Monday, June 17, 2013


Hi There,

Again, it isn't like I don't think about updating the Zimt blog on a respectable basis. But little things, like life, have been on the front burner.

I just typed "burger" instead of burner. And then I fixed it.

So, this is what is going on with Zimt! (What I can tell you about for now… more to come soon. That's the other thing, I can't really communicate what is going on because not enough has been completely finalized and things change from moment to moment- too quickly for even me to type.).

Vague, but… basically, the chocolate will taste quite different within the next couple of months! But don't worry- I have had the samples and they are incredible. I want some right now but we ate all the samples/I have a few precious spares in my office 20 minutes away. The difference is- we will start to use coconut sugar instead of coconut nectar to sweeten. This gives the chocolate a deeper, more caramel like taste and a good snap- even if you leave it in a drawer  for months and months and months. I couldn't do this before because we didn't have the equipment to grind the coconut sugar finely enough- this is why so many raw chocolate businesses go for agave/coconut nectar/ some other liquid sweetener initially. You see, a good deal of non-raw, organic or not, chocolate companies use blocks or chips of ready-made chocolate. These are made by big manufacturing companies, such as Valrohna or Callebaut or some such company, who can afford the equipment to grind sugar finely enough to make it very smooth in the chocolate- and also further refine the chocolate to make it even smoother. And chocolate companies will melt these down and "temper" the chocolate (changing the temperature and basically stirring the chocolate around) to give it a nice snap when it is broken and to make it shiny.  This is because solid sugar needs to be ground and ground and ground to make sure it is not crunchy in the chocolate, but smooth. A very capital intensive process.

But there are no raw chocolate companies that do this using raw coconut sugar so we make our chocolate "from scratch" and also use coconut nectar- a great option! But not the greatest, so I am moving on to the greatest that I can get for you- tasty raw coconut sugar. Num.

Also, Zimt will be found in many different locations, and I will not necessarily be the one delivering Zimt in my Smart car, or driving to the post to mail out boxes of chocolate and trying to keep it as cold as possible en route, battling the ever increasing outside temperatures.

Also, you may need to pose the question, "What does Zimt mean?", to someone doing a demo who is not me or my little cousin or my mom or one of my friends.

But they will have the answer for you.

Things are going well. The big picture is- that things are going well with Zimt. Very well.  That isn't to say that there haven't been a ton of challenges along the way- even very recently, but I am trying to just keep the bigger picture in mind. The bigger picture of Zimt doing well and that there are options and opportunities to keep things going and progressing. And the difficulties will make success all the better in the end.

I think about where Zimt was at this time last year. Not the greatest. Not terrible, but not even close to where I want. And now we are much closer!

It would have been great if two years ago some business professional had miraculously entered my life and said to me, "You're a good kid with a good idea, but you are doing it all wrong. And it will be painful if you keep going this route,  and you will burn out and/or go nowhere, so stop being so stubborn and uninformed and try this instead…." I think the business professional has now miraculously entered my life through experience- great things happen when you listen. Because some folks had suggested a few things that would have gotten me here faster, but nothing really can be accomplished without an open mind.

Back to the bigger picture. The real bigger picture is always this: loved ones.

So while Zimt has been on its own little roller coaster, I can sincerely say that it is not even anywhere close to roller coaster in my personal life.

And that is a little tricky when one is trying to run/grow one's company which will hopefully provide a great deal of security for one's loved ones.  So think about that before you decide to go and live out your dreams, not even considering the lack of extended medical benefits, dedicated vacation time, and sacrificing the luxury of being able to blame the guy in the next cubicle for printer malfunctions.

But really- at the end of the day- our friends and family are all that matter.  They dictate basically everything in our lives- this is truer for some than it is for others. For myself, though, I know that the only reason I am sticking around Vancouver is because of my loved ones. That's it. If they weren't here, or if they didn't exist, I would definitely not be here. Not that I am not thankful to live in such a beautiful city (just look at those mountains!), but… I have found what I feel to be far preferable in many aspects. Those aspects I can live without, but I don't think I could live without my crew.  Again, I am very thankful to live here.  Mostly because of my loves.

"Geez, Emma- you could be starving in Africa."

And I would definitely do that, if that were the only option of us being together.

Go give somebody you love a hug! And eat some chocolate!

xo emma

PS- also, click to save an innocent animal!
PPS- oooooor… go vegan and save a million innocent animals! Start with this tasty recipe: Amazing Nacho-esque Sauce - thank you, for the yummy recipe!

Friday, March 29, 2013

years of distress


Disclaimer: I am actually in a good mood. And how couldn't I be? I got home the next day for the past two days from the kitchen. (As in, I arrived early in the day and then stayed until the morning of the next day.)

Anyway- I think the key here is in the "epiphany". You know when you get to that point where you just need something, something to make it better, a little "a ha" moment to keep you from totally losing it?

I think I had one of those yesterday. It was great. It was like I was underwater, drowning and panicking because I knew I was drowning and hadn't passed out yet and then suddenly got oxygen.

