The Cocoa Tree, located in the historic Germantown district of Nashville, is one Nashville Wraps’ customer who has taken risks, and it’s paid off big time for this small business.
This trendy chocolate shop was founded by Bethany Thouin. Bethany is delighting customers with her truly unique and mouth-watering truffles. However, when she started her business eight years ago, she knew nothing about chocolatiering.
She first moved to Nashville to be a songwriter. She discovered there was an overabundance of songwriters. But on historic Franklin, Tennessee’s popular Main Street district there was a need for something sweet. A good business idea should be founded on a need within the market that you are serving.
Bethany knew she wanted to bring fine chocolate to Tennessee. The only problem was, she didn’t know anything about fine chocolate!
So she studied up on chocolate in any way she could. She states, “I went to the ‘University of Google’ for my chocolate degree!” She then practiced her new craft over and over, tempering, making ganache, and tasting chocolate.
When she knew she had something worth offering to the public, she began selling her truffles to family and friends. Today, much of her success is from word-of-mouth advertising.
Later she decided to move The Cocoa Tree to Nashville from Franklin, and the Germantown neighborhood just felt like home. Now customers visit the shop from all over the United States. She’s excited when she hears about travelers who modified their route just to come to Nashville and taste her truffles.
Bethany knew she needed to apply the same principles that she had learned while she was songwriting:
- Keep it simple.
- Make it universal.
- Tell a story.
- Put your heart in it.
Each of her truffles are not only made using fresh cream, but they each tell a story about a friend, usually a woman, who has affected Bethany in some way. Each truffle’s flavor is tailor-made for that particular person and reflects her personality. For instance, her friend Beckie is bold and intensely honest, making her a perfect candidate for a tequila-based flavor; thus, Beck’s Margarita was born!
Some of their popular truffle flavors are Amy’s Balsamic Raspberry, Sofia’s Sweet Potato, Hazel’s Salted Caramel, Renee’s Chile Pepper and Jack and Ginger.
The Cocoa Tree also has peanut butter bites, award-winning hot chocolate in the winter and frozen Cocoalato in the summer.
Their wholesale business has become very important because it gets their name out into the community, and brings new customers into the shop to see what all the excitement is about. Their online business is also steadily growing every day. It is a key piece to the overall success of the business.
They use Nashville Wraps for several of their packaging needs including merchandise bags, tissue paper and ribbon. Bethany says they have come to rely on the quality of Nashville Wraps’ products, the rapid turnaround time and the exceptional customer service.
For other small business entrepreneurs, Bethany’s advice is to dedicate yourself to working the plan, even when it seems daunting.
“Owning a small business is very hard, but so rewarding when you can look back and see the obstacles that you’ve overcome. Eventually you’ll see your business grow as new opportunities become available and your customer base continues to expand,” stated Bethany.
If you are interested in starting your own candy shop, she said, “Research, research, research! Have a solid plan and have at LEAST six months operating capital in the bank. That is a must, not an option.”
It’s worth all the hard work once she sees the smiles on her customers’ faces after they bite into her amazing truffles.
Internet Advertising Manager
For more info: Read Bethany’s book, “Chocolate Covered Friendship,” which includes chocolate recipes, tips and trivia in a yummy book experience!