Women building their own businesses and lives in Craft Chocolate Part 2: Emily Packer-Koons
My own curiosity for what makes a sustainable craft chocolate business (across the supply chain) and my dream chocolate shop have inspired me to profile some of the #womeninchocolate and their entrepreneurial journeys. My first interview of the series with Lauren Heineck of WKND Chocolate was so well received I am grateful and motivated to keep going so thank you for reading! Here is part two of the series.
There is a kinship between #womeninchocolate. I don’t know how to explain it exactly. The common fascination for cacao and craft chocolate brings us together. I have befriended more women through chocolate than in any another aspect of my life. Can you relate? The next guest in my blog series I have never met in person. Thanks to the internet we connected on Instagram. Despite living in two different parts of the country I really admire Emily’s dedication to create a business with her husband around their love for chocolate. She is a talented musician and photographer turned chocolate reviewer-retailer-and most recently, maker. Cacao Review’s style for taking a deep dive in a craft chocolate maker’s process and bar is painstakingly thoughtful and eye catching. Two years ago they created the Limited Chocolate Box Collection. This labor of love project takes exclusive limited bars by highly recognized craft chocolate companies from all over the world. I was so impressed with the first edition that I pre-ordered the second one from their crowdfunding campaign. The packaging and design is impeccable and worth every penny of the $120 price tag. The box contains 5 bars, a drinking chocolate, a custom collector’s pin, a collector’s print, and a collector’s booklet with the stories behind each bar. You can learn more about Emily and the inspiration for the Limited Edition Box in Lauren’s Well Tempered Podcast episode. While working on the second edition they fell into chocolate making when one of the craft chocolate companies was no longer able to contribute a bar. Talk about taking a leap of faith. Chocolate making is not for the faint of heart as so many things can go wrong. Regardless, they succeeded with some help from other makers and the bar is delicious. You just never know! I admire her commitment to succeed and elevate the retail experience for craft chocolate. I hope you enjoy reading Emily’s response to my interview questions.
Emily Packer-Koons co-founder of Cacao Review and creator of the Limited Chocolate Box
Here are the questions I asked:
Why did you choose to start a business in craft chocolate?
I was looking for something to do after my music career slowed down due to an injury preventing me from touring. My husband and I were passionate about fine chocolate and were heavily immersed in the chocolate culture in Utah. I decided to start an instagram to do weekly reviews and photographs of chocolate. It just took off from there.
What is your “mojo” that keeps you going?
Community and new releases from my favorite makers. The chocolate friends and community rooting for us and wanting for us to release content and to continue our collections definitely keeps me going. Also, there are times that I’m exhausted and don’t want to do reviews anymore but when new bars get released by my favorite makers I get the spark again to keep at it.
What does success look like for you?
Success for me has always been about being creative, having the ability to express myself, and be happy in what I’m doing. If no one was paying attention, that wouldn’t matter. And if money was never coming in, that wouldn’t matter. But if I am fulfilled in my work every day, then I am successful.
What is your vision for the future of craft chocolate?
My vision for the future of craft chocolate - I’d like it to slow down and be more thoughtful. Right now it’s trending and everyone is making chocolate, companies are popping up everywhere, many before their chocolate is really edible. I’d love to see more reverence and respect to the cacao. I also know that more knowledge will come to us in time in regards to fermentation and the science of cacao, which I think means that chocolate can only get better if we do it right. I’m looking forward to that.
What chocolate best describes you?
If I could describe myself as a chocolate it would be an interesting single-origin dark with both bold and delicate flavors. The more you get to know the chocolate, the more interesting it becomes as the flavors change and develop, surprising you with what you discover. I have many layers, Anelisa. Ha ha.