1 post tagged poco dolce
I had the pleasure of meeting Kathy Wiley last fall at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. I am a huge fan of Poco Dolce’s chocolates, so I am looking forward to getting to know Kathy better on Monday, July 16th, while I am moderating the Success and Chocolate panel that she will be on at the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco. Bay Area friends, be sure to purchase a ticket in advance if you’d like to attend. I am very grateful to our mutual friend Cathy Curtis, who put this event together (and who seems to know everyone in the food world)!
Bio: Kathy Wiley started Poco Dolce Confections, originally a small San Francisco baking company specializing in regional Italian pastries, in 2003. Within a year, she discovered a passion for creating hand-made chocolates with unique and exciting flavors. Having a predilection for more savory foods, Kathy decided to finish a piece of bittersweet chocolate with a sprinkling of Grey Sea Salt. Poco Dolce’s bittersweet chocolate “Tiles” were born.
Peggy: How long ago did you start your company, and what does Poco Dolce mean?
Kathy: In 2002 I started my first version of the company, which was bakery items and Italian regional specialties. Within a year I had renamed it Poco Dolce and switched over to chocolate. So, technically, Poco Dolce was started in 2003.The name Poco Dolce literally translates to ‘just a little sweet or not too sweet’, but of course seems like it would be ‘little sweet’. It embodies my preference for sweets which are not too sweet and often have a savory element.
Kathy: I had many different positions prior to starting Poco Dolce, which run from importing for Williams-Sonoma to cooking professionally, to my last job as Director of IT at a local printing company. I’d been thinking of a business to start and things came together to prompt me quit my job and give myself 6 months to make a plan. Again, I started with something that I knew, baking, while I learned how to work with chocolate. I moved from baking to chocolate after looking at where the company might be in 5-10 years. Chocolate made a lot more sense in both lifestyle and product.
Peggy: How many hours do you work per week and how much sleep do you get?
Kathy: I try to be reasonable with my work schedule. Still, I work 60+ hours a week, depending on the week. I seem to sleep in 4 hour blocks, which means I don’t sleep much. I generally wake up at 5:30am and like to get to work at 6:30-7:00am.
Peggy: What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?
Peggy: What were you going to be when you grew up?
Kathy: I’ve always wanted to have my own business. I was always working on business plans. We lived near a baseball field growing up and my father ran a chain of grocery stores, one of which was a restaurant and store supplier, Prairie Market. My plan was to buy the candy bars and soda from there and sell them at the field. I was a little too shy to execute that, but I did end up working there in high school.
Peggy: Is there something you do every day that helps you stay grounded?
Kathy: I try to get out for a morning walk every day and I like reflect on the day to see what I did or didn’t accomplish and what I can do better the next day.
Peggy: When you are not working, what are you doing?
Kathy: Aside from thinking about work, I love to cook for friends and travel when I can.
Peggy: How do you get out of a funk?
Kathy: One thing that helps me is to go in to work when no one is around and take a moment to see where we are now. I often forget how far we’ve come.
Peggy: This is where I usually ask if you like dark or milk chocolate and what brand is your favorite. I know you’re a dark chocolate person. Can you name a favorite brand other than Poco Dolce?
Kathy: I’ve loved Fran’s Chocolates ever since my first Gold Bar from Williams-Sonoma so many years ago.
Peggy: Kathy, thank you so much for your time. You do great work…I’m a huge fan of your Tiles!