When is the last time you invested in your education? As an owner of a business it is easy to ignore learning opportunities and get lost in the details as you scramble to complete daily tasks before the sun sets. It is easy to make the budget decision not to invest in education, because something else is more important or pressing. Despite these beliefs, many would argue education is the best investment you can make in yourself, your team and your business.
Education comes in all different formats; print, online resources and webinars, seminars and workshops, certifications and courses and even in-person meetings such as trade shows or local networking events. You can purchase a new book on candy making () or subscribe to industry-related publications like and . You don’t have to read everything, but pick content that you find useful and relevant to your business.
In case you’re not already familiar, education is deeply rooted in Retail Confectioners International’s (RCI) mission, which is to advance the confectionery industry by offering members the knowledge to build sweet businesses from entrepreneurial passion. For over 100 years, RCI has developed a reputation as a valuable resource for small business owners both established and new to the industry. Through our member-exclusive publication, Kettle Talk, web resources, regional conferences, annual convention and expo, as well as education courses, we give confectioners the opportunity to take time out and focus on their knowledge of the industry and learn from others. With that said, we’re thrilled to share our month-by-month lineup of 2019 events, each designed to help you expand your knowledge to build an even sweeter business.
JANUARY: WINTER GETAWAY
RCI will kick off the new year by hosting a sold-out group of confectioners in Costa Rica for our Winter Getaway in January. Attendees will have the opportunity to unwind from the hectic holiday season while gaining valuable insight of their craft while exploring the origin or chocolate at local cacao plantations on this unforgettable trip. This event is currently sold out.
Following Valentine’s Day, candy makers are invited to attend RCI’s Truffles+More education course at Savage Bros. Co. in Elk Grove Village, Illinois (near Chicago). Join us to learn various formulations and trouble-shooting techniques for truffles, meltaways and nut pastes. In addition to classroom-style learning, gain hands-on experience in the kitchen making variations of these popular confections. Space is very limited, so register now at . If you’re looking to elevate your candy making skills (or those of your staff), this is the course for you!
JUNE: ANNUAL CONVENTION & INDUSTRY EXPO
RCI’s Annual Convention & Industry Expo is our premier event of the year! If you’ve never attended an RCI event or if you haven’t been recently, our annual convention is like a mixtape of RCI’s greatest hits all in one! Connect with fellow candy makers, chocolatiers and suppliers looking to share ideas and grow their businesses at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, Connecticut June 3-7. See, touch and (in many cases) taste the latest and greatest equipment, ingredients, packaging and services (and more!) our trusted network of industry suppliers has to offer at our two-day expo. If it’s education your seeking, you can expect relevant sessions on topics covering production, marketing and business, all designed for the retail confectioner. RCI will conclude the week with behind-the-scenes tours of local candy businesses, which takes education to the next level. Look for more event details to come after the start of the new year. to receive notification when registration opens.
AUGUST: CHOCOLATE BOOT CAMP & FALL REGIONAL CONFERENCE
The ever-popular Chocolate Boot Camp® course, which typically takes place in February, will now be available during the summer. Make your way to Wockenfuss Candies, in Baltimore, Maryland on August 5-8 for this brief yet, comprehensive, hands-on course taught by industry experts. Sold out for the last eight years, the course will give twenty-five students an opportunity to gain knowledge they can take back to their businesses. This course is great for both veterans and newcomers alike.
RCI is headed to Music City for its Fall Regional Conference in Nashville, Tennessee August 19-21. Here you can find a great mix of education and connection opportunities, combined with fun, local flair that can only be found in Nashville! Experience the sweet side of Nashville by touring local candy businesses, like The Goo Goo Shop, home of the iconic Goo Goo Clusters. Visit retailconfectioners.org/events for updates on all RCI’s upcoming event updates.
Don’t skip another year without investing in yourself and your business. Take advantage of the many industry-related events; attend a conference, send an employee to one of the upcoming RCI education courses, join RCI in Hartford or Nashville and connect with fellow candy makers. Focus on learning this year and watch your business benefit as a result. We hope to see you in 2019!