We were lucky to catch up with Tamara Mlynowski recently and have shared our conversation below.
Tamara, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. Risking taking is a huge part of most people’s story but too often society overlooks those risks and only focuses on where you are today. Can you talk to us about a risk you’ve taken – it could be a big risk or a small one – but walk us through the backstory.
Early winter 2020 I took the risk in quitting my full-time salary position in accounting to help grow our business. Did my husband still have a full-time salary position? Yes. Did I have 5 month baby? Yes. Did I know what I was doing? Nope. Fast forward to November 2020 when we took another risk in launching our one of kind dessert truck. Did we know it was going to work? Heck no. Did everyone fall in love with the concept during a pandemic? YES! Now July 2021 we signed a lease to our very first storefront. The biggest risk we have ever taken and all we had was each other, our faith and our loyal customers and their support! During this process we found out that we were pregnant with our second son! Things just got even more serious over here. It took us 9 months to have our Grand opening! Going from a home baker to having a store front changed everything for us! We had to learn all the rules from the city and health department. They mean business when opening something new. It was very hard at times to understand everything that was needed to be done. We went through multiple back and forth on answers from one department to another. After dozens of exchanged emails and inspections we final passed! Within two days we received our license from the city and health department. It was actually right before Valentine’s Day weekend 2022! Our retail space was not ready at all but did we open as is? You bet we did! We had our soft opening and it couldn’t have gone better! We waited until my son was one month old and had our Grand Opening April of 2022. Having a store front means you need to be prepared from all the ups and downs! You can’t predict what’s going to happen but how you approach those downs is what will make the future great! Opening our store front was scary and sometimes it’s still scary. There are weeks where its nonstop busy and then you have days or weeks where its extremely slow. All around being a small busines owner and having a store front is a huge risk to take. In the end, it’s all in your hands to help grow your baby. Always support local because they are the ones that’s building up our community! We decided to take this risk because we are proud of what we do. We know that we have great quality chocolates and we put our heart into everything that we do. Most importantly we are honoring my mom by donation a portion of our proceeds to The Alzheimer’s Association! We are touching lives in ways we wouldn’t have imagined and I know it will just grow from here. Of course it will always be hard work but worth it.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
ZuZu Chocolates is named after my mom and we donate a portion of proceeds to The Alzheimer’s Association. We started as a small home based business in 2019 and launched our dessert truck in 2020 and opened our first store front in 2022! We are a family owned business and love it. My husband and I are the markers behind our wonderful chocolates. We customize chocolates for all occasions and we are extremely proud on how far we’ve become!
Can you talk to us about how your side-hustle turned into something more.
ZuZu Chocolates was just a side business that I launched from home. It was actually my husbands idea and a way to honor my mom. By trade I’ve been in accounting for almost 8 years before I fully quit my corporate job in 2020. We where clearly small and just doing things little by little. We would attend bridal shows, pass out chocolates to family and friend to get their options. Of course we made sure we had a presence on social media that eventually grew to what it is today. As time went on we started to know what audience we wanted to attract but we continued and still learned to make our chocolate what it is today. If you look at what we did back in 2019 when we started you would laugh at the designs compared to now. We’ve learned how to temper our chocolate the correct way. As time went on we’ve been able to focus on new ways to grow on business and the quality of our chocolates. It just took time and patience to get where we are today but we still have so much space to grow and be better!
Where do you think you get most of your clients from?
Honestly our entire business has been by word of mouth and social media. Which I believe is the best type of business to have! It always puts a smile on our face when someone calls or walks in our door and says I saw you here and this person told me about you and etc.
- Website: zuzuchocolates.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zuzuchocolates/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ZuZuChocolates/
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/zuzu-chocolates-treats/
Noha with Through My Lens 828