Debbie Moore and Christine Aunspach have been doing things together since they were in high school. They graduated together; they both got married about the same time, started having children and raising a family, and remained close friends.
While they were raising their four children each, they thought it would be nice to have some extra income for the family, and 13 years ago, started a cleaning business together. It was an ideal situation to work their own hours so they could be “stay-at-home” moms. “Taking into account the fact that we had young children, going into business together seemed like the perfect solution to us, so we began a residential and commercial cleaning business,” says Debbie. “This has been wonderful for us since we can set our own schedules to fit that of our families.”
The partners turned to a new business opportunity as a result of Debbie’s daughter’s wedding. “The idea for ‘An Elegant Touch Chocolate Fountains’ came out of my searching the Internet for new different ideas for Charity’s wedding in August and we saw these and loved them,” Debbie explains. “We would have had to rent one from across the country and pay all the extra shipping for the 100 pound fountains.” They decided to start their own business and offer the fountains locally because they thought everyone else would be as excited about them as they were. “Since we live in a rural area here on the North Olympic Peninsula, there are not a lot of really unique items,” explained Christine. “We saw the need and no one was filling it in our area.”
They researched for weeks, reading everything they could find on the fountains including the high cost ($4000 for a medium-sized fountain). They looked at wedding websites for brides’ reactions to the fountains and read reviews from brides who have used them. The chocolate fountains seemed like the perfect item to provide the elegance and unique qualities they were looking for. Judging from the excitement of friends and family as they heard about the warm flowing chocolate fountains, they decided to purchase one and expand their current business since the fountains usually rent out in weekends for weddings. “This was another way to supplement our incomes and branch our entrepreneurial sprits into another direction while still running our weekday cleaning business,” Debbie explained. “We volunteered for several large charity events, most recently, the Sequim Kids Irrigation Festival event, and as word of the fountains spread, our local papers did some wonderful stories.”
“The closest company offering the fountains is three hours from here, and they wouldn’t do events on the Peninsula that required taking the ferry”, Christine said. “We offer our services across the water and take the ferry to all events over 60 miles from home.
“We provide services that many other fountain companies are not providing,” Debbie added. Our competition drops off the fountain and comes back later to pick it up: we offer two fountain attendants to assist the guests and keep items refilled as well as keeping the table tidy and items stocked. We also offer to drape the table in satin fabric to accent the wedding colors all at no additional fee. We want to offer our clients more for their money.”
Debbie and Christine say they enjoy being entrepreneurs and expressing their creativity in their presentations. “We enjoy being able to donate it for some large charity events that have benefited to community such as the Boys and Girls Club as well as the Olympic Memorial Hospital foundations,” Debbie explains. “We have found that once people see them they are completely in awe and really excited. Everywhere we have appeared, we gather a crowd.”
Rental includes 20 pounds of chocolate, which serves 100 people. With the addition of extra chocolate during the event, they can serve unlimited amounts of people as they did at the Seattle Bridal Show, where there were almost 8,000 people in attendance. Caterers can provide the dipping items or Debbie and Christine can provide them, depending on the rules of the client’s venue. An Elegant Touch Chocolate Fountains special-orders Guittards chocolate - an excellent quality Belgian chocolate.
“The fountains add a touch of elegance and class to your reception or special event, with a choice of white, milk or dark chocolate,” explains Debbie. “Imagine your guests arriving to the sight and aroma of a warm flowing cascading of chocolate, surrounded by an abundance of fruits, berries and other goodies.”
An Elegant Touch Chocolate Fountains presents their new product as a very unique and interactive addition to any wedding reception as well as birthday parties trade shows, grand openings and other special events.
An excellent icebreaker, a popular use for the fountains is to combine it with the appetizer portion of the reception; it’s a very interactive fun activity for the guests while they await the arrival of bride and groom. “It is a great way to get people up out of their seats and getting to know each other,” says Debbie. “Some brides have chosen to use them as a replacement for the traditional cake considering them the ‘new wedding cake.’ Guests are able to dip strawberries as well as many other fruits, cookies, angle food cake and other goodies.”
“It definitely adds the ‘wow’ factor to any reception and leaves your guests with an impression they are sure to be talking about long after your wedding,” adds Christine.
As a ‘family’ business, husbands Scott and Robert help out with the business, with photography of events, helping to design and make brochures and business cards, packing for events and cleaning up afterwards - and keeping things running smoothly at home when Debbie and Christine are traveling to out-of-town events and handling their wedding rental business. The 16-year-old girls help out with the continuing cleaning business, and look forward to getting involved with An Elegant Chocolate Fountains business, as well.
Past events include the Seattle Bridal Show where over 7800 people attended. “Our booth was absolutely packed the entire two days; we had so much interest in our fountains that people were booking right on the spot,” Debbie said. A week later they appeared at a local bridal fair and again were the buzz of the show. “People came just to see what this fountain was all about. We watched as jaws dropped at both events as people realize what they are seeing. They can’t wait to try a dip or two!” Christine said.
After looking for unique wedding items for daughter Charity and finding most of rentals available locally to be the same ones that were around when we both got married 25 years ago, the two entrepreneurs decided to concentrate on the decorative items needed for weddings and special events, and started up Elegant Touch Wedding Rentals.
Although weddings are the largest part of their business, there are many other uses for it. They will be setting up two fountains for the Seattle Pacific Science Center this weekend for an "Everyone Loves Chocolate” event. “ We expect this to be a big hit,” said Christine. “It shows the versatility of the fountains - from a completely elegant setting with silver trays and satin to a construction site for a child’s birthday party.”
To book an event or learn more, call (360) 681-4277 or 1-877-681-4277 (toll free) or check out their website at www.elegantchocolatefountains.com.