We are excited to share a new Artisan Profile with you today. It's the man behind a line of beautiful chocolates (he's always coming up with unique seasonal chocolates for pretty much every holiday) and chocolate bars - Brandon Busch of Lift Chocolates. Brandon is an ex-marine helicopter pilot who, over the past few years, has transitioned into running a successful Colorado chocolate brand. One interesting part of his story is that he purchased a pre-existing chocolate company, then rebranded it to Lift and slowly changed the product line to be completely his own. Fun fact - his fellow marines have nicknamed him "Candy Man" :). We hope you enjoy his story!
How did you get started? What were your first steps and how did it evolve from there?
I started making some truffles and bars in my kitchen in 2015 and 2016. In 2017, I was lucky enough to come across Concertos in Chocolate, a Boulder business for sale. (Initially, my plan was to rent commercial space and work for accounts.) Concertos had fantastic quality, and was really what I wanted to do. I purchased the business, rebranded, kept many of the products, and started offering many of my own creations.
From 2017 - 2020, our revenue was broken down into about 50% wholesale, 35% hotel amenities, and 15% direct to consumer. Since the pandemic, we have transitioned to about 70% wholesale, 20% direct to consumer, and 10% amenities.
In the future, we hope to balance at about 50-60% wholesale, and the rest DTC. Hotel amenities would be nice, but it's hard to determine what amenity needs there will be.
2. How did you come up with your name?
In the Marine Corps, I was a heavy "LIFT" helicopter pilot. That is, I flew CH-53s, a very large helicopter that specializes in sling loading below the aircraft and flying with an external load.
3. Tell us about your workspace!
I have just under 2000 sq. ft. in Gunbarrel. About 35% is dedicated to the kitchen, and the rest retail, packaging, storage, and logistics.
4. Do you have a favorite review or comment about your products?
We were very lucky to have our Holiday Penguins featured in Food Network's Holiday Gift Guide, 2020. Our Easter Bunnies were featured the following Spring, and our exclusive Williams-Sonoma 24K Gold Chocolate Eggs were just #3 in Parade online's "must have" chocolate eggs.
5. What’s your favorite product you sell?
Cherry Cordials, Chocolate Covered Strawberries, or Splitz Bars.
Editor's Note: We love the Splitz bars too - they are really unique and so delicious!
6. Are there any great local artisans that you’re into right now?
I am totally rooting for Wild Monkey Bar, here in Boulder. John and Brooke are friends, and I know they are going to be very successful.
*Editors Note: we tried these on Brandon's recommendation and they are spectacular!
7. Do you have a favorite local restaurant?
Misaki in Superior. Unfortunately, they closed because of the fires...Hopefully it will reopen very soon. I LOVE their TanTan Men...It's my favorite meal.
*Editor's Note: looks like they have reopened!
8. What’s your favorite thing about Colorado?
Having lived all over during my time in the Marine Corps, I realized that people aren't friendly or outgoing everywhere, like people are in Colorado. That has to be the best thing about our state.
Thank you so much Brandon for sharing your story with us!
You can shop all of Lift Chocolate's products on their website
, and we offer a variety of their beautiful chocolates on our site seasonally via Build A Box
If you enjoyed this blog, check out some of the other artisan profiles we've done in the past: