How MyChocolateSelfie® got its start
MyChocolateSelfie is unique chocolatier based out of Orlando, Florida. They print images, your selfie for example, as an edible candy coating layered over chocolate. The company has been operating for one year (incorporated with BizFilings in 2014), and started increasing its sales efforts in November, 2015. The business is taking off for founder and innovator, Mike Calvo.
You might be surprised to know that Mike Calvo is blind, but unsurprisingly it has not deterred his aspirations – a feeling that rings true for many people with the dream of starting their own business. Mike has been an entrepreneur all his life. For the last few years he created software for blind people, but a lot of the technology leveraged in his software business has now become free or open-sourced, so he began looking for other business possibilities.
Mike began his interest in chocolate when his friend suggested creating 3D images in chocolate that he could feel with his hands rather than see. He learned about “chocolography,” eventually licensing the technology and trademarking his company.
"It’s the time of the selfie, our motto is chocolate memories. Nothing says I love you more than a chocolate memory, and nothing says I love me more than chocolate selfie,” says Calvo.
The Technology Behind MyChocolateSelfie
Mike set out to build an app, creating an API (application program interface) that could incorporate chocolate selfie technology into picture taking devices like photo booths, tablets, phones, etc. "My background is in software; if we could get people to take pictures on our cell phones, we could build it further to where people can take pictures at local events and sell right on the spot, deliver the stuff; chocolate selfie sellers," says Calvo. "Our long term plan is to partner with anyone who does customizable things."
Now clients can take a selfie and in 3-4 days have an edible image in a variety of shapes such as a chocolate lollipop, coin, or bar. You could even have a chocolate business card printed.
Marketing Channel: Social Media
In terms of marketing channels, Facebook is a huge platform for MyChocolateSelfie. Mike is a big believer in using technology and marrying it with real world applications. "Working online, you can literally do it from your living room. You can impact people for so little money. Analytics, through all that information you can drill down," says Calvo.
Standing Out From the Competition
On the appeal of his particular brand of chocolate Mike feels he has tapped into people’s emotions and desire for self-expression which allows him to stand out from other chocolatiers.
"What people are looking for is being a part of something. It’s not just putting pictures on chocolate. It’s about people realizing the value of memories. It’s about a boyfriend thinking his girlfriend will be 80 one day and will remember the crazy boyfriend who put her picture on chocolate," says Calvo. "If people think out of the box, they can really lower the cost of being able to take an idea and run with it."