andSons Chocolatiers is a 2nd-generation Beverly Hills chocolatier. Led by two brothers, Phil and Marc Covitz, who were born into fine chocolate, andSons Chocolatiers combine the time-honored techniques of their European past with the inspiration and creativity of their Los Angeles roots. In this interview, FCIA is joined by Phil Covitz, one of the andSons Chocolatiers owners.
Can you tell us about andSons, how you began your business, and about your product lines and demos?
Phil Covitz: Conceived by two brothers, andSons Chocolatiers was founded in 2019. Although it is a new brand, andSons is an evolution of a business started by Mom. Originally established in 1983 as a retailer partner of teuscher chocolates of Switzerland, for nearly 40 years our Beverly Hills location had been known for fine European chocolate. Seeing that customers’ tastes and needs had changed over time and that Europe was no longer the sole domain of fine chocolate, the brothers parted ways with teuscher chocolates after taking over their mom’s business. Today, as chocolatiers, we make our own products that reflect our CA roots and a modern approach to confections. Assembling an experienced team, we tapped Chef Kriss Harvery to lead our kitchen and sought to tell our story with chocolate. Linking our past and our future, we offer classic enrobed bonbons, modern molded pieces, panned items and barres.
Beverly Hills is a high-end market. How would you describe your customer preferences and demographics?
Phil Covitz: While Beverly Hills is a high-end market, and a large part of our DNA, our customer base really extends beyond our market. (In fact it’s safe to say we have more customers outside Los Angeles than locally.) Regardless of their location, our customers are interested in experiencing the best in fine confections, plain and simple. While each customer may have different preferences, we believe they’re united in purchasing chocolate that is made to a high standard employing passion, consideration and high-quality ingredients. Hailing from a city filled with excellent dining and hospitality, we know our customers also want to be transported and inspired. The type of people we sell to include foodies, chocolate connoisseurs and luxury gift givers.
A February 2021 FCIA survey revealed that a majority of respondents are better off than they were the previous year. They are investing more in online sales platforms, advertising and product development. The survey also suggests that there is a sense of optimism for the year ahead. Are these findings consistent or different from andSons perspective?
Phil Covitz: We’ve experienced growth this past year and are encouraged by the future. However it’s not easy for us to look back and compare apples to apples. Twenty-twenty was only our second year operating andSons, and at the time COVID closedowns were enforced (March 2020), we had only one year of retail sales and four months of web sales under our belt. We were very much still in the process of getting things off the ground when the big shifts occurred.
How have your sales changed over the past year and what trends do you see in the future for your retail store and online platform?
Phil Covitz: As previously mentioned, our sales data for andSons only goes back to 2019 and unfortunately comparing it to our teuscher days is hard because that was a well-established business that worked in different ways. However we definitely see more growth in online sales in the coming years and this will be our main focus. On the retail side, Los Angeles was hit pretty hard by the pandemic. Indoor dining only opened about two weeks ago and most schools still operate only online. Specifically for us in Beverly Hills, the majority of our regulars worked in the neighborhood. They have not returned to their offices and their future is unknown so our retail outlook is a big question mark at this moment.
What are the greatest two or three benefits FCIA can provide to your business?
Phil Covitz: From a community point of view, we’ve enjoyed the FCIA webinars that have connected us with fellow chocolatiers and chocolate makers. More of those are always welcome. As a business resource, we’ve taken advantage of some of the vendor introductions. They have been very useful and it helps us rethink how we do things. Continuing to develop more of these relationships would be appreciated. Lastly, getting the word out to inform and educate consumers about fine chocolate and fine cacao is an immeasurable benefit. Each and every conversation people have about fine chocolate is a small drip into the bucket that eventually will spill over. To that end, seeing Make Mine Fine come to life has been great and we’re hoping for a “Make Mine Fine Pop Up” in the near future!
To our fellow FCIA members, if you’re ever in Los Angeles, please come say hi!