As Valentine’s Day approaches, here’s an On Our Way To Wealthy column crafted to serve as a reminder of the big day and to keep the forgetful ones out of the dog house.
Sweets are definitely not my vice. However, I had the pleasure of tasting chocolate manufactured by Chocistry, which really almost made me rethink my list of vices. The presentation rivaled Godiva and Hershey’s. There is definitely a new chocolatier on the rise.
As a mini manufacturer, P. Ashley Rix is well on his way. He has mastered creating a prized product, now the world just needs to know of Chocistry and P. Ashley Rix.
Carlee McCullough: Tell us a little about yourself.
CM: How and when did you begin your career in the candy making industry?
PAR: The idea sparked in 2007 and I truly began pursuing becoming a chocolatier in 2008. I am completely self-taught, which is rare in the chocolate industry because it is such a difficult craft to master.
CM: What has been your experience with handmade candy in the local market vs. nationally?
| Chocistry gourmet chocolates (Photo by Rebekah Shaw)|
CM: You notice any new trends in the marketplace? If so, what are they?
PAR: Consumers have a much more savvy taste these days. With more exposure to the culinary world via the media, people have a broader education and expectation on what’s good and want to be wowed. Pairings like chocolate bacon, spicy chocolates, etc are just a few examples of what’s in demand. I created Chocistry with the purpose of establishing new trends. Chocistry is becoming known for its exciting blends and eclectic chocolates that push the creative boundaries and surpass the chocolate status quo. Consumers want their tastes taken to new heights and my goal for Chocistry is to deliver amazing chocolate that changes what people typically expect.
CM: Of the chocolates that you create, which is your favorite and which is your best seller/most popular product?
PAR: Honestly, I love them all. I’ve put considerable thought into each formula that makes up each chocolate. Some of my more popular ones are Mama Jean (sweet potato), Geisha (cherry blossom), Zola (apricot gorgonzola dolce) and Heart of Gold (saffron caramel) to name a few. I have nearly fifty signature chocolates and anyone can find something they will love.
CM: What are some daily habits that made you successful?
PAR: Create even on days I don’t feel like it. I’m constantly working on my business to strengthen it. I’m in production several days out of the week as well. Actively networking to position my business as a known resource for consumers is a daily job but it is worth it.
CM: What’s the next step for you as a candy manufacturer?
PAR: I’m relaunching my website, www.chocistry.com, to be a virtual chocolate shoppe where customers globally will be able to purchase my chocolates and other confections and have them shipped to them or sent as gifts. Growing in the restaurant supplier and wedding/events business is also where my focus is right now. Opening the flagship Chocistry Chocolate Studio & Shoppe late 2012 is where this is all headed and eventually regional expansion once the Memphis location has sustainable success.
CM: Any advice for aspiring candy makers?
PAR: It’s no cakewalk. To be a serious candy maker, particularly a chocolatier, you must have a strong grasp for the science behind it. Mastering the fundamentals is the key. Creativity and imagination, however, is what separates the good from the great.
(For additional information please visit www.chocistry.com.)