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Inspiring Conversations with Brian Pelletier of Kakao Chocolate

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brian Pelletier.

Hi Brian, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
I spent the first two decades of my career in business, mostly marketing communications and public relations. As I approached the 20-year milestone, I decided to make a change, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do.

I knew I wanted to be my own boss, and I knew I wanted to physically make something with my hands. I also knew I wanted to do something with food because I love to cook (and eat).

I open myself up to the universe, and the universe answered when I was at a dinner party and an acquaintance mentioned she had some chocolate equipment in her basement she wanted to sell. I knew that would be perfect.

Over the next few weeks, in this order, I bought the equipment, rented a space, quit my job, and then learned how to make chocolate.

Since then it’s always been about learning, either something about chocolate and confections, or something about running a small business (and sometimes about fixing doorknobs and the like).

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Every job is going to have stressors and challenges, but no problem has been so large that I’ve regretted my new career. There are always problems with employees and supply chain issues and a label printer that won’t work.

But I believe that’s really part of the definition of being a small business owner — being a problem solver.

You’re presented with some challenge and you need to figure out how you can work around it or fix it or do it a completely different way.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
From the very beginning, Kakao Chocolate has avoided using artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, or preservatives, and we’ve always made everything by hand — which is to say we don’t have any “Lucille Ball” machines in our shop.

We believe our all-natural, small-batch, hand-made approach makes better chocolates and confections, and our customers can tell the difference.

We all have different ways of looking at and defining success. How do you define success?
This is a really tough thing to define because you never really say “I’m successful, so now I can stop.”

There’s always something more to be done, another challenge to overcome, and another goal to reach.

I think success is really about being happy with what you’re doing, being able to get up each morning and get ready for work looking forward to what you’re going to accomplish that day. If you dread going to work, it doesn’t matter how much money you make or what nice vacations you take, or that you have a fancy office. Success is loving what you do.

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