Joe Dauenhauer has a sweet pitch for the Sharks as he introduces Chocomize, his custom chocolate bar business in episode 511 on November 22. The business started in 2009 when Dauenhauer and a couple of friends from Columbia University decided that the economy wasn't doing them any favors, so they decided to start Chocomize.
They wanted an online business and they decided on making customized chocolate bars. They offer dark, milk, and white Belgian chocolate bases and over 100 mix ins, including BACON to customize your bar. You can personalize the chocolate bar with a note and they have a “chocolate bar of the month club” too. You make your chocolate bar in the “creation station” on their website and they sell pre-made bars with popular combos too.
Chocomize looks to scale up operations with a little help from a Shark.
Chocomize Shark Tank Recap
Joe entered the Shark Tank and pitched his “sweet take on customization.” He was seeking $500K for 20% equity in Chocomize. Joe told the story of Chocomize in his thick, Boston accent and let the Sharks know his chocolate “bahs” were different than the rest. He demonstrated the customization process on the website and fed the Sharks their own custom chocolate bars. Lori picked him out as a Bostonian right away – she loved his accent.
The Sharks ate their bars and started firing off questions. Robert asked if everything was edible – it is. Joe explains he owns 18% with one other partner, and the company founder owns 50%. After he says he did $440K in sales, down from $500K the previous years. That makes the Sharks a bit cautious. Joe explains the dip in sales is due to re-tooling their production facility.
Mr. Wonderful immediately thinks the product is too niche. Mark Cuban says nobody can be “dominant” with $500K in sales. Joe explains each bar costs $6-$6.50 retail and it costs $2 to make; those are good margins. Mr. Wonderful wants to know how he's going to “get his chocolate back.” Mark thinks he could duplicate the business – so does Mr. Wonderful. He says he'll give Joe 25% of a new company that he starts: “Mr. Wonderful's Customized Chocolate.” The condition is Joe has to leave Chocomize and work for him. Mark says Kevin can run any business – into the ground!
Robert loves the chocolate, but he thinks the niche is too small – he's out. Mark thinks Joe hasn't differentiated himself enough, he's out too. Barbara thinks it will take too long to generate a profit, so she's out. Lori thinks it's not “big” enough for her, so she's out too. Kevin then formally offers Joe a job, but Joe declines. Mr. Wonderful says he's going to go online and order a “you're dead to me” bar, and then he goes out too.
Chocomize Shark Tank Update
Joe did a follow-up interview where he explained his business' growth since airing.
Although Joe failed to land a Shark deal with his sweet treats, Chocomize continues to grow. As with most customizable food products, Chocomize has expanded further into the corporate-gifts niche, landing orders from companies like Google and Buick.
Joe feels his time on Shark Tank was not wasted. The exposure the company received was worth dealing with the cutthroat Sharks. Chocomize continues to grow and expand into new markets. It's become a popular product for parties, particularly for weddings. Joe's sweet tooth and continued hard work serve him well, and he's taking Chocomize to a successfully sweet level.
Posts About Chocomize on Shark Tank Blog