Pollock-esque Chocolate, UNELEFANTE
Tatiana Sánchez, founder of Unelefante:
I designed and produced jewelry and other fashion accessories for over 9 years. Ninety percent of my costumers were wholesalers and purchased under consignment. It was consuming and difficult. The truth is that mass-produced Asian products have saturated our market and very few stores are open to high-quality independent design. Fortunately, this is beginning to change, thanks to the effort of “disruptive” leaders in our design community, like La Lonja Mercantil, an independent design market.
In 2012, after having a hard time for a long time, I needed to take a break. The idea was to remake my business model and continue in the jewelry business. I needed money, so, during this “break” I needed to design something very easy to produce, that required minimum inventories and that could be sold online to the final costumer… That’s how UNELEFANTE was born. The premise was, and continues to be: to transform the ordinary into extraordinary experiences.
We’re an online gift store that offers unexpected products. Our aim is to surprise our costumers, to give them something and has the ability to generate and unforgettable experience. We’re in the business of surprising people and making them smile.
Our first product line was a collection of big round balloons (55cm) that arrived to the recipient inside a gigantic box with a personalized card. By the third month we were shipping all over México. We decided to make alliance with other local brands to offer more attractive gift sets. Theurel & Thomas, a french pastry house, was our first adventure, they transform the classic macaron into something out of this world. After this, everything was pretty obvious. I’m a chocoholic, there’s a chocolate boom around the world, and I happened to know Jorge Llanderal and his family. He’s one of the best chocolatiers in México. We design the chocolates together as a collaboration, and he makes the chocolate.
The first chocolate was “Pollock,” a 55% cocoa chocolate, hand-painted “Pollock style.” The design process came very natural… I’ve always been mesmerized by hand-crafted products, but if you’re thinking globally, you must find a way to combine specialized craftsmanship with hi-tech manufacturing processes. Also, as a producer you must always give that “something else” to your costumer. Some give big discounts, we give hand- painted packaging that end up being a unique experience. I love color, and after selling products for over 10 years, I know that people prefer colorful things— color will always “wow” us.
Our chocolate line grew fast. After Pollock, we came up with a bark bar, 65% cocoa, We named it El Jardín Secreto or “The Secret Garden.” It’s very feminine. It has crystallized flower petals, cardamom, and pieces of dry apricots and pistachios. At the moment, all of our cocoa is produced by Luker in Colombia, one of the finest in the world.
Four more bark bars were born in collaboration with Carlos Leal, the creator of Mezcal Sabios de Lua. These barks are also very unique. My personal favorite is Coco Bengala which has curry, crystallized ginger, and coconut. And one that goes very well with Mezcal is the Fray Mole, which has mole paste, chile pasilla, roasted sesame, pumpkin seeds, and sea salt. The other two are Oblea Di Oblea Da and Palanqueta.
All of our products are produced in México. Some of them are inspired by our culture. Others are inspired by things and places from all over the world. Social media has turned us all into cultural and visual DJ’s, so we must take advantage of these powerful tools and use them to create and produce locally and sell globally.
Images and words courtesy of UNELEFANTE