At the age of 11, my grandmother bought me three molds and a bag of chocolate one day when we were shopping. A hobby of candy making was born and my life would never be the same again. When I was 13, I opened a small candy store in my house, Kim’s Khocolate Korner. Family and friends would come during the holidays to buy my concoctions.
But my big break came when I was a senior in high school and hand made over 18,000 candy bars for a school fundraising project. 3,000 pounds of Khocolate and hundreds of hours worth of time yielded a feat worthy of a tremendous amount of national press. This was the point of no return and that candy making hobby turned into a real candy making business. I left high school early, never went to college, and dove head first into owning my own business.
Kim’s Khocolate rode quite a tidal wave of publicity. From The Robb Report to Newsweek to USA Today. I was even included in Apple Computer’s 1986 Annual Report and was fortunate enough to meet Steve Jobs. I appeared on numerous television shows including Evening Magazine, Hour Magazine with Gary Collins, Victor Kiam’s Going For It, and regional news shows.
I was invited to speak at The Wharton School of Business and at a YPO Family University. In 1986, I was invited to testify in front of the United States Senate to a Subcommittee on entrepreneurship and special problems facing small business with “The Growth Guy,” Verne Harnish.
After several years of selling fundraising candy, Kim’s Khocolate turned to custom molded candy for corporate incentives and business gifts. Kim’s Khocolate had the pleasure of dealing with Fortune 500 clients all over the world.
At 18, Guy Kawasaki read about me in “Family Computing Magazine,” and how I was using an Apple IIc to run my business. He contacted me and told me if I ever designed any Khocolates for Apple, they’d love to buy them. That started a long relationship with Apple, as they became our largest account.
Apple sent out 77,000 Khocolate Macs in a direct mail piece to advertise the then new, MacIntosh computer. For several years they sold a variety of custom molded Khocolates in their mail order catalog and in the company store in Cupertino.
The Rolling Stones used a custom box of Kim’s Khocolate in the shape of fourdifferent Rolling Stones images as turn down Khocolate for the crew on the last night of the Voodoo Lounge tour in Italy. Unocal Oil Company gave out custom boxes of Kim’s Khocolate as holiday gifts to employees. MCI used their custom pieces as handouts to potential customers at trade shows. Becton Dickinson had their strep throat test kit duplicated in pieces of Kim’s Khocolate and packaged in a custom box that was sent to potential and current clients. AT&T used their Khocolates as holiday thank you’s to customers.
Over the years Kim’s Khocolate created seasonal candies that were sold around the country in candy and retail stores and in our store in Cumberland, MD. The Khocoholic Collection, The Dr. Collection, The Corporate Collection and The Gift Basket Collection were all marketed throughout the late ’80s and early ’90s. The company tested a franchise concept with seasonal specialty stores in several malls in Maryland.
In 1991, I was proud to be the recipient of the National Federation of Independent Business’ (NFIB) Young Business Owner of the Year.
Kim’s Khocolate closed in 1996, when I decided to start a family. I loved the seventeen years I ran this company. Every customer was an adventure and an expression of how creative I could be.