Birmingham Chocolate started out as a chocolateria in their neighborhood of Birmingham, Michigan and today they’re delighting their customers with uniquely flavored chocolate bars and artfully crafted bonbons and treats.
In our interview we learned why they’re reinventing their business, shifting from a brick-and-mortar to a digital storefront where their delicious chocolates are available with the click of a button. This chocolateria takes artistry to new heights and truly elevates the experience of enjoying fine chocolate.
Read on to learn more about Birmingham Chocolate!
Can you discuss the history of Birmingham Chocolate and how it got started?
Birmingham Chocolate opened Valentine’s week in 2008 in Birmingham Michigan. We were a neighborhood chocolateria featuring chocolate bonbons, treats, favors, wedding cakes, desserts and drinks. I had retired from corporate consulting, pursued a dream of cross-country ski racing, flipped a couple homes and wanted to settle down into something entrepreneurial – my only criterium was that it would be something that I had never done before – I love the challenge of creative learning starting with a blank slate – unencumbered by the way things had always been done.
What’s the motivation behind the recent reinvention of the business?
The chocolateria evolved from selling a wide range of highly custom products to increasingly focused product lines of bars, bonbons and treats which is represented today on our web site, birminghamchocolate.com. Dependence on walk-in retail sales was limiting our growth potential until covid shut us down completely followed by a laborious recovery. We had begun wholesaling locally many of our products and providing small scale private label/co-manufacturing services. Our brick-and-mortar location precluded us from scaling into a true manufacturing format so we moved nearby to Ferndale. All of our retail selling is now online through digital storefronts and retail hubs and our growth is being fueled by private label services.
What’s unique about Birmingham Chocolate’s products?
The recipes for our bonbons and bars are proprietary. We use natural ingredients and do not use preservatives. We make many of our own ingredients such as caramels, toffees, ganache, marshmallow, etc. Our history is hand-crafting in small batches which we will carry forward in spirit as we re-invent the business.
How are Micelli molds integral to your final product?
Micelli molds will be used in our production flood lines for manufacturing chocolate bars. We require the highest quality molds that hold up to time and use.
What’s the inspiration behind the artistry of your chocolates?
We encourage our chocolatiers to be creative – we are constantly developing new recipes and using the latest techniques for decorating. Plus, our customers often suggest cool ideas like putting waves on an Hawaiian chocolate bar.
Is there anything on the horizon you would like to mention?
• While we are not “bean to bar,” we may be “liquor to bar.” This enables us to refine and conch proprietary chocolates with novel ingredients including supplements and no/low sugar sweetening.
• To complement our co-manufacturing services, we may offer fulfillment services of online orders for private label customers.