by Heather K. Terry | Featured Contributor
I was working as an actress when I first had the idea to develop my own line of chocolate. And not just any chocolate, but chocolate that was free of refined sugars and made with the best possible ingredients. I’d taken chocolate-making classes in Manhattan at one of the finest cooking schools in America, so I had the how-to. I had the science down, and every batch of chocolate I made continued to get better and better.
People kept telling me that I should be selling my chocolate—that I was really on to something. I knew they were right, that I had an amazing product on my hands, but I had absolutely no idea about how to get that chocolate onto store shelves. I was an actress, not a business person! I had money saved up from work I’d done in commercials and I wanted to invest that into starting a company, but I didn’t know how.
In the meantime, a fellow actor by the name of Bob McClure was having amazing success with his new line of pickles. I mean, McClure’s Pickles were exploding into this crazy success (thankfully, not literally) and it seemed like he knew what he was doing. So I asked Bob if he could help me with my product idea . . . if he could give me some advice about how to get my chocolate out there.
When we sat down to chat, Bob gave me one piece of advice that was absolutely pivotal to my success. I was tossing out ideas about what the wrapper should look like and Bob interrupted me and said, “Heather, if your chocolate is great, it doesn’t matter what the packaging looks like. If what’s inside the pretty wrapper sucks, nobody is going to buy it.”
I am so grateful that I got that bit of advice before I went too far into my entrepreneurial journey. I could have wasted a lot of precious time and money on the packaging, which was the next natural step after my recipe was just right. Instead, I was able to harness that energy into more essential things like marketing and actually getting my product into stores.
People pick up pretty packages all the time, but if what’s inside that package tastes awful or doesn’t function properly, they will never pick it up again.
When my business partner, Jennifer, and I started NibMor, we spent a great deal of time with consumers demoing our product. We asked people to taste our chocolate and give us feedback. And let me tell you, people loved it, they loved us, and they loved our brand. They would buy our chocolate no matter what the packaging looked like because they loved our energy, they connected with our messaging, and they started to crave the taste of our chocolate.
You have to perfect the product you’re putting out there to an extent, but you can not obsess over the details because if you do, you will lose traction and you’ll spin your wheels until you end up never going anywhere. It makes me sad to think of all the amazing products out there that will never see the light of day because their makers are obsessing over which font to use on the label.
What your mother taught you when you were five years old is also true in product development—it’s what’s on the inside that counts. (Aw)
Heather K. Terry
Celebrated health coach, cooking instructor, yogi, and writer, Heather K. Terry, is a true health aficionado. She is co-founder and COO of NibMor Chocolate, co-founder of the Gluten Free Sugar Cleanse, and a strong advocate of eating real, simply prepared, organic foods and avoiding genetically modified, highly-processed food-like objects. A graduate of The Institute for Integrative Nutrition and The French Culinary Institute of Manhattan, Heather’s passion for food and nutrition are palpable. www.heatherkterry.com