The power of discovering yourself through your business
by Galia Orme, Founder CHOC Chick https://chocchick.com/
I’m always amazed when I think about the person I was before I set up my business CHOC Chick 11 years ago. I was in my early 40’s, 10kg heavier, in a difficult marriage, the mother of two young daughters and juggling family life with a stressful career I wasn’t particularly passionate about. I was simply trapped, living in fear that I would lose everything and always trying to please everyone.
When I started my cacao business, it was initially a way to spend more time at home with my daughters, establish a better ‘work life balance’ and create something in an area I’ve always loved…chocolate. I had no experience in retail, knew very little about the cocoa industry or chocolate making. All I knew was that I loved chocolate and that I wanted to do things differently. I wanted to create a company that was ethical, with no exploitation of people in the supply chain or of the environment and I also wanted to find a way to make chocolate healthier.
In 2008 I had discovered how to make raw chocolate, from pure cocoa ingredients and was amazed by how simple it was to make chocolate at home. Making chocolate yourself using raw cacao ingredients enables anyone who loves chocolate to make chocolates that are lower in sugar, with no artificial or processed ingredients and higher in antioxidant flavanols, magnesium and all the natural goodness of the cocoa bean. So, by 2009, I had developed lots of recipes, sourced the ingredients ethically from cooperatives in Ecuador and created a raw chocolate making kit with everything you need to make healthier chocolate. My business was up and running and I gave myself a year to see if I could make it work.
That was to be the start of a new me and a new life. I found the courage to leave my unhappy marriage and the strength and determination to take care of my daughters on my own. I sometimes look back and don’t really know how I did it. I had no money, but I always found a way. I rented rooms in my house to students, I did some freelance work and lived on a tight budget. Despite the lack of money my daughters and I were happy, there was a lot of music, laughter and chocolate making in my home and I was free.
My life has been enriched and has expanded more than I could have ever imagined. I have learned so much over the years. I am so fortunate to travel and meet so many incredible people thanks to my business. I’ve travelled throughout Ecuador and Peru, discovering cocoa plantations, farming cooperatives and learning as much as possible about cacao and sustainability. I’ve developed the most wonderful friendships and relationships with the cocoa farmers I source from as well as with the retail buyers I work with and the lovely customers who enjoy my cacao products. CHOC Chick products are now available at Holland and Barrett, Whole Foods Market, John Lewis Food Halls, TK Maxx, Asda, Infinity Foods, Jones the Grocer, hundreds of independent health food stores worldwide and online on Amazon and chocchick.com.
I learned so much about myself, I gained confidence, made many mistakes (and continue to make many mistakes!) and went through many challenging experiences. It’s a rollercoaster ride running a business, but I still manage to overcome the challenges and carry on stronger.
Setting up my business was the first time I did something just for me. It was the first time I didn’t worry or plan everything, and it was the first time I wasn’t fearful. I just knew I had to try. Most importantly, I allowed myself to grow and learn, to focus on what’s most fulfilling for me and discover who I truly am and what I am capable of.
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