Elegance and international taste is inherent in zChocolat. zChocolat is recognized as one of the most luxurious chocolates in the world and are handmade by renowned chocolatier, Pascal Caffet. The rich French chocolates are made with natural ingredients, 100% pure cocoa butter, no preservatives and no alcohol to boot. Superior cocao is procured from all over the globe in destinations such as Venezuela, Ivory Coast and Bolivia. There are 26 unique recipes of chocolates, which are assigned numbers so they can be referenced in a photo booklet containing descriptions of the ingredients and where the cocoa was harvested – making this an immersive experience of discovery and taste, like a chocolate tour. The chocolates reside in awe-inspiring handcrafted mahogany boxes which are customizable with engravings with names and messages. Founder and CEO of zChocolat, Jean-Philippe Khodara, created the brand in 1999 out of love, literally. In pursuit of a woman he fell in love with, he wanted to impress her with an experience and treasure she would never forget, zChocolat was born. They eventually got married. Jean-Philippe Khodara tells us how the labor of love pays off:
Hi Jean-Philippe, can you tell us some facts about yourself?
I was born in the city of Meaux in France, attended grad school in France, then [pursued] a B.A. in the USA where I worked in the financial industry for 8 years before returning to France in 1999 and creating zChocolat. Married with 16 year old twins. Love sailing, travelling, epicurean lifestyle.
Can you tell us how you were able to accomplish building a successful company?
VERY HARD WORK, 7 days per week with no vacations for many years.
Have you faced any difficulties and how did you conquer them?
[During the] Subprime crisis in 2008, we lost 30% of sales and reinvented the zChocolat concept with a new website, new chocolate (actual shape) and a single chocolatier, Pascal Caffet, instead of 4.
What inspired you to be an entrepreneur?
I always wanted to have my own company and more importantly to export French gourmet products. My dad was also a very successful entrepreneur.
What advice would you give an entrepreneur?
Observe the market, the competition. Don’t rush, run small A/B testing and when ready, put all your heart and time in your entreprise.