Valentina wanted to start her own business for quite a long time, but she never would have guessed that it would be making her chocolate! Valentina’s background includes a Master’s degree in Economics & Management and several years of working as an Online Marketing Manager in Berlin startups. While working for different advertisers, she became more and more infatuated with an idea of creating her own products. Finally, in spring 2015 she decided to give it a go. Valentina quit her job and started to play around with various business ideas.
Valentina's Chocolate: the beginning
how Female Founder Space inspired Valentina to go for her dreams
When I came to the first Female Founder Space meetup I wasn’t yet sure whether I want to become an entrepreneur myself. I knew at that time that I want to change something in my life, I had ideas and dreams, but not nearly enough courage and self-confidence to quit my job and try to pursue them.
At the Female Founder Space event, I met many inspiring and interesting women, who had amazing ideas, some very resonating to mine. They were not afraid to talk about them and to realize them in their businesses. I felt so much power and support to my dreams, just by being among these women, who wanted to make a difference in life and did not wait for a “better moment” to finally do it.
Since then, I started more seriously looking for possibilities to start my own business. I have visited many Female Founder Space events, where I got many practical tips for starting the business, as well as techniques for shifting the mindset, which is so important for becoming an entrepreneur. I have explored many ideas and projects before I landed on my current project – Valentina’s Chocolate. It brings together all my passions, skills, experiences, and values in a way that I feel really happy and enthusiastic working on it.
I am very grateful to Female Founder Space for showing me the way to fulfilling my dream.
Valentina, you mentioned that you were exploring many different ideas, how did you know that making your own chocolate was THE IDEA. And what was the story behind it?
At that time I was consuming a lot of dark chocolate, as a healthier alternative for a dessert. I noticed that dark chocolate (that over 80% cocoa) is mostly plain, without any fun additions. I wanted to find the more interesting one, with different flavors, beautiful design, and “clean” ingredients – and failed!
That’s when I got an idea to try to make it myself.
I wanted my chocolate to look like a beautiful piece of nature – decorated with berries, fruits, nuts, seeds, and flower petals. Besides, I wanted to offer the highest possible quality, exquisite design, natural ingredients, care for health and love for nature. However, I had no idea how to make chocolate or where to get the ingredients at first, but the idea was so consuming that I had to find the way! My first chocolate was very pretty, but inedible.
I experimented a lot with different ingredients and combinations until I was happy with the result. My family and friends were my happy chocolate testers. They helped me to come up with the name, the package design and encouraged me to start an Instagram channel and eventually open an online shop.
This is how Valentina’s Chocolate was born.
Nowadays Valentina’s Chocolate is small, family-run chocolate manufacture producing exclusive, handmade, vegan & sugar-free chocolate. Our chocolate creatively combines vibrant natural ingredients to create a unique taste experience. Everything including the packaging is handmade with love and care for detail.
Your work involves a lot of creativity and business thinking at the same time. Coping with such a mixture could you elaborate on what was your mission at the outset and to what do you attribute your success?
I wanted to create the best chocolate the world has ever seen! And to build a business that would bring together my passion, my skills, and my desired lifestyle. Mainly, a passion and drive for the idea, my skills, and talents, but most importantly the support of my family & friends.
In your own words: what are your responsibilities as the business owner?
This is the most challenging and most exciting part of being the business owner. Everything is my responsibility! Product development, sales & marketing, website design, online shop & social media management, purchasing of materials, production, customer support, shipping of orders, invoicing, accounting, etc. etc.
I also photograph my chocolate myself, which is at the same time my passion and my marketing material. Currently, my team is me and my mother. Officially, my mother is responsible for chocolate production, whereas I am responsible for product development, sales & marketing.
A lot of people love chocolate. But not everybody is ready to turn it into a career. What made you choose this type of business?
I enjoy working with my hands, visually expressing my creativity, and seeing the result of my work. I like the simplicity of having a physical product, which offers real value and can be fairly priced. And I like that chocolate makes other people happy – when they try it, buy it, or even just hear about it!
That’s an amazing story. There are a lot of dreamers who wish to implement their wishes into real life. If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting, what would it be?
I would say the main thing is to keep faith in your idea and to give yourself time. And to be honest with yourself about what you want. Otherwise, just go for it and enjoy the experience! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, try out crazy things, follow your intuition, or change direction. Every experience will contribute to your growth and will bring you more clarity for your path.
For special moments
Valentina’s Chocolate also offers custom orders for personal and professional events (i.e. guest presents for weddings, Christmas presents, advent calendars, promotions, tastings, company gifts, etc.) Chocolate is especially loved by nutrition-conscious people, athletes, nature lovers, artists, and beauty connoisseurs.
Valentina, thank you for sharing your story with us! We wish you a lot of further success and happiness!