Spotlight: Oh Fuudge
Join us as we talk with Kelli Arendt, the owner of Oh Fuudge, to learn about how she got her unique business off the ground here in Cleveland, Ohio.
How did your business get its start?
I wanted a hot fudge sundae that wasn’t disappointing. Usually, hot fudge is a chocolate scented concoction of mostly corn syrup and that doesn’t cut it for a chocolate snob. So I made my own Fudge sauce. The first batch was vanilla and bourbon, it was delicious so I started playing with variations using other bottles from my liquor cabinet; peppermint schnapps, grand mariner, port wine… And I took them to a craft show where I thought having chocolate at my table would get people to buy my art.
Well, that didn’t work, but they bought the fudge so I decided to take it seriously and switch to local booze and fair trade ingredients. CLE Urban Winery’s owner encouraged me and gave me a bottle of wine with orders to bring her samples.
After that, I reached out to Cleveland Whiskey and Butcher and Brewer to see if they would be willing to collaborate as well and both said yes. So I joined the Cleveland Culinary Launch because I knew I needed a commercial space in which to produce, and I signed up for an incubator program for my business (because I am terrible at that stuff!)
After I signed up for some chocolate and wine events before Valentine’s day, thinking I’d make a few bucks and it would be an easy going side project… then Cleveland.com added OhFuudge to a list of where to get local chocolate for your valentine, but I hadn’t even produced anything yet!
It all snowballed from there. I started producing and doing markets all over town!
What makes Oh Fuudge so unique?
Well, there’s nothing quite like Oh Fuudge out there. It’s made with Fair Trade ingredients and is vegan, free of dairy, soy, and anything artificial So it’s something that far more of us can enjoy!
They’re sauces and spreads, cocktail mixers, hot cocoa, you can use it for so many chocolatey purposes. It’s immensely versatile and I’ve got a whole pile of flavor ideas up my sleeve still.
How long have you been in business?
Officially, I started in January.
What does Keep It Local Cleveland mean to you?
It has been immensely helpful in finding other great businesses to work with and I really enjoy hanging out with the folks I’ve met by attending the events. It also really helps that when I do have my act together enough to remember to share content, Keep it Local always helps to spread the word and get people out to events.
What do you like best about working in Cleveland?
The food community here is so collaborative and supportive. Everyone just wants to try everyone else’s delicious ideas and creations so they encourage you to keep going and offer help where it’s applicable. It’s pretty fabulous we’re in a great city!
Are there any details about your business that you want everyone to know?
Doing Good Tastes Better. Many people don’t know what Fair Trade really means. And I am passionate about educating them without (hopefully being preachy) It simply means that every PERSON who works to produce/grow the ingredients in Oh Fuudge makes a fair wage for it. That means the cocoa, sugar, and vanilla farmers can send their children to school rather than make them work to help support the family. They can live a comfortable and safe life, as they should!
What do you like most about your job?
I love making delicious treats and sharing them. And it keeps me motivated, knowing I’m making a difference with Oh Fuudge. I use fair trade (ethically produced) and sustainably grown ingredients whenever possible, and the companies I’ve partnered with are socially and ecologically conscious as well.
Are you offering any special services right now?
I always offer FREE samples at any and all markets and events when I’m vending and I’ll be serving up customizable hot cocoa made with your favorite Oh Fuudge and choice of coconut or dairy milk.