31 Degrees is growing!
The story of the project
My name is Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick, and I am the owner and creator of 31 Degrees Custom Chocolates. Five years ago, I was working as a nanny in Paris, during which time I ate everything I could lay my hands on, especially delighting in all the amazing pastries and chocolates! It then occurred to me that making all these delightful products was an actual career, and one that I could pursue. When I returned to Brisbane, I threw myself into studying Patisserie, and worked making cakes for 18 months, before turning my hand to chocolate.
I launched 31 Degrees at the end of January 2014, and have been operating as an online chocolate shop, occasionally popping up around town at markets and festivals.
I’ve been working out of a shared commercial kitchen, Wandering Cooks, but am missing out on the biggest reason for chocolate- instant gratification! So 31 Degrees is opening a permanent, physical home. Not only can production be stepped up, but new flavours can hit the shelves, and a new vibrant and welcoming space can be a part of Brisbane’s amazing food scene. All going well, a small kitchen and shop front will be opening in the first quarter of 2016. A fantastic location has been found, and negotiations are well underway, the contract poised for signing!
One of the favourite parts of my work is hearing people’s stories of the chocolate or lolly shops they went into as a child, and how much of an impact seeing the sweets being made had on them. The thought that I could give people the same experience, with large windows into the kitchen in my shop makes me so excited! That extra connection to how food is produced is so important to me.
In addition to bringing European style chocolates to Brisbane, I rely on fresh, local ingredients for the majority of my products. The raspberries are from Caboolture, the cream from Maleny, the pecans from Eltham, the passionfruit from the Sunshine Coast – with so much amazing produce on our doorstop, it makes sense to showcase it! Everything else gets made from scratch in-house- marshmallows, dulce de leche, even the fondant, all with no preservatives or added sugar.
The ‘custom’ in 31 Degrees Custom Chocolates isn’t just for show- because every batch of chocolates is made fresh, I have a huge amount of flexibility in the creation of flavours. My favourite part is tailoring products to exactly meet customer requests, including the flavour, the inclusions and the finish. In fact, some of the favourite flavours on the standard chocolate list started out as custom requests, including peanut butter, passionfruit and port! I’ve been lucky enough to create products for Bucci, Maserati, Woolf Pack, along with chocolate and whiskey pairings at Shady Palms.
Being such a small business, getting a bank loan is difficult, and the repayments are another costly burden, so this way not only does my business expand, all the wonderful supporters receive delicious sweet treats- just in time for Christmas!
How the funds will be used
Some fitout costs are already covered, and approval has been given for the kitchen equipment to be financed, but there are always costs to pay for! This is the most important goal of this project!
Fees, fees, fees!
Opening a shop has a multitude of fees attached to it, from lawyer fees, to design fees, to council fees. Extra funds will help cover all these unexciting, but extremely necessary things!
New melting tank/s
All the chocolate is tempered manually, and melting tanks hold the chocolate at the correct temperature. The one I am using at the moment is way too small (1.5L), and so I have to temper numerous batches of chocolate. A larger melting tank (9L) means less time spent tempering, and more consistency between batches.
Each costs $830, and I would be looking at purchasing one to start off with, with 2 more further down the line.
New labels and inserts for the packaging means a more cohesive and luxurious look to the products. This includes designing and printing costs for the inserts and labels for all the products.
I am working with a lovely Brisbane based designer to create the new brand look!
Any extra funds raised will go directly into fitout costs and fees!
Some of my other work
The line also includes Piñata Cakes- a chocolate shell filled with all kinds of treats, which is broken open with a hammer! They’ve proved to be quite a success, and recipients have a ball smashing into them!
i’ve been lucky enough to take part in a number of exciting exhibitions and festivals, including the Marketplace exhibition at Artisan Gallery, celebrating the handmade and the local produce. I’ve also taken part in Conscious Consumption, Small Batch, WOW(Women of the World) Festival, World Food Festival, as well as a variety of other markets and festivals.