Zoe's Chocolate Co.
Tell us about your business.Growing up, we loved helping our father, George, a master chocolatier. It was never a chore. It was always fun. But we never dreamt of a career in chocolate. We went off to university and after finishing our studies, began our professions in nearby Washington, DC. During this time, we missed what was once commonplace in our lives: The smell of melting chocolate, the creation of bonbons, the rush from holiday excitement, and most of all, we missed making people happy. The idea began to grow for a chocolate business of our own, a place for our generation to bring modern concepts to our time-honored tradition. In 2007, we opened Zoe’s Chocolate Co. Our concept became our motto: Where time-honored tradition meets modern sophistication. People say we’ve sacrificed so much to start a small artisan business. Yes, we moved back in with our parents and didn’t take salary for 2 years, but nothing can compare to the great pleasure and pride we get every day. We love what we do.
What makes your business stand out?As 3rd generation chocolate producers, one can say that chocolate making is in our genes. We combine the best of our Mediterranean heritage with modern American sophistication to produce unique creations. Preparing for our business meant that we had to create the best and most special chocolates possible. We were no strangers to Willy Wonka. We make exceptional chocolates and we truly love what we do. Our first objective was to make sure we heard “mmmm” every time someone tasted a Zoe’s Chocolate. We started to think outside of the typical when it came to creating chocolates. We looked to our heritage and thus was born the Mediterranean Inspired Collection. No one had done anything like this before or since. We created Dionysus’ Baklava, Persephone’s Pomegranate, Orange Flower, Sesame Tahini Crunch, Greek Coffee, Aegean Pistachio…the ideas kept coming and we made them a delicious reality. We took a creative approach to give our customers today’s popular flavors in a special way.
What's the best business advice you've received?Our amazing mentor taught us to always strive for excellence. She has given us valuable advice over the years, but one bit of advice that resonated with us was: [on success] "It's about management, viable systems, coordinated efforts to accomplish something, tight controls, programs, acting on things quickly and appropriately, keeping your eyes on everything, staying on track, getting out there... and having a really good gut instinct. Success is a combination of vision and the ability to get there. Be careful...be detailed...be on schedule...and most importantly, believe in yourself."
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