February 24, 2020
FlavorCloud Success Story – Firefly Chocolate | FlavorCloud
We at FlavorCloud have some great insights into the world of international shipping, logistics and e-commerce that we like to share with you, but sometimes we like to share another point of view , our amazing customers. Hearing their journey, how they started their business , how they grew their business and of course , how international shipping has helped fuel their growth makes us incredibly happy and want to share some of their stories.
Interview with Jonas Ketterle, Founder & CEO of Firefly Chocolate
To start with, please tell us a little bit about your company
Jonas: Firefly Chocolate was started in 2014, and we’ve found our niche as a producer of 100% cacaos, produced fully in house from whole raw cacao beans that we import. As a manufacturer with a direct to consumer brand, we offer our customers unparalleled access to the process of making chocolate. At the moment, we’re primarily growing as an e-commerce brand, and we’re gradually expanding to work with more retailers.
Who is your core audience(s) and what marketing messages resonate with them?
Jonas: Our core audience is chocolate lovers who want a more significant and sacred connection to chocolate. The industrial chocolate model that most of us grew up with exploits people and the environment, so we’re offering something different that has impact far beyond fair trade. And by offering products without sugar, our customers can enjoy cacao guilt free!
How do you look at global e-commerce and your international business growth?
Jonas: Eventually we may have fulfillment centers in different global regions, especially Europe and Canada. However, we just began working with two US fulfillment locations, and that’s been a lot to manage. So, our current solution is to use FlavorCloud for shipping internationally, we’ve delivered to over 30 countries this way.
Do you see any differences between your domestic and international customers (product preferences, communications, price sensitivity, etc.), and if so, how do you manage the different audiences?
Jonas: There is little difference in product preferences. We do have to send review requests, etc. to our international customers later than our domestic audiences, so they don’t receive the requests before the delivery of the product. Making the first sale is the hardest part, because of the additional shipping cost. However once people experience our product, they buy in bulk to reduce shipping cost per pound and come back often.
How are you going about your global expansion?
Jonas: Currently our international growth has mostly been through organic and social traffic. Eventually we’ll begin advertising more actively in other regions.
What key logistical and other challenges did you face when expanding cross border and how did you solve them?
Here is a short list of problems we faced:
- Customers that were unhappy about duty charges
- Filling out customs forms individually was becoming a hassle as volumes increased
- We used to lose some package internationally, either to delivery issues or getting stuck in customs
- We didn’t have a good solution for international express shipments.
We were able to solve all these challenges by working with FlavorCloud (better rates, pre-paid duty, FedEx Express, pre-completed customs forms) which has helped us scale our international shipping.
Well, thanks for the kind words, Jonas. We appreciate it. What recommendations do you have for other merchants that would like to build a global brand?
Start with a market to gain experience, and then incrementally scale – FlavorCloud is a great solution for this. Also, get your international shipments out as soon as you receive them, because likely they will have the longest transit time and every day counts.
That’s great advice. To finish the Q&A off, what fun fact about your product (chocolate) would you like to share with us?
Pure chocolate has many flavor possibilities, just like fine wines. In addition to terroir, roasting, and “conching”, a key flavor development step is fermentation of the cacao beans. As soon as the cacao pods are harvested, they are split open to collect the beans, which must be added to fermentation boxes within 24 hours. The carefully managed 5 to 7 day wild ferment can determine the difference of cacao beans that will win international awards and cacao beans that never even reach export quality.
Do you want to learn more about international shipping for your business? Our team of experts at FlavorCloud is happy to answer your questions and talk about solutions. Contact us for more information.