PROFILE#2: Lotta of Eat Chic Chocolates
The fine "craft" of and business woman behind Eat Chic Chocolates
About Eat Chic Chocolates - chocolates that embody CHIC & SIMPLICITY
We handcraft chocolates using single origin, direct-trade organic chocolate and our own small-batch organic nut and seed butter fillings. We produce dozens of flavors, from classics such as our award-winning peanut butter cups with sea salt to innovative combinations such as matcha-cashew butter and black sesame tahini. Everything we produce is naturally vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, palm oil-free, and absolutely delicious.
Eat Chic Chocolates has its roots in London, where founder Lotta Andonian started selling peanut butter cups as a side project to her job in fashion marketing under the brand Eat Chic while living abroad in 2014. She frequently made peanut butter cups (a rarity in the UK) for friends’ birthdays and office events, and the positive response to the gluten-free, vegan delicacies encouraged her to launch a business committed to making delicious and ethically-produced confections. Once she set up a website and Instagram account, orders quickly grew from 100 to 1000 chocolates at a time, and after many sleepless nights juggling both jobs, she quit fashion marketing to make chocolates as her full-time career in 2015. Within months, the chocolates were stocked in some of the world’s most prestigious food halls, including Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason; won two Great Taste Awards; and were featured in publications such as Vogue.co.uk, Stylist, The Evening Standard, Grazia, BBC Good Food, and many more. While very grateful for the success, Andonian missed her home country, and decided to relaunch the business in Brooklyn in 2016.
• Tell us about your journey to create your brand/product - (Answers by founder Lotta Andonian).
I used to have a rarely-updated food blog called Eat Chic, where I would upload easy, veggie-forward recipes I would make after work and "kitchen playlists" I would make on Spotify to play while cooking. I used to work in fashion marketing at Farfetch in London, and I've always loved food and fashion and wanted to work in one of those fields. (I also love music but have zero talent in that area!) "Eat Chic" conveys my style in both food and fashion: sophisticated, elegant, and maybe simple at first glance but actually very considered and made with a lot of technique and expertise. My (all black) wardrobe is full of second-hand and outlet finds that are made with skill and natural fabrics, and Eat Chic Chocolates are all made with the same techniques and polycarbonate molds a high-end chocolatier uses. Whenever people see a video of how time-consuming and detail-oriented it is to make something as straightforward as our chocolate peanut butter cups, they are usually very surprised by all the steps and the importance of our technique in creating a consistent, shelf-stable product!
• Best advice you’ve received as a business owner?
To treat mistakes or setbacks as valuable learning experiences that help improve the business in the long run, rather than as failures that should have been prevented in the first place. (Thanks Dad!) Sometimes I would look back on something and regret it, or wonder why I hadn't done something sooner, but in reality as long as you are learning from your experiences and making adjustments as needed, they just make you and your business stronger. Also there is no way of knowing exactly how something will turn out, so you can’t be hard on yourself when it doesn’t turn out as you’d wanted it to. Second best piece of advice: document everything, because you never know if you'll need to refer back to it in the future. I'm still chasing payments from invoices that were due in 2017, and if we didn't have delivery records, it would be harder for us to prove we are owed money.
• Who are your mentors?
My dad, who has run his own business for thirty years and keeps me sane when I stress out about overdue invoices from accounts or the challenges of running a self-funded small business. I am also grateful to the team at Raaka Chocolate, who have been very generous with their time and resources to help our small business grow. The way they run their socially-responsible business is an inspiration and my dream for Eat Chic is to be like them when we grow up. :)
• What food or beverage are you enjoying most right now?
All the jams by Brins Jam are phenomenal. I don't even like jam usually, but Candice's innovative flavor combinations and high-quality ingredients really bring her jams to the next level. The chili jam is insane with any avocado dish, and the cherry-chai jam featuring Doña Chai is my favorite with almond butter on toast for breakfast (or in our cherry-chai almond butter cups!).
We proudly carry Eat Chic Chocolates at Douglas. Visit Eat Chic for more information about this fabulous confection line.