began Promise Me Chocolate as part of her thesis for her master’s degree in art, and it evolved into a business from there.
“She put the business up for sale, and she had some interest in it,” said Lear. “A couple of them were companies she didn’t feel comfortable selling the business to. So I was very honored that she felt comfortable knowing I would take her ‘baby’ and bring it to the next level, which is what we are trying to do.”
Lear invested $10,000 into purchasing the business from VanWaldick, as well as the molds and packaging. She said it was unnecessary to purchase additional equipment or products in order to take on the company because Man in the Moon Candies used the same resources.
“I did not borrow from a bank. We had significant resources existing because we have been in business for a few years, and I also had an additional investor,” Lear said.
Promise Me Chocolate and Man in the Moon Candies are both chocolate and candy businesses that use the same high-quality ingredients. However, they are targeted to different genres of clientele. While Man in the Moon Candies is an old-fashioned candy store that caters to every kind of candy, Promise Me Chocolate is more of a niche business.
According to Lear, Promise Me Chocolate is perhaps more elegant, catering to a higher-end clientele desiring special occasion chocolate. Every Promise Me Chocolate sale is made to order, and is usually for special occasions such as weddings, parties and events.
Promise Me Chocolate has been featured in some high-profile magazines such as Martha Stewart Weddings, Oprah’s O Magazine and internationally in the Dutch magazine Kek Mama.
“We were asked by Martha Stewart Weddings to send some additional samples to them a few months ago, and we are eagerly looking forward to the next issue of Martha Stewart Wedding to see if we are highlighted at all again,” said Lear.
Since purchasing the business, Lear has been working out the bugs in the production process and perfecting her formula to make the best-tasting product. She said she is not expecting to see a full return on her investment within the first year, but plans to make her money back quickly.
“This is definitely a business that has significant long-term potential,” said Lear.
She said maintaining the same high-quality products and not faltering on standards will be the key to future success.
“It’s funny because I think people purchase Promise Me Chocolates because of how they look and don’t necessarily care how they taste. I care how they taste,” Lear said.