The Bom: About More Than Chocolate


Valentine’s Day is coming and, sure, chocolate is the cliché fallback gift of the unimaginative. But when we’re talking about The Bom, all accusations of laziness will be forgiven. The Bom makes custom chocolate molds (maybe not in time for Valentine’s Day this year, but anytime), liquor-flavored chocolate truffles, and a wide variety of alcohol-free chocolate goodies, including their newest product, Chocolate Puppy Bouquets. The Bom also hosts chocolate truffle-making parties. I met with Carolina Martin, founder of the Bom, at a street fair last summer, and have been thinking about the sample Kahlua truffle I tasted ever since. But beyond just making delicious chocolate (as if that’s not good enough), this local business does good. I reached out recently to learn more about the business.

GeekMom:
Tell me about the company’s history, its founding, its mission.
Carolina Martin:
So glad that you asked. We’re so blessed. I’m the daughter of two practicing Artists here in Cleveland. Poor as church mice, financially, but rich beyond words. My mom was a watercolorist and a writer, Charlet First, and my dad was a muralist, known as the “Michelangelo of Cleveland” for his countless murals at places like the Agora, Pete’s Wayside Inn, Captain Franks, etc. From the beginning, I had a deep-rooted passion and love for the arts and for the creative process. Since learning was also a priority in our home, as an adult, I found that one of my passions was to teach, and I went on to pursue my degrees from CWRU and the Cleveland Institute of Art in Art Education, and then continued, to earn my Masters in Education at CSU.

It was during my education that I found the path to one of my passions. During my education, I had the honor to be trained by some of the best in our area, Mickey McGraw, the pioneer of Art Therapy in our region. I worked as a Child Life Specialist, then went on to manage a general surgical practice, and ultimately to manage a Group Home.

During the last six years of that period of my life, my mom fought lung cancer. My son and I were with her as she took her last breath, and we turned to each other and vowed to use our blessings to the best of our abilities. I quit my job and began Art on Wheels, a traveling art education program, delivering the creative process to people with and without disabilities. It was as if, during all those years working with people, I was learning what was really cherished by the people we served. To be able to participate in the creative process and enjoy life with others in classes and workshops was at the top of their lists.

And, since most of the people with whom I worked couldn’t get out to go to an art workshop, we decided to take it to them. That’s how Art on Wheels was born.

Today, we call ourselves Imprint. The base of our business is still hands-on art activities, but in response to our students, we now have several branches of Imprint. We have a branch called Wedding Sitters where we go out to weddings and receptions, taking hands-on experiences for the children to have fun. We have a developing branch that’s focused on having fun with animals. And, we have our awesomely sweet branch known as The Bom. Since all of our services are part of our main business, Imprint, the parties scheduled through The Bom, and all purchases through The Bom, help us to pay for everything needed to continue our workshops and classes in Group Homes, centers for people with disabilities, nursing homes, etc.

GeekMom:
That’s pretty neat. Now, on to the chocolate. Is there some secret recipe, some special formula that makes your chocolates taste so good? Or can’t you divulge that?
Carolina Martin:
We do have our own recipe that we’ve developed over time which we don’t share. We do label our ingredients on the packages, but we don’t share the amounts, etc. Since I’m a teacher, we also show everyone how to make them at our Chocolate Truffle Making Parties. They’re so much fun!
GeekMom:
Tell me more about the Truffle Making Parties.
Carolina Martin:
This is one of my greatest loves: teaching. We bring everything for the group of guests to make and take home approximately twenty chocolate truffles (except the alcohol, juice, coffee, tea, etc). Each guest brings 1/4 cup of whatever liquid they would like to use for flavor. They’re so easy to make that our six-year-old grandson makes them (with juice).

We typically go in for one of our public parties on a day when it’s slow for the establishment. It helps them since we bring in new people who purchase spirits and food from them and often become repeat customers. We also do private truffle making parties which are perfect for adult events (Girl’s Night Out, Birthdays, Wedding Showers, Book Clubs, Corporate Team Building Events, etc). When someone books a party, we make it very easy. We send a link to the Hostess which they share with their guests to hop on to pay and reserve their seat. Then we bring everything to the party for the guests to make and take home 20 yummy truffles each. We also have such a fun time bringing truffle making parties to kids! They make them with juice or soda. It’s a great way for them to learn measurements, collaboration, working with food, making gifts, etc.

GeekMom:
Between the truffles, the parties, and the custom molds, which is the biggest part of your business?
Carolina Martin:
Our Truffle Making Parties make up the biggest part of our business, as is our goal. Our custom designed Chocolate Candy Bars are extremely popular also. They’re used a lot for fundraisers, weddings, and gifts.
GeekMom:
What are your goals for this company? What’s next?
Carolina Martin:
Our goal is to expand our Truffle Making Parties. We’re working to do this through our local efforts, through our Reps in various regions of the USA, AND through our Parties Online! It’s so easy to book a party online. We ship a Truffle Making kit for each guest at our long distance party and then simply use our Distance Learning experience and Skype or Google Plus to guide our guests in their truffle making fun.
GeekMom:
According to your website, you’ve got reps in nine different states. These are all Truffle-Making Party hosts?
Carolina Martin:
Yes, We have Reps for The Bom who deliver Chocolate Truffle Making Parties in other cities and states throughout the U.S.A. We’re searching for additional Reps. Interested people, please contact Carolina Martin at 216-941-7643 or carolina@thebom.us.
GeekMom:
What’s your favorite part of this business? The most rewarding?
Carolina Martin:
In my soul, I love to teach. Everyone has many blessings, that’s one of mine. It brings me pure joy!
GeekMom:
Are there any events coming up where folks can sample and buy your truffles?
Carolina Martin:
You can always find our Truffles online through our website. We also participate in many shows and markets with our truffles, marketing our parties. Our public events can always be found on our Facebook Event page for The Bom. Hope you’ll come by and taste our sweet treats at The Bom this month at one of the following awesome February events:

Sat. 2/11 10am-6pm @ Lake Affect Studios, Cleveland Bazaar Valentine Show
Sun, 2/12 11am-5pm @ Whiskey & Lake Boutique, Love Local
Fri, 2/17 5pm-10pm @ 78th Street Studios, 3rd Friday
Sat, 2/18 3pm-11pm @ Flats West Bank, Brite Winter
Wed, 2/22 6pm-9pm @ Lost Nation Sports Bar
Sat, 2/25 11am-6pm @ The Slovenian Home, Kurentovanje

And for those of you not in the Cleveland area, there’s always the website. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go find some chocolate.