Twenty-six years ago, I learned I would be a dad. I tried to look 25 years into the future. I needed more than a job; I needed to engage in a life’s work that I would enjoy, not tire of, and provide for my family. I wanted work that would shape me in a positive way.
I have the ability to taste chocolate like a sommelier tastes wine. I see flavor like a composer sees music. Unlike wine, coffee, or other acquired tastes, everyone in my focus groups could not only discern premium chocolate, they preferred premium chocolate. I decided to make the best tasting and best quality chocolate for the US consumer.
In August of 1995, I introduced the world to Chocolove. We began with 4 flavors of premium chocolate and all with declared cocoa content on the front of the wrapper. The wrapper design was inspired by a letter from abroad with a love poem printed inside.
Looking back, you might recall that premium chocolate in 1995 was an import from Europe with a high price tag. It was hard to find and often had some loss of quality due to the miles traveled and months on the shelf.
We made premium chocolate in Boulder, Colorado, with a keen focus on taste and a strong respect for the American consumer. We made the freshest, best-tasting chocolate money could buy, and we priced it right.
In 1997, two years into the endeavor, making no money and working 72 hours a week, I asked myself why was I working so hard. One night I recalled the classic counting sheep trick to go to sleep. I opted instead to count the number of people who were eating Chocolove at that moment and made happier because of Chocolove. Then I factored for the number of people who were happier that day because I went to work. This epiphany served me well; a focus on serving the customer and I continued to count happier people.
With this focus on serving and taking care of people came clarity of brand and the growth of the company. The perspective of helping people be happier through Chocolove was extended to all employees and all people in the supply chain, including cocoa farmers in Africa and around the world. Over the years, we have been forerunners and innovators on many matters. Chocolove has played a role in sharing chocolate with someone you love, rewarding oneself and others, and giving thanks. Now, 25 years in, I have retained the role of taster and of keeper-of-the-brand, and every now and then I still count the number of people made happier every day.