The idea of making home-made chocolates came when Avisha was approached by her uncle with the idea. Then everything else just fell into place.
This business story is without a striking inspiration or a heavenly revelation. It has a simple beginning in a “why not?” It all began when Avisha Tuladhar, the co-founder of Shokolade was approached by her uncle after he returned from a trip to India, where he had attended ‘Aahar’, a food festival. Tuladhar’s uncle had seen the popularity of home-made chocolates in India, and wanted to start producing them in Nepal also.
Tuladhar and her mother Nisha agreed to endorse the idea. In late 2012, they setup ‘Shokolade’ (that’s what the Swiss call chocolates). Tuladhar says she chose the name because it sounded appropriate to her. “It also had a pleasant ring to it,” she adds.
During the early days of the business, the duo experimented with flavors and ingredients.
“The making-process is different for different types of chocolates,” says Tuladhar. There are basically two kinds of chocolates — Couverture (made with cocoa butter) and Compound (made with vegetable fat). The former is richer in cocoa content.
Shokolade makes both types of chocolates, with and without fillings, based on on orders it receives. Generally, chocolates with fillings last up to eight months whereas the ones without fillings can be kept up to 12 months.
The Tuladhars started their sales form bakeries around town, beginning with Krishna Pauroti in Kamalpokhari. These days, Shokolade products are sold at Big Mart, and are also available through muncha.com and bhatbhatenionline.com.
When asked about the sales of Shokolade, Tuladhar says the sales pick up during special occasions such as Valentine’s Day, New Years, and festivities such as Dashain and Tihar. The sales are comparatively better in winter than in summer.
There are certain challenges home-made chocolate businesses have to face, mostly because the idea of home-made chocolates hasn’t completely settled in the mind of consumers. They still opt for imported chocolates over locally made ones.
It will take some time for the business to flourish. But meanwhile, Shokolade is working its way to keep its name.