Building a $30 million house of chocolate
July 10th, 2012
12:30 PM ET
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Step aside, Willy Wonka. According to its creator, Vosges chocolate is not just chocolate, it's "an experiential chocolate story-telling vehicle that's meant to be indulgent and sensual and opening to the mind."

More than that, 38-year-old company founder Katrina Markoff intends to "break down stereotypes through chocolate."

Having traveled around the world, Markoff's goal is to get people to try the exotic flavors she discovered, something that's more achievable if those flavors are enrobed in chocolate.

Among her best-selling items is a truffle collection that includes sweet Hungarian paprika and Chinese star anise, fennel and pastis confections.

While chocolate with once-unusual ingredients like chilli or sea salt is now increasingly commonplace, when Markoff first tried selling her product to department store Nieman Marcus in Chicago in 1998, she recalls "the guy looking at me like I'm crazy when I'm telling him what's in it."

But today, Markoff's product sells through 2,000 outlets worldwide, and in eight dedicated boutiques. Last year, her business made $30 million, up 50% on the previous year.

Read - Sweet success: Building an empire from chocolate

soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Fiona

    She didn't come up with those flavor combos in chocolate. They were around pre-1998. Hooking up with NM and their faux-luxury marketing machine is what set this chocolate apart. Others do it far, far better (RecchiutI, for instance). Vosges is hype.

    July 12, 2012 at 9:54 am |
  2. Jim

    I wonder if Katrina is married, and if not, she would marry me. Or if she would maybe leave her husband.
    Imagine- rich, beautiful, and exotic chocolate. Heaven on Earth

    July 11, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • katrinas husband

      Jim, Im her husband. And I can tell you, its heaven on earth for me every night !!!!!!!!!!!

      July 11, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  3. UFC iTard

    Wait, so this is just a metaphorical $30 million house of chocolate? Stupid CNN got me all excited about a colossal waste of money for nothing!

    July 11, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • SpenderH

      Try reading articles about Obamacare to get your fill...

      July 11, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
      • Loopman

        Spender- That's okay, I'll pass. Read too much of the same old, same old when little Bushy was in office. All politicos are the same; make promises they can't keep, then stab you in the back AND throw you under the bus, just to get into the office. After that..... well, I guess history tells that story over and over again, doesn't it.

        July 12, 2012 at 8:00 am |
  4. SillyAss

    Good chocolate, but the staff at the location in the Neiman Marcus building here in Chicago treat you like they're selling you the cure to cancer.

    July 10, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  5. RichardHead

    I would Double Down Hit it !! :) The chocolate doesn't sound bad either.

    July 10, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  6. The Witty One

    Recurring 5@5 phrase...

    July 10, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Truth™@TWO

      You got that right...

      July 10, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫


      July 10, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
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