In preparation for the New Year, I’m profiling five Zero Gravity Businesses who have found their flight path to high-velocity growth. As we all begin to think about those New Year’s Resolutions, these businesses offer some great insights into thinking differently and shifting – from Gravity to Growth!
Chocomize was founded by three Columbia University grads who had to rethink their future thanks to the new economy. When they couldn’t find jobs, they decided to start their own business. But what to do?
Well, one of the founders accidentally left some granola, chocolate, M&Ms and Gummi Bears in his car. Well, it was hot and all of that “stuff” turned into a gooey chocolate mess. The guys threw it into the freezer. When they tried it – it was delicious. And Chocomize was born.
When they dug into the candy market, they learned two compelling things: 1) no one was offering customized chocolate bars and 2) the chocolate industry was growing – even in the new economy.
- They are the first custom chocolate bar manufacture in the US. You can design your own chocolate any way you want it. First, you pick your chocolate, then you add up to five ingredients from a selections of over 90 options. (In case you’re wondering, that adds up to 30 billion possible combinations. Talk about choice!)
- You can also put custom messages and images on the bar itself! These bars are great gifts, promotions and more – which expanded their market beyond consumers to businesses as well.
- Chocomize is also a socially conscious company, my favorite kind! 1% of the proceeds from each Chocomize chocolate bar are donated to charities including, Doctors Without Borders, Michael J. Fox Foundation, Action Against Hunger | ACF-USA. Customers get to choose which charity they want to support… The company is also always looking for ways to give back. For example, during the holiday season of 2009, they sent bars to Afghanistan so that the troops could have a chocolate stocking stuffer.
- Their Zero Gravity thinking wasn’t just about the product. Their entire go-to-market strategy was unique. They spent no money on advertising. Instead, they spread the word about their chocolate bars by sharing their story with all the media – traditional and social. They targeted everything from small blogs to the New York Times. Today, they’ve been covered in O, The Oprah Magazine, BusinessWeek, NYTimes, CNN.com, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Costco Magazine, Brides and more.
Chocomize launched at the beginning of the holiday season in 2009 and sold several thousand custom candy bars in the first weeks of existence. In four months the company was profitable and has demonstrated positive cash flow ever since.
Now that’s Zero Gravity!!!