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Shafer…Power! Chocolate Bars

Inspired by our friends at Mast Brothers Chocolate, the kids and I took a shot at making homemade chocolate bars last Friday evening.  As mentioned in a previous blog, the goal was to have them ready for our community-wide thrift sale which was held on Saturday morning.  And much like our Jesterbucks coffee stand, the project was a massive success!


We started the process by finding an excessively simple recipe online.


And then poured the chocolate into molds.

We then froze them for a few hours which allowed us to work on packaging.

Of course, no good chocolate bar is complete without the right name.

As with every handmade product, quality control is a very important step.  Apparently they tasted great because everyone was so preoccupied sampling the product, we forgot to take pictures of our smiles.

Game Day

The kids and I were up early for the thrift sale and were raring to go.  We brewed a batch of coffee to sell with our chocolate bars to ensure we had caffeinated customers.  We had done no marketing prior to the event but put up a Coffee sign on the corner pointing toward our house.

In the end, the chocolate bars significantly outsold the coffee – although we did have one customer (me) who purchased several cups o’ joe.  The kids’ confidence seemed to pick up as the morning went along.  While they initially relied on people to see their sign, eventually they asked most people if they were interested in making a purchase.  One of our last minute customers picked up three chocolate bars from the kids; a dollar tip on top of the deal sealed their happiness for this event.

The Bottom Line

Our cost of goods for the project – including ingredients, the chocolate bar molds and labels – was just under $30.   We were able to make twenty-four chocolate bars with our supplies and elected to price them at $1/piece.  (Although our goal is to eventually earn some spare change, we decided on the $1 price point as we were more interested in successfully moving product than making a profit.)  We sold a dozen chocolate bars for a total of $12.  The kids were enthused by our efforts even though I think they had hoped to sell more.


I’m always curious whether events like these leave an impact on the kids and what they will remember.  I was pleased to hear the excitement in Owen’s voice when he told a neighbor about the event later that day.  I think we all learn a little something about ourselves during events like these, myself included.  One thing is for certain, it’s inspired us to do more.  There’s already talk about homemade ice cream or maybe even a taco stand.

What future events do you think we should consider?

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13 Comments Post a comment
  1. AR #

    Any concern about overdoing it with your kids being so young?

    May 20, 2012
  2. I don’t AR, only because we also went swimming and hiking this weekend and did puzzles and read books and drew pictures and played extensively with the neighbor kids and our cousins. It’s all part of a balanced regimen.

    May 20, 2012
  3. Penny #

    Great experiential learning!

    May 21, 2012
  4. the idea of kids being a part of the whole cycle of thinking of something, or even picking something they like, then learning that THEY can actually make it, share it, and sell it is so inspiring. To kids, everything can be a game, if it is presented in a fun way with fun parents. I have no doubt that if more of us did these kinds of activities with the goal to cultivate creativity, team work and having fun with our kids, they just might grow up with a totally different attitude towards work.
    Can you imagine a whole generation entering the workforce with a childhood full of references for how fun it is, how creative they can be, and that making money isn’t everything.


    ps. I’ll take any remaining chocolate bars please : )

    May 21, 2012
    • Thanks Jeff for the thoughtful comment. I agree that the future is brightest for those children who learn how to be creative and have fun along the way – like chocolate sauce on ice cream, right?

      May 21, 2012
  5. Stevie #

    Any chance your kids know anything about software programming or have participated in a hackathon?

    May 21, 2012
    • Thanks Stevie for your question. I had to look up hackathon to make sure I was on the same page. Fortunately, the kids know nothing about coding yet but the opportunities seem to be endless for young people in that field. While I have a lot of respect for coders, I worry about their noses always being in the computer. How do you develop social skills when you typing cryptic code all day long?

      May 21, 2012
  6. It sounds like a delicious foray into entrepreneurship. Congrats on your success!

    May 21, 2012
  7. Nick #

    Do you ever ask you kids, after a few days, if they remember what they learned? Or when you move on to a new project do they relate back these types of experiences? Like when the sold the coffee before they say “this” worked really well we should use that tactic with chocolate.

    May 22, 2012
    • Thanks for the question Nick. I do, in fact, try to see if some of the concepts carry over for them. For example, when traffic was a little slow at the community-wide thrift sale, I asked Owen if he had any thoughts on how we could drive some traffic. He suggested we could have passed out flyers in advance, which is exactly what we did for our coffee stand. I think asking the kids lots of questions will be an important part of their learning process.

      May 23, 2012
  8. Sounds like a great idea for a journey of life and learning – very best wishes.

    May 23, 2012

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