January 30th, 2012 By Jack Morton
I heard a great story this morning on Marketplace about a British chocolate maker, Hotel Chocolat. They needed capital to expand, but had little hopes of closing a deal in the current European economic environment. So instead, they contacted their list of over 100,000 mail order customers with a proposition: loan us $3,000 and we’ll pay you 6 boxes of chocolate each year as interest. That works out to about 7% interest based on the retail price of the chocolate, but of course, it costs the company a lot less. So far, they’ve raised $7 million.
Creative financial move, but I think it’s even better as a brand experience. It’s authentic, transparent, gives its best customers a chance to literally invest in the brand — oh, and it’s buzz-worthy.