October is a special month to me – my birth month. At this time of year, I always feel the pull towards self-reflection and reevaluation of my goals and purpose. It is a time in which I recommit and align my actions with my innermost desires and vision. This year I am grateful for the path I have taken with Chocology. It brings joy, connection and fun into my life. This is why I’d like to share with all of you why I do what I do.
No. 1: I love seeing people smile
Everyone LOVES chocolate! It is such a blessing to have the opportunity to work with people who are happy and enjoying themselves. I love helping our clients choose the perfect gift, dessert for a special event or wedding favors. People are happy when they talk chocolate and this makes me happy as well. Madeline always says, “We meet the best people!” and she’s right. We are fortunate to cross paths with people in their finest moments.
No. 2: I’m good at it!
Being the Managing Director of my own company allows me to utilize all of my gifts and talents. Strong work ethic, good communication skills and a love of people are key ingredient's to running a successful business. Do what you love and you never work a day of your life! That is our philosophy and it’s worked well for us at Chocology. I love what I do every single day and am able to thrive because of this philosophy!
No. 3: I get to do it with my family!
One of the greatest gifts I feel I can give to my daughter is to show her that when you set a goal it can be achieved through hard work, a good attitude and perseverance. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to model for my daughter that your dreams can come true! Not everyone has the privilege of working with family. Recently David is able to join us more and more on our chocolate adventures! We never know what is around the corner, but together we get the job done – ALWAYS!
No. 4: Every Day is Different
I love different! It’s so easy to get stuck in the humdrum of day-to-day life. At Chocology, each day is diversified. One day we’re working with children on a Chocology Kids project and the next we’re working with the senior’s community. We might go to a corporate meeting to serve fudge and then head out to plan a wedding or work on one of the various festivals that we attend. There’s always something new and fresh to keep us motivated and excited.
No. 5: Giving Back to our World
From the very beginning it was important to me to give back. I feel so blessed to live a happy and joyful life. Giving a little of that back makes me even happier. I don’t work for a non-profit however I sure can support them. And that’s what we do, plain and simple. Not only to we glean joy from helping our non-profits with monetary donations, we love doing simple acts of kindness. I just love it when parents allow their children to come by our Farmers Market booth to make purchases by themselves. The parents have realized that we take those children under our wings and feel blessed to have them as customers too. Kids are the best at “the art of tasting” and we love seeing them take it so seriously. We love giving our money, our smiles and our compassion to everyone that we meet!
No. 6: I Get to Travel
If you’ve read our blog, you know I love to travel. I love going new places and being the owner of Chocology provides that travel outlet for me. Whether it’s driving to the East End, traveling on the ferry across the Long Island Sound to make deliveries in Connecticut or going cross-country to deliver a check to one of our non-profits, the opportunity to travel keeps life interesting and new every single day.
No 7: It provides Freedom and Autonomy
Most people think that when you own your own business, you get to set your own hours. This is not exactly true. I make myself available to my clients therefore my hours are dictated by the need. However, I do have the flexibility to use creativity to get a job done well and efficiently. People often ask, “How do you manage balance in your life?” My answer: “I don’t. I integrate.” Being with my daughter Madeline and my husband David is very important to me. We’ve learned to integrate our time together as a family while enjoying running the business. And I not only get to be with my daughter while homeschooling, I get to teach her about having a career that you love and doing it with a joyful heart.
No. 8: I can do it all!
Admittedly, I will welcome the day when our growth allows for more employees and my position will be more of a leadership role. For now, I get the opportunity to run the business both from the front and back end. Creativity, New Products, Website, Social Media, New Client visits, special events – these are the things I love. Bookkeeping – Not so much! Luckily, I love developing both sides of my brain; Analytical and Creative. There are so many facets of my personality and they serve me well in running the business. I need to switch hats quickly from planning and creative thinking to one of analytical and business-minded thinking. One day soon there will be others that can help, but for now I love the constant shifting and maneuvering that my business demands of me.
