Pennie Sølbeck, the founder and owner at ChokoChokoYeah, wants you to know that you’re welcome to come by. Anytime! But chocolate-lovers be warned: if you do come by, you might not leave. You might miss that gym class you’d scheduled, or maybe that coffee date you’d organized last week. You might actually forget that you have anything at all to do other than gape at chocolate robots, because that’s the kind of place ChokoChokoYeah headquarters is. Located in a basement storefront in Charlottenlund, the boutique cum-industrial kitchen and office is a fun, open space that displays not only the chocolate itself, but also the design and production process.
With a Bachelor’s in product design and and Master’s in digital design, Sølbeck, who is Danish by heritage but grew up in Australia, isn’t what comes to mind when you think of a chocolatier, and that’s what makes her chocolate so engaging. QR-codes, logos, and other fun marketing tools constitute the bulk of their current work. They also continue to branch out into personalized gift boxes, wedding decoration and other event favors.
As we talk (and munch chocolate, obviously), it becomes obvious how excited Sølbeck is by the process of design, and how much fun she’s having with her product. She reflects on how she came to her current position, noting “Cupcakes showed us that events are crying out for something sweet. I felt like the next obvious step was chocolate. And it’s so marketable. Who doesn’t like chocolate?
No argument here.
So how does one get their logo on a piece of chocolate? It’s as time-intensive as it sounds. The artwork is created in photoshop and then printed from a normal printer with edible ink onto transfer sheets. An airbrush machine lays down a white background as the logos are usually printed on white chocolate, and then the sheets are put into a magnetically attached mold and filled with tempered chocolate by machine. The chocolate is allowed to harden, cool, and then is transferred out of the molds. The pieces look professional while retaining their handmade quality.
Pennie talks about the pillars of her business, “I think ChokoChokoYeah’s ideals: high quality, simplicity, innovation are very Danish, very Scandinavian. One thing I love,” she tells me, “is how this is an original idea. People always ask where I found the idea; London, New York, Paris? It feels good to tell them that this is a Danish idea. That’s compelling for people.”
I ask Pennie about the process of starting a business. She recounts her meetings with PR consultants that turned into massive orders, and how she started out renting a small kitchen in a bakery, making thousands of chocolates by hand, often all night. She’s open about how difficult the process was and how she’s still only in the beginning stages of where she’d like to be.
Pennie brings out a hand-painted chocolate duck and an apple core. She shows me the place cards she created for a recent wedding that matched the invitation style. We take a look at an order of QR codes. This is creative stuff. It has personality, just like Pennie, and though the store only opened in May of 2013, the essence of the brand really comes through in every part of the space.
Next time you need a personalized item for an event, forget business cards and head for the good stuff: ChokoChokoYeah’s got your sweet idea covered.