Recipe for happiness asks for at least 2 parts chocolate

Pasqual Marques’ story of how he started Temptation Chocolates is about as rich and jovial as the deliciousness he sells.

Back in 2009, Pasqual was living in Auckland and working full-time as a graphic designer for an agency. He started experimenting with making chocolates, because who wouldn’t, but it was just a hobby. That all changed on a casual Friday when Pasqual brought some bonbons he had made into the office and I gave them his workmates and boss.

“As I was leaving, my boss asked me, ‘How many can you make a week? I want 1500 bonbons, and I want you to design the packaging for them because we are giving them to all our clients as a Christmas gift.’,” Pasqual told us.

“And so I jumped into it.”

What was Pasqual’s hobby has since become his full-time job, and what was previously his full-time job has become freelance work. That’s not to say he doesn’t use his qualified skill set every day.

“It’s pretty cool how even when you’ve changed your role, you’re still using the skills that you’ve got. It’s fun for me to be getting to do the brand development, marketing, product development, and packaging. As a small business, I’m still involved with all layers of the business, so my skills as a designer are still used quite a bit.”

So far the whole operation has been bootstrapped, but Pasqual and his partner tell us they are looking for capital investment now in an effort to scale.

“I have been in business [for] just a little over a year making chocolates. It has just been about building up the foundation you need for a startup, and we are still developing a different range of products.”

The development stage is very much parallel with sales progress for Pasqual. His lab is the Gisborne Farmers Market, where he can be found charming customers with conversation and chocolate every Saturday morning.

“It’s where I have the maker, the product and the customer together, so it’s pretty cool to check the customer behaviour and the effectiveness of my products. They’re quite unique in shape and flavour, so it’s always important to be testing it in the marketplace.”

Once the product range is sufficiently developed, Pasqual says he will begin looking for major distributors so that more Kiwis across the country can savour their moment with Temptation Chocolate. The company will also pursue a connection between the chocolate and the Brazilian cocoa farmer.

“I see Temptation Chocolate in the near future as a bigger-sized business where we make chocolates from beans sourced from Brazil.

“I’m very interested in creating a link between us and Brazilian cocoa farmers, and getting these quality products into New Zealand.”

When asked, Pasqual chuckled and told us he has not completely ruled out opening a Willy Wonka-type factory. We’ll have to wait and see.

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