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Sarah Endline: Small Business Blog Interview

by Brian Brown (follow me on Twitter): May 10, 2006

I went on a 'caper' this past weekend to find the product of one of the blogs I recently featured. Sweet Riot's chocolate covered cacao nibs were listed on their website as being available at a small natural foods store in Morrisville, Vermont, about an hour from where I live. So off I went to sample the product.

AppletreeUnfortunately, Apple Tree had sold out of the "50" flavor which is the flavor closest to milk chocolate. I settled for one canister of "70" and two canisters of "65", one for me to try, one for mom on Mother's Day.

On their website, it clearly states that the "70" flavor has a hint of espresso for coffee lovers. However, the packaging for the "70" says nothing about this unless you look really closely at the ingredients side-by-side with the "65" flavor. I definitely think they need to advertise this more clearly on the packaging.

DisplayThe price for these tiny tins (1 oz) was steep at $5.99, but the blog did a nice job of selling the fact that these are very special treats worth the money, so I didn't mind the price.

Finally, the taste. They're ok. I'm not a big dark chocolate fan, so the "65" really isn't my style. I did get to try the "50" at the natural food store as they had one canister as a sample, and that was pretty good. The "70" wasn't to my liking at all, which is to be expected since I'm not a coffee drinker. The texture of these treats is great though. They're tiny, about the size of large nerd candies. They have the gritty piece of cacao bean in the center along with the smooth chocolate coating giving them some complexity. I would be interested in what candyblog has to say about them. (Update: Candyblog has done a review of them as noted by cybele in the comments)

In the meantime, while I was out hunting for the product, Sarah wrote back with answers to my follow-up questions. Here they are:

SarahPajama Market: How has the blog impacted your company?

Sarah Endline: Websites are a way to connect and communicate with people - I think it's critical to our success.  We tried to build a website that was representative of our company's soul.  We want consumers to get to know us and our company and it is an efficient way to do this.

As a small company, you have limited resources to speak with your consumers and the internet creates an amazing resource to reach people. As soon as they land on the page, we want them to sense that we are different, human, global, and irreverent.

PJ: What has the response been from your customers/clients?

SE: We receive daily notes from our customers - from what I can gather, they love our website and our blog.  :)

PJ: What types of things about your work day inspire you to write a post on your blog?

SE: I love to take people behind the scenes at sweetriot so I try to write about our daily life at the company.  What we are up to, what special events are held, etc. etc.

PJ: What have been the biggest surprises with your blog so far?

SE: I've never had a diary before, so I love the blog because it forces me to sit down and reflect on the company on an almost daily basis.

PJ: What blogging program do you use for the blog? Did you create this blog yourself? How do you like the program?

SE: Typepad.  I did create it myself with some help from a college friend. I do like their program.  It's very easy to track and set up posts.

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Comments

I did get a chance to review them last month ... they're very nice, but pricey. I suggested to Sarah (who is delightful and responsive - good qualities for a small business) that perhaps they sell a kit so you can refill your little tin at a more economical price per ounce.

As to your question about the 50 and milk ... it's just sweeter and milder - but lacks any of the dairy qualities that you might find in a milk chocolate.

As a candy afficianado I can attest that I read sweetriot's blog!

I agree with Sarah. With the limited resources you have as a small business, there is no greater way of networking and getting the word out than blogging and the web. Great interview!

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