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Small Business Spotlight , Sinful Creations

Eclectic, modern, retro and funky , all words that can be used to describe budding El Cajon chocolatier Sinful Creations.

Owner Amanda Ehrlich, aka “the chocolate goddess,” founded the small business just two years ago but has already taken on an aggressive approach to growth.

Ehrlich re-branded her business, originally named Amanda’s Confections, as Sinful Creations last year.

From her commercial kitchen in El Cajon, Ehrlich makes handmade truffles for sale online and through specialty shops and restaurants.

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With $40,000 in revenue in 2005 and $60,000 in 2006, the business is clearly growing and the next few steps will include a possible storefront opening and more large-scale custom orders.

“Things seemed to happen so fast for me,” said Ehrlich, who is just 25 years old and recognizes that being so young is both a blessing and a curse in business, as she combats stereotyping.

But don’t expect her to be discouraged anytime soon.

“I believe if the product is good and you get it out to as many people as possible, you are destined to find your clientele base,” Ehrlich said.


VITALS

Name: Amanda Ehrlich.

Titles: Owner and pastry chef.

Company: Sinful Creations.

Company address: 1320 Broadway Ave., El Cajon.

Company phone: (619) 788-7068.

Year founded: 2005.

Prior business experience: Worked as a director of food and beverage for Healthy Decadence Catering and as a chef for Hornblower Cruises & Events.

Average hours worked weekly: 40-50.

Sources of startup capital: Private loan, self.

2006 revenue: $60,000.

2005 revenue: $40,000.

Number of employees: Three.

Web site: www.sinfulcreationschocolate.com.


BACKGROUND

Birthplace: Los Angeles.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in human development from UC San Diego; certificate of achievement in culinary arts from Grossmont College.

Age: 25.

Current residence: Little Italy.

Family: Single in San Diego, with family nearby in Los Angeles.

Hobbies: Traveling, skiing, wine tasting, music.


JUDGMENT CALLS

Reason for getting into business: Trying to find my niche in the culinary sphere.

How I plan to grow the business: Guerrilla marketing tactics. Make as many connections as possible and find clients who are looking for a quality, customized , I can even put corporate logos on my chocolates , handmade product.

Biggest plus of business ownership: Creative control.

Biggest drawback: I’m working for how much an hour?

Biggest business strength: I am driven to do whatever it takes to achieve my vision.

Biggest business weakness: I tend to be very hardheaded, controlling and stubborn.

Biggest risk: Monetary.

Smartest business decision: Deciding to start this business instead of just talking about it.

Biggest business mistake: Not planning enough.

Toughest career decision: Deciding whether or not to stay in an industry that I love, but that is so physically demanding.

Biggest ongoing challenge: Being a young woman in a career field driven by men.

The most important parts of my business: As the owner, being able to make decisions that will be best for the company in the long run, not just based on what’s most profitable right now. As the sales department, being able to effectively connect with people through the style and approach of Sinful Creations.

My business works best when: I have had my double espresso.

Best way to stay competitive: Always stay up on what’s new.

How I measure success: Each step along the way I visualize a place in life where I want to be. Success is getting there.


GOALS

Goal yet to be achieved: Having a retail storefront.

My five-year business plan: More employees, a storefront, strong financial growth, reduced or cleared debt for the company.

I would sell my business only if: I knew the integrity of the product would be upheld.

Guiding principles I will continue to follow: The work ethic instilled in me by my master and mentor chef and role models, and creating a unique, quality handmade product.

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