Next time you want to sweeten a deal, you might think about throwing in some of Victor Syrmis's products. After all, what could be sweeter than your customer's face -- or your logo -- done up in bite-size chocolate?
For $35, Chocolate Photos, in New York City, will take the photo of your choice, make a line drawing from it, create a mold, and pour 24 chocolates -- dark or milk.
Syrmis, a child psychiatrist, got the idea for his two-year-old company while trying to buy his wife a present. He says the chocolate "was originally set up as a love item -- Harry gives it to Samantha." But the company's main business now is mass-producing candy, primarily for corporate gifts, but also for weddings and other big occasions. A company introducing a surgical staple to replace sutures, for example, ordered staple guns in chocolate.
"We've had almost every conceivable photograph," says Syrmis, from ordinary people to "pets, trees, planes, transvestites, and nudity. One woman bought hundreds of chocolates of herself and her husband. Then she melted them in honor of her divorce."
Chocolate Photos isn't alone in the specialty chocolate business. Long Grove Confectionery, of Long Grove, Ill., specializes in logos, and, estimates co-owner Joel Caplan, it has sold more than a million pieces in three years, at $500 for a minimum order of 500. Meanwhile, Chocolate Photos has sold about 750,000 pieces of candy and expects to clear about $100,000 in the next six months.