So, we decided to start a vegan chocolate business, and we had literally no money in the bank. We went to a seminar with multi-millionaire business guru Jeffrey Slayter, and he inspired us to go for it. So we went out and asked our friends and family to get involved, and we got investment that very same day! The Chocolate Yogi was born.
As chance would have it, we were just about to move to a water-access only island in the northern beaches of Sydney, so for the first year, we made our chocolate in our island home.
We had to putt-putt the ingredients over by boat, and then get them up a dirt track through the bush using the local community vehicle. We made the chocolate in tiny 3kg stonegrinders, and all the bars were hand-wrapped by the local kids on the island, it was a pretty crazy time!
We eventually brought across 2 x 400kg stone-grinders on a barge and situated them in our kitchen / living room.
The new stone-grinders made production easier but after a year of sleeping next-door to these 2 enormous machines (that had to be on for 48 hours - think of sleeping next to a jet engine), we decided it was time to move the business off the island.
We built our new chocolate factory in Hornsby on the edge of the Kur-ring-gai National Park with the help of our island friends and Malindi’s parents, who are super-handy when it comes to building.
We had the intention from the beginning that we would make chocolate that changes the world. Those words are still on our whiteboard. We had no money (it all went back in to the business and in to buying food) so we started by supporting events with our chocolate that raised awareness about key issues, such as animal cruelty and environmental protection.
Through watching documentaries and spending time with Sydney Vegan Club Founder, Kym Staton, we felt moved to go from being dairy free vegetarians, to conscious vegans.
We are both kind of childlike and love tickle fights and shenanigans, so we decided to make our bars fun too, we want our chocolate to make people feel hopeful, joyful and uplifted.
We added a cheeky vegan message to all our packaging. These messages were designed to raise consciousness around what we eat as well as to inspire a smile.
We were so inspired by the documentary about Sea Shepherd called ‘How to Change the World’, that we decided we would somehow donate money to support their work. We really admire them for their awesomeness, integrity and direct action. (if you don’t know about Sea Shepherd they are like friendly pirates who protect whales from illegal whaling, find out more here).
We are really still in the start-up phase, which means we don't really have a whole lot of profit to share. For example, if we said, 'we will give 50% of our profits to charity', that could end up being about 10 bucks! :-) So we decided to somehow set aside 10 cents from every bar and donate it to Sea Shepherd, then we would find a way to run our business on the rest of it, and people would know exactly how much they were donating. So far we have raised over 5K, check out our fundraising page for more up to date info.
And that is where we are now! Thanks for taking the time to read our story and please email us with your feedback, ideas and testimonials, so that we can continue to make The Chocolate Yogi serve you and our planet as best as we possibly can.