SMALL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT: Yen for Chocolate
Filling Spaces had an amazing opportunity to collaborate with Yen for Chocolate in Portland, OR. We created a gratitude giveaway that features custom Yen for Chocolates and a collection of goods from other local businesses. We interviewed Christina Yen to learn more about her company and the steps she has taken to find success. Read more below!
What inspired you to start Yen for Chocolate?
About 12 years ago, I had the opportunity to change my career path. I realized that I needed an outlet for my creativity. I chose the culinary field because food brings people together. When my husband and I relocated to Portland, I decided to go to culinary school, and I focused on patisserie and baking. Then I went to Paris for three months to work at Fauchon. My first batch of chocolates after culinary school was for a close friend of mine who had just ended a long relationship. She was in DC at the time, and I was saddened that I couldn’t be there for her. So, I had the idea of sending her a box of handmade chocolates to comfort her. She was so thrilled and touched. Her reaction made me realize that I love making people happy. I make chocolates to make people happy. People’s joyful reaction when eating my chocolates was my motivation to start the business.
How did you come up with the name?
Yen is my last name, and it also means urge or craving in English. I had to do it! 😊
How has Yen for Chocolates changed over the years?
I started from my home kitchen with a bowl and a pot. Fortunately, I have a space of my own with three tempering machines. When I first started, I focused on weddings and private events and no online presence. Now, I offer limited retail hours and online shipping. When I first started, I thought selling (one of my many weak points) $10,000 worth of chocolates was impossible. Now I am happy that the business is profitable and sustainable!
What is your favorite thing you have made?
A very tough question… I can’t choose!
What is your favorite thing to do in Portland?
Sharing a meal with my friends. Scenic bike rides.
What is your favorite Filling Spaces product?
I love your pillows! I have a chair that could use a pillow the lumbar type. I would like an orange fabric to go with it, so I’m always checking your new arrivals to see if there is a shade of orange that will work!