Like gourmet chocolates, truffles, chocolate hampers and chocolate portraits? Brown Station is your one-stop halt.

Would you give up a high-flying management consulting job to start a business? That’s exactly what the founders of Brown Station did. At their one-stop shop for chocoholics and almost six months into the business, Dhruv Prakash and Shalini talk about their flourishing business and why you must try their chocolates.

Taking off…

After our graduation from SRM Engineering College, we worked in a management consulting firm for a couple of years before we set out to try what we passionate about. We did a soft launch in December 2011 to understand the market, demand and the process of handling the business.

In June 2012 we started full-fledged operations with Brown Station. Brown is the colour we associate with chocolate, hence Brown Station. Also most of the other names we thought of were already taken.

We have hired two employees to handle our orders and a friend handles the online presence of Brown Station in Facebook and other social media platforms. There’s a person to deliver our products across Chennai and we also take orders online through Anything Delivered or Yo Potato.

Choco delight

We have always been passionate about good food and enjoy eating out. We believe there is a huge market for gourmet customised chocolates. There are not many players to cater to this growing demand. So we ventured into a home-based chocolate boutique.

Here you can choose from a range of 22 flavours including Almond Delight, Berry Sensation, Black currant Magic, Minty Affairs or the Orange Nocturn. If you prefer truffles, choose from Black Addiction, Coco Bongo, Choconutty or Almond Clusters. Not a chocolate lover? Try the cupcakes: fresh cream vanilla, red velvet with cream cheese frosting, fresh cream chocolate and double chocolate fudge brownie.

A few flavours in our menu were suggested by customers. Yes, we are open to trying new flavours. We have a diverse range from the traditional nuts to fruit-filled chocolates to more traditional flavours like Indian Indulgence and spicy chocolate. A whole range is in the trial phase and are yet to be introduced in the menu. Apart from chocolates, we have also introduced cupcakes, brownies and pies to the menu.

Business development

Most orders are for weddings, birthdays, get-togethers and other celebrations. Our chocolate gift bags are favoured as return gifts. We make chocolate hampers of different sizes for gifting.

We also have regular customers who drop by and pick their weekly dose of chocolates and cupcakes. Ideally, we’ll need a day’s notice for most orders.

For larger quantities say for a few thousand chocolates, at least a week’s time will be needed. Right now we work from home; we are looking to scale up soon.

It has been a busy and happy month so far. We are looking to scale up to meet the growing demand. We were overwhelmed with the response from the Facebook page as well. A number of visits have been converted to orders since the launch of Brown Station page in Facebook (about two months ago).

Price: Chocolates start at Rs. 12 per piece; truffles are Rs. 30-35. Chocolate portraits start at Rs. 400 and upwards depending on the size; cupcakes are Rs. 45.

Make your own chocolate

Ingredients:

1 cup of icing sugar

3/4 cup of cocoa powder

1/3 cup of powdered milk

1 tsp of vanilla extract

200 gm of cocoa butter

Method:

Melt the cocoa butter.

Sieve in dry ingredients separately and mix them together.

Add the melted cocoa butter and vanilla extract.

Pour the mixture into a mould and freeze for 5-7 minutes.

Remove from mould and enjoy.