Connect with us
The Hustle

Name: Melanie Bowman (Champagne Truffle Co.)

Posted By Bill DeYoung

Because artisan truffles are somewhat delicate and the risk of them getting soft or even melting during transit is greater in warm weather, January/February might be the best time of all to order a shipment from Northwest St. Pete's Champagne Truffle Co., which will deliver the chocolate delights directly to your door. Just sayin.' Melanie Bowman is co-founder of this homegrown confectionary business, and her mother, Jan Segal, is top chef and chief truffle-maker. Says Melanie on the company's website: "Thousands of children and their families embraced Jan’s singing, dancing, nurturing, and unmatched patience during her 35-year career as a Kindergarten teacher. When she said goodbye to her classroom (with bittersweet tears) to take care of her grandchildren, she relished the new opportunity to pass down her 'eat dessert first' philosophy. After all, life is short."

Years in Tampa Bay

Approximately 33

Hustle (job)

Co-founder and Director of Marketing

What do you do?  

Champagne Truffle Co. makes truffles with lots of love. We can ship or hand deliver for those in Tampa Bay. Each order arrives with our premium packaging and includes a personal note, our words or yours. While we are currently offering cookies and cream, mint, and peanut butter chocolate, our small but mighty business is able to be innovative and experiment with new flavors all the time.

Why do you do it?

Saying how we feel in our family hasn’t always been easy. We have an unspoken love language of good food, wine, and yes, lots of chocolate. In those moments when we gather in the kitchen and bake, so much gets expressed. Our number one reason for doing what we do is our love of eating indulgent foods that we want to share with the world. A close second is that we saw first-hand how this very unique gift can help grow a small business. After selling our home care business in 2017, we still have referral sources calling to ask about our truffles.

What was your Catalyst? (How did you get started?)

My mom, head baker at The Champagne Truffle Co., has inspired multiple generations by helping to develop a love of baking and chocolate in all of us. Our family puts a premium on starting traditions, and mastering the art of self-care through baking. One holiday season, after having excess inventory of truffles, my husband began gifting our chocolates to his clients. Almost instantaneously, we were bombarded with requests to purchase our product. The excitement of the overwhelming response, coupled with my family’s interest and vision to start a business, allowed for the perfect catalyst to start The Champagne Truffle Co.

What’s a common misconception or unknown aspect of what you do?

The flavor profile of our truffle can be perceived as simplistic. They melt in your mouth and everyone swoons over them, but often times people assume they know the ingredients. The process to make our truffle is actually very complex. People often times incorrectly assume they are easy to replicate. Unless you know how to do it, it’s impossible. Don’t try these at home.

What’s the most challenging part of your Hustle?

Building a luxury/high-end brand through social media.

What’s the most valuable piece of business advice/insight that’s helped you?

I’m married to a business coach who is passionate about growing small businesses. So, luckily, I’m getting valuable pieces of business advice all the time. The number one principle that helped The Champagne Truffle Co., was taking the time to create an accountability chart. Developing clarity on each of our roles within the company, has allowed the leadership team to efficiently and respectfully hold each other accountable in a manner that is open and honest. This structure and organization allows us to compartmentalize the “to-do” list, making each person’s responsibilities seem less daunting and more manageable.

More Hustle

The St. Pete Catalyst

The Catalyst honors its name by aggregating & curating the sparks that propel the St Pete engine.  It is a modern news platform, powered by community sourced content and augmented with directed coverage.  Bring your news, your perspective and your spark to the St Pete Catalyst and take your seat at the table.

Email us:

Subscribe for Free

Share with friend

Enter the details of the person you want to share this article with.