Follow Your Dreams: Chocolate Edition
Written by Sylvie Krekow
Chocomize was founded by three young entrepreneurs—Nick LaCava CC ’09, Eric Heinbockel CC ’08, and Fabian Kaempfer CC’09—who met while studying together at Columbia University. One day they all went to a supermarket together. Nick, the one with the famed sweet tooth, visited the penny candy section and loaded up on candy, chocolate, and nuts. He accidentally left the bag in the car during the day, and when the three returned all the chocolate and candy had melted together into one giant ball. Fabian and Eric dared him to put the bag into the fridge and eat the hardened ball of chocolate, candy, and nuts. It was surprisingly delicious, (both Fabian and Eric ended up trying some) and the idea for Chocomize was born. Sylvie Krekow checked in with the sweet-toothed alum.
Bwog: What has Chocomize’s biggest challenge been?
Nick LaCava: It wasn’t difficult in the sense that writing a business plan or trying to raise money was a huge challenge, but taking something that just seemed like a good idea and then actually taking the risk and acting on it was a huge leap forward for all of us. In my experience, almost everyone seems to have a great idea that they think would work for a business. The biggest challenge is actually forcing yourself to take the risk and get your business started. Once you get the wheels moving you are able to tackle specific problems, but before you take the first step, you’re facing the imaginary and that can be pretty daunting.
How’s business going in the chocolate world?
Nick: Business is going great! Right now we’re getting geared up for the holiday season which is our busiest time. Our chocolate bars are really popular for gifts, so things get really crazy around Christmas. We’ve also been getting some great press recently. In addition to Bwog, we’ve recently been in the NYT, Bloomberg Business Week Magazine, WSJ, and USA TODAY. It’s made things pretty crazy around the chocolate factory.
What’s the best part about Chocomize?
Nick: Being my own boss is great, not because I don’t ever have to answer to someone (not wanting to let Eric or Fabian down is probably tantamount to having a boss) but because every time we have some sort of success, I know that it is because of the hard work and risk that we put into starting the company and keeping it going. Plus being able to eat all the chocolate and candy that I want without having someone yell at me is pretty awesome.
What’s the weirdest chocolate bar someone has ordered?
Nick: We’ve had a lot of strange combinations, but the first bar that comes to mind is milk chocolate with bacon, Sour Patch Kids, Pop Rocks, and potato chips. I wouldn’t recommend it.
What’s your favorite Chocomize bar?
Nick: The s’mores bar is always great. Right now I really like milk chocolate with pretzels and M& M’s.
Bwog tested out some Chocomize bars and found the overall quality of the chocolate to be solid and loved the idea of designing your own bar. Although some of the toppings were lackluster (the coconut flaked off!) the complete experience of eating a Chocomize bar was downright delicious. Bwog can’t make up its mind on putting gummy bears in chocolate, but you, gentle reader, are free to make your own call on that one.