Chocolate-lovers have likely already heard of the King of Chocolates, Chef Phillip Ashley Rix, the esteemed chocolatier that has been listed in USA Today’s 10 Best, named the “Real Life Willy Wonka” by Forbes, and the provider of the official chocolate of the 2016 GRAMMYs Celebration® and 2016 OSCARS SALUTE®.
What chocolate-lovers may not know, though, is how he’s strategically infiltrated the candy market and claimed ultimate success. That is, until now. BlackEnterprise.com tells you how.
BlackEnterprise.com: Why chocolate?
Rix: It all started with just dreaming big. I had a dream about chocolate, woke up and said, ‘How cool would it be to become a chocolatier?’ I was already in the lane of trying to figure out what was my next move in terms of entrepreneurship. I was in the right place at the right time for the headspace. It was just one of those things that stuck.
What makes Phillip Ashley Chocolates different from the several other chocolate makers on the market?
The whole reason I started Phillip Ashley Chocolates was to be different from the others on the market. Where we truly standout is with our flavor profile and our approach to flavor composition. We put barbecue in chocolate and blue cheese in chocolate. I really focus heavily on the elegance of the flavor design—that’s why we call them designer chocolates.
What can you attribute to your success with Phillip Ashley Chocolates thus far?
First, it’s being able to create an awesome product that captures people’s attention and imagination. Then, it’s having the right people in place. It really was a lot of right time, right place. In terms of opportunities, we’re ready.
What do you wish you knew when starting Phillip Ashley Chocolates that you know now?
Knowing about how we approach certain things financially and how we manage relationships. The biggest thing that I’ve learned to do now, that I should’ve been doing all along, is really just celebrating the progress along the way.
How did you manage to secure a relationship as a supplier with FedEx as a small business?
Relationships. I think anyone who has had any type of success will tell you that having fruitful relationships play a big role—and knowing how to effectively network. Going to a company like FedEx and saying, ‘I understand what your opportunities and challenges are, and this is what we have of value to help you.’
What would you say to aspiring or established small business owners who are looking to land mega supplier contracts?
The first thing I learned is that there is a fear of selling. What small businesses in particular need to realize, regardless of what their product or service is, you’re in sales. You have to generate revenue. Selling to companies and creating a defined program can often lead to fixed revenue.
What can attendees of the 2016 Entrepreneurs Summit expect to learn from your Landing Mega Contracts panel at the summit?
They will learn what the process is in general, what to expect, who you should go after. Overall, what the benefits are, how you need to prepare, opportunity cost and how to plan.
Follow in Rix’s footsteps and learn how to operate small while supplying big at the 2016 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit, May 4-7, Loews Miami Hotel, Miami. REGISTER NOW.
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