SCORE

By Renee Petro

Growing up in France, Cecile Delannes enjoyed making chocolates to give to her teachers, friends and family on holidays and other special occasions. She decided in November 2020 to launch her Kit2Eat online business – providing in one convenient kit everything a home cook needs to make chocolate desserts. 

Cecile said that during Covid-19, “there were more foodies with the time and interest to have fun being creative with food and cooking.” She markets online a variety of kits for making artisanal chocolate bombs, bars, truffles, fondue, customized cake slices, and other treats.  

Each beautifully packaged kit includes:

  • All the necessary tools and pre-measured ingredients, including chocolate from the preeminent French chocolate maker, Michel Cluizel, as well as high-quality molds for shaping the delicacies

  • Step-by-step instructions, or a link to an online video featuring a premier chocolatier guiding the at-home chocolate-making process

SCORE Mentoring Supports Small Business Owners

“I went to the SCORE Westchester website to find a mentor who could help me with the challenges of operating a new online business,” Cecile said.  ‘I meet twice a month by phone with my mentor, Rick Peterson, who provides strategic guidance, feedback, and encouragement that helps me stay on track with my direct-to-consumer marketing.”

Cecile didn’t yet have a business plan when she started Kit2Eat, because she was rushing to launch the company in time for the December holiday season. She shared her business idea with a friend who made the introduction to French chocolatier Michel Cluizel and his chocolate-making kits. Next, she researched the “hot chocolate bomb” trend, created a kit for making it, offered it on her own website and then marketed it on her Etsy site where it became the most popular item in the Kit2Eat product line.

Mentoring Provides New Insights and Skills Development

“I knew that having a SCORE mentor could help me determine if my business model was strategic and viable. I also worked with Rick on the fundamentals of a new business: accounting, insurance, brand trademark, sales and marketing plans.  Rick recommended that I adjust how my business appears and appeals to consumers – my messaging was not in tune with my brand and products.  I also had to learn more about digital marketing, including social media and different sales channels.”

Cecile stressed that the mentoring from Rick has helped her track business sales and profitability with reports from Etsy, Shopify and other online retail outlets.  She has set annual business objectives, researched target marketing, and developed a social media strategy.

“SCORE mentors offer a caring and personal connection that means so much to a small business owner who is working alone,” said Cecile. “My mentor relationship is motivating – it helps establish my business priorities and next steps.”

Cecile has recommended SCORE mentoring to her friends by reposting SCORE information on LinkedIn, emailing stories from the SCORE website, and forwarding notices of free SCORE webinars. 

 “I started with a SCORE mentor in 2006 to strengthen my skills as a business development consultant for small French specialty food manufacturers.  Reaching out again for SCORE mentoring when starting Kit2Eat was a timely and effective decision. I am very curious and always open to learning something new that can help me grow my business. SCORE has mentoring experts in every aspect of starting and running a small business.”

To make your own mentoring appointment with Rick Peterson, click here.

Mentoring Spotlight: Cecile Delannes & Rick Peterson