The Chocolate Farm
Elise Macmillan's grandmother taught her how to make chocolate when she was about 3 years old. Since then, she's been experimenting with quite a few recipes of her own.
At age 10, Elise introduced her confections to an eager crowd at a local marketplace where she and other kids were permitted to sell their wares. "We thought it was going to be a one-day thing," says Elise, "but it turned into a real business, and people loved [the chocolate] and kept buying it." From that marketplace, Denver-based The Chocolate Farm was born in 1999. Evan, who had taken an interest in computers and business, set up the company's Web site, and Elise began developing more chocolate recipes.
Today, all the company's products have a farm theme, like Chocolate Cows and Pigs in Mud. The company also sells cookbooks and chocolate kits so customers can make their own chocolates at home. "We're really trying to share the fun that we've had with making chocolates," Evan says.
Through exposure on TV and in magazines, demand for The Chocolate Farm's products has grown. The company, originally based in the Macmillans' kitchen and operated solely by Elise and Evan, is now housed in an industrial kitchen and has a full staff. Now that they have employees handling the making, packaging and shipping of their products, the siblings have more time to concentrate on things like school and sports, but the business is always a focus. Says Elise, "I'm kept busy with the company's future plans and new product ideas and everything else that there is to a company."
Though they aren't sure how long they'll be running The Chocolate Farm (both plan to go to college), Elise and Evan are content with all they've accomplished, especially when it comes to making other people happy. "Our whole business is about the customers, and it's really great to see what they think and their responses, how excited they are, how much they've learned or been inspired by our business," says Elise. "That's probably the best part." -Devlin Smith