John Taylor, Managing Director Chocolate Graphics International spends his time in Australia and travels frequently overseas. To arrange an interview, samples or for more information please contact the head office on:
Aussie company Chocolate Graphics International has discovered an ingenious way of communicating - by chocolate. The company has developed a patent protected process that can emboss any image, message or photograph onto a chocolate surface using chocolate.
The specialised process uses computerized laser technology that produces chocolates with high-definition chocolate embossing. Using semi-automated equipment the process can produce up to 150,000 personalized chocolates each working day.
These innovative products can be made in almost any flat shape, size, flavor and in many different colours making them ideal for a wide range of uses and markets.
Sizes range from small mouth sized branded chocolates to large format pieces, which can be embossed and used as invitations, menus, novelty CD's or business cards.
The chocolates can be filled with nuts, fruit and other flavours. There are even carob and yoghurt varieties as nutritional options.
Businesses, Hotels, Restaurants, Non Profit Organisations, and even Art Galleries have been quick to adopt this unique communication tool. The general public response has also been strong with orders coming for wedding favors, birthdays and celebrations like Christmas, New Year, Easter and Valentines Day.
Managing Director John Taylor comments: "our clients love the "wow" factor that comes with the product. For business, the branding of a chocolate with a corporate logo, photo or message creates a compelling communication. Who could say no to chocolate?"
Taylor explains: "The success of Chocolate Graphics is linked to the fact that chocolate is the world's most popular gift. People in all cultures love chocolates. In the USA for example, over $13 billion worth of chocolate is consumed each year. This is supported by a recent survey we conducted which showed that 98.5% of respondents saw a need for our product in the next 12 months."
Chocolate Graphics has chosen to expand internationally using the popular franchise business model.
Small self-contained manufacturing Production Centre for making the chocolates have been designed along with a marketing, training and promotions kit, which is sold as a package to licensees.
Managing Director John Taylor explains, "interest in the licenses has been huge, in the last 18 months we have received inquiries from over 70 countries, and have appointed Licensees in the United Kingdom, Slovakia, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Singapore."
By selling licenses the company is able to utilize the local knowledge of its Licensees and can have a far greater reach than it could using traditional export methods.
Mr Taylor explains, "we found that shipping costs and travel time made export from Australia impractical and so chose the franchise model because it allows us to have a local presence in the markets in which we operate."
In the USA Chocolate Graphics plans to appoint a Master Licensee who will be responsible for developing the network of 250 Production Centres projected for the country. The Master Licensee will also oversee training, marketing, and brand development activities within the USA.
The product is so easy to produce that Licensees do not need to have prior chocolate manufacturing experience. As a result Chocolate Graphics has attracted entrepreneurs and business people from a variety of different backgrounds looking for a food business offering a greater scope than traditional fast food franchises.
The specialised technology also offers existing confectionary manufacturers a clever way to extend their business and develop into new markets. All that's required to transform an ordinary chocolate production line into a Chocolate Graphics line is the addition of a small number of custom designed equipment pieces.
Chocolate Graphics uses computerized laser technology that has been developed to produce life-like photo and 3D imaging on chocolate. The specialised process has been patent protected worldwide.
The Chocolate Graphics process is unique in that it does not rely upon transfers or dye printing to achieve the personalized effect. The entire product is made of chocolate.
The company has developed sophisticated, semi-automated technology for the mass production of the chocolate products. A manual Production Centre can produce 12,000 pieces per day, while the semi-automated Production Centres are capable of producing up to 150,000 pieces daily.
The production automation was developed using New Zealand's PTL, one of the worlds leading developers of chocolate manufacturing technology. PTL specialises in consulting and designing new technology for chocolate manufacturers such as Nestle, Hersheys, Cadbury, Mars and Barry Callebaut.
Director John Taylor explains, "our specialised technology means that we are able to emboss photos and 3D images on chocolate in very fine detail. This means that any photographic image can now be reproduced on a chocolate surface".
Taylor comments: "With this technology we can reproduce complex logos, images of the corporate headquarters, a new product or even the CEO, all on chocolate using chocolate"
Clever management, a strong strategic focus and creative marketing strategies have marked the history of the company since its purchase.
An Australian inventor developed the original process in 1988. However it lay in an embryonic state until July 1999 when John Taylor purchased the patents, applications and manufacturing rights.
Recently retired and ready to settle into a life of beach and golf, Taylor discovered Chocolate Graphics and couldn't resist the opportunity to become the Colonel Sanders of the chocolate world.
John comments "my vision was to take this exciting Aussie concept and develop it into a model that could be multiplied numerous times worldwide".
He comments; "overnight we turned a small "cottage industry" into a profitable commercial venture".
By rebuilding the technology and redeveloping the intellectual property, including the registration of four new international patents, the Chocolate Graphics concept became a commercial reality.
Since that time the process has been significantly upgraded to incorporate state of the art laser and automated technology, which allows the embossing of fine resolution photographic images and has raised the production capacity of a semi automated Production Centre to 150,000 pieces per day.
Within the USA the Master Licensee will receive revenue from the sales of Licenses as well as ongoing royalty and advertising revenue. With 250 licensees projected this is set to be a multi million dollar business.
During test marketing in Australia, the Australian Licensee achieved sales revenue of 3.5 million dollars over the first 3 years.
John Taylor will be available to discuss financial details personally during interviews.
John Taylor began his career as a plumber, following in his father's footsteps. However immediately upon finishing his apprenticeship he made a lateral move and took his first job in sales, selling plumber hardware. This move was to shape the future direction of his very successful career in business.
Mr Taylor comments: "I didn't want to be limited by a particular profession so a step into the business world via sales was a very natural move for me. It was there I started developing foundational skills in marketing and learnt how to work opportunistically."
The next few decades saw John move from one successful sales and management venture to another, specialising in kick starting new, and re-engineering flagging operations and achieving in very short periods of time annual turnover revenues in excess of $10 million.
Aged 35 he launched from scratch his own, Faber Reed Industries business, based on homewares and handicrafts and within 10 years it was achieving a turnover in excess of $15 million.
John comments: "My earlier experience had shown me the importance of judging the mood of the market. Sensing that fashionable homewares were on the move I built my business around them using the successful Direct Selling marketing approach."
He engaged over 5000 independent contractors and developed a unique upmarket range of pottery by recruiting craftsmen from the English Midlands to train local talent.
John's next career move came in the early 80's when he was awarded the Australian Franchise for Pola Cosmetics, the largest direct selling upmarket cosmetic company in Japan, which boasted an annual turnover of $5 billion. He was also appointed as a member of the International Board.
With enviable successes behind him, John was appointed President of the Japanese division of Nutrimetics, a skin care and cosmetics direct selling business now part of the Sara Lee group of companies, with over 250,000 consultants in 12 countries.
John's operational responsibilities included managing over 120,000 independent consultants in Japan and reengineering the 10-year-old operation.
John explains: "When I started with Nutrimetics they were incurring heavy losses. During my 5 years as the Japanese President the company achieved record profits."
Returning to Australia after the Asian economic crises he worked in business consulting for several years and was settling into retirement on Australia's holiday capital, the Gold Coast when he discovered and acquired Chocolate Graphics in 1999.