Overall, the message is that I am so grateful for my life as the owner and Managing Director of Chocology. I feel blessed to come across so many wonderful people out in the world. I love making people happy! The smiles I get to see are the icing on the cake! I love my life and thank all of those that have helped me live out my dream of running a family business.
Often times I’m asked, “How did Chocology come about? What made you want to work in chocolate?”
I’d love to say, I’ve dreamed of becoming a chocolatier since I was a babe. I’m afraid my story is a bit more meandering than that, though.
While I loved working in the kitchen with my mom as a girl, the thought of working professionally with chocolate never crossed my mind. I was a late bloomer and marched to the beat of a different drum than most. I was late by most standards to marriage; late to motherhood. But one thing that was always apparent was my desire to help people. To make them feel good about themselves and the world. My joy was to bring a different perspective to those around me and to make the world a little brighter; A little sparklier; A little more fun.
When I started out in the corporate world, I rarely had a traditional position. My desire to help people must have been evident. My employers always knew I genuinely cared and would do the job well. I was the first Senior Customer Service Representative at Sprint and when I moved into sales, was the number one sales representative in revenue retention. I like to think that my success was attributed to my desire to bring great customer service to the table every single day.
After I married and had my daughter my job became being a full time mom. It’s the best job I’ve ever had! My quirkiness and ability to see different perspectives led me to homeschool Madeline, our Chief Creative Director here at Chocology. Bringing joy and fun into her life was now my dream and vocation.
My fathers passing in 2007 had a deeply profound affect on the way I see life and pushed me to look at life from a different perspective yet again. I realized that I had something in me that wanted to be born into the world. But what?
As much as I’d loved the corporate world, it didn’t align with my vision of being a homeschooling mom and I wasn’t willing to give that up. So I began making lists of the things I loved doing, things that even if I never earned money from, were important to me and would give me a sense of making a difference in the world.
What surfaced for me over and over again were my love of family, travel and volunteer work. I was doing these things to some degree, of course, but my heart was yearning for more. Could I take these desires and maximize them to create the life that I was yearning for?
In 2011, I packed Madeline up in the car and we traveled cross-country to meet and interview people who inspired us. We met authors, philanthropist, and others who had made a positive impact on our lives. I still didn’t know what I wanted to do “when I grew up” but was open and willing for something to be revealed.
The road trips became a thing with Madeline and I. We took another one in 2013 to meet several of Madeline’s online friends across the country. And in 2014, it hit me. I love bringing joy to others. Madeline loves chocolate and so do I. Heck, doesn’t everyone? Let’s start a chocolate company!
The rest is history I guess you could say. We boarded a plane immediately for Belgium in early 2014, to go study chocolate from the greatest. It was a great education for Madeline and a great bonding period for both of us. I became a professional chocolatier through classes with Ecole Chocolat and then launched Chocology in September 2014.
Chocology is a blend of all of my past experiences. We value seeing things from different perspectives, promoting education, building strong and lasting relationships, extending kindness and giving back. This way of doing business was built upon the past accumulation of all of the things that were most important to me. And Madeline has been right by my side the entire way. It is my pleasure to serve people through chocolate. Chocolate has a way of bringing the best out in everyone.
When I think about why I love what I do so much, it has nothing to do with the end result. It’s the people we meet along the way, who all have a story. As Madeline often says, “Mama, we meet the best people!” And she is right. We do.
Dreams don’t come true in a day. Sometimes not in a week or even years. My wish is that my story will inspire others to stay true to themselves and keep digging to find that one thing that lights them up. I sure did and am excited to be on this chocolate covered adventure with YOU!
A few mantras I have adopted to help me along the way. Perhaps they’ll become yours as well.
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
I am paid in proportion to the amount of service I am to you.
When the student is ready, the teacher appears.
~ Linda Johnson, Managing Director of Chocology