How a Virtual Assistant Led to Accelerated Growth
Rachel Kellner and her husband Mark own one of the oldest chocolate and confectionary shops in New York City: Aigner Chocolates. Located in Queens, the business had only two owners in its lifetime before the duo found out that it was for sale. They purchased the business in 2015 and have been focused on growing and expanding it ever since.
Mark is a pastry chef with business experience, but Rachel is new to the world of business. “I’m actually a licensed clinical social worker in drug addiction, so my line is that I used to help people abstain and now I help enable addiction,” she said.
Learning how to manage a business that’s both a manufacturer and retailer is a challenge that Rachel wasn’t hesitant to take on. “I had absolutely no experience whatsoever in food and chocolate. I know how to eat it, and I’ve learned how to sell it,” she said.
Through experience, she’s found that two of her most effective methods of success are to never go anywhere without chocolate and to hire an assistant.
Through networking and outreach, Aigner Chocolates has begun wholesaling its treats to The Hudson News stores inside the John F. Kennedy International Airport. And they’ve increased their corporate footprint—becoming a go-to for corporate gifting. However, one of the most impactful decisions they’ve made was hiring a WBN virtual assistant (VA).
“Quite frankly, what’s really allowed us to grow and expand is me having an assistant. Because I feel like I’m able to be in ten different places at once,” said Rachel. “Like right now, I’m on this call and my assistant is following up on everything. And it’s unbelievable.”
Rachel’s WBN professional,Vivian, serves as her assistant, sounding board, and biggest cheerleader. But she says one of the important things Vivian does is manage her inbox and calendar. “When you say those two things you’d think that can’t take that much time,” she said. “Every time I have a meeting, I want to be following up within an hour. Every time my corporate order goes out, I want to follow up two days after to find out how things went.” Having Vivian there to handle those tasks has improved the customer experience and freed up Rachel’s time.
“She gives me the ability to delegate the things that take a lot of energy to free me up to do the things that are going to help us grow the company,” said Rachel. “She’s given me my life back.”
Rachel and Mark rely on each other, vintage (but sturdy) chocolate-making equipment and techniques, their team, and simple technology such as Google Calendars and project management software Trello to keep the business running smoothly. And they’re extremely thankful for the help of their WBN professional to help them continue to grow their business.
Watch the full video to learn more about Aigner Chocolates and how they’ve successfully grown their business.