I cannot tell you the whole story, because there are still about eight billion hours of details I need to sort out, but I will tell you this: this week is the two year anniversary of me attempting to make a living through Zimt.

And quite frankly, the progress, or lack there of, is getting a little embarrassing.

Maybe you haven't recognized it yet, because you aren't "in it" like I am, but let me tell you, at this rate,  pathetically unfortunate is what comes to mind. And it is a classic case of the entrepreneur: you get so busy working in the business, that you don't work on the business. I got so busy making chocolate, trying to keep up with orders, that I haven't gotten things to grow as they should.

In my defence, though, I have done quite a bit, and I think you would agree, but still- no where near as advanced as it should be by this point. Not even close. Also in my defence, and also as a fault- I really had no idea what I was doing for about the first seven months of Zimt and was just trying to figure something out that may work. Let's take a look back at my three options:

1. Stock trading: I made a pitiful attempt at making this my means of earning a living. Really did not give too much effort to this, because I a) had Zimt going on, and was trying to be busy with that (and chocolate wins every time. Every time.) b) couldn't figure out how to trade ethically (though it can be done I'm sure. I realistically looked at the situation and realized it would be a lot of hard work with very little room for creativity. And for an ADD head like myself, this would simply not do.)

2. Modelling: Cannot even believe I gave this a go. Even less of an effort than the trading, and rightly so. As a dear friend put it: "Emma- you modelling at any "professional" level is ridiculous. You're short. You're 23. You're done. And the industry is crap- you know that." Indeed I did! But I am a glutton for punishment and having lots of photos of me posing, so I gave it a bit of a go.  All the while knowing that it was… ridiculous. Met some nice people in the process, so I will give myself that. (P.S.- totally let myself go since I gave up on this dream.)

3. Working for an established company: Oh wait- I never actually did this. At least not beyond part time jobs throughout school. I had no self confidence that I would actually be able to get a decent job, let alone keep it. Plus, I didn't want to work for anybody else- now was the time of life to go for something a little different, while I had few responsibilities.

4. I forgot there was a 3. Anyway, the 4th option was to start my own business. Did it.

And here I am- two years into having Zimt.  Two years of Emma making happy vegan organic fair trade raw chocolate and trying to get it out there and make the world a better place. Pretty cute!

But not at all. Not cute anymore- not even close. At this rate, I will be 35 and still scraping crud off of somebody else's kitchen floor and driving home in my smart car that is crammed full of boxes and garbage and who knows what at 2am and my brain won't be working anymore because I am exhausted mentally and emotionally and physically. And I will think "I remember when I was 23, and thought this could go places. And how it would get me out of a kitchen so I would never have to cook another thing again, and not have to scrape crud off the floor, and how I could build this up and be free to travel and spend time with my loved ones and do nice things for them and for myself. But somewhere along this little journey, I screwed things up big time. And that is why I am thirteen years into this and still am the one washing dishes and packaging."

I really don't want that. And I don't think anyone would want that for me, unless they hate me and want me to suffer and feel horrible for a long time.

So, this epiphany- it isn't cute. It probably isn't the route that everyone who thinks I am cute and Zimt is cute and progressing and amazing would imagine, but I don't think that this is very important.  I think that what is important is for me to actually get this company going- beyond cute, which is quickly turning into jaded and depressing- in a manner that is efficient. Working smart vs working hard. I think that what is actually important is to build properly and to ditch being cute for a bit. Because cute is going to fade fast at this rate!

Zimt is still going to be organic, vegan, fair-trade, and raw (except for the beans in the new cookie doughs- those are cooked. Please remember that there is a ton of nutritional value in many cooked foods and that just because something is "raw", this does not make it better than something that is cooked.) and as ethical as possible.

Only now, it is going to be making a life that is better for me and for those I love and, ultimately, for everybody affected by my company.

This is really what I want- to just focus on things and to get them going because I've seen the future, I am in it! It is not cute at all. 

Stay tuned, please!


Thursday, February 14, 2013

mom was right.

Hi Everyone,

So, the more I chat with people, the more I hear that people actually read this blog! And with that, I have a small confession to make- while I am very well aware that I should blog more, I don't, and it is for this main reason:

99% of the time, I cannot for the life of me come up with a decent post title. 

This is the truth- I just can't. I look at song lyrics for inspiration or try to convince myself that the title is really no big deal, but it just won’t do. I think I should probably just write something anyway and then hopefully come up with a decent title. And even if I don't, I am pretty sure we will all be ok.

I should also mention that I started this post on... Saturday?

What's been going on since the last post on December 17th, 2012Lots. Some of it I can mention here, most of it is top secret. (I'm really just looking out for you- having that kind of knowledge is not safe for everyone.)

I believe a little thing called 'Christmas' happened. It was nice- I had most of the 24th, 25th, (unexpectedly) 26th, and January 1st off. Unfortunately not a whole lot to report for Zimt with respect to Christmas, except that sales were slightly better than steady and I was really sleep deprived.

To touch on the top secret information, let's just say that Zimt has been getting a lot more attention by some more prominent and influential figures. Hopefully they are people who can help me take this up a few notches. And here is where the title ties in! (It is important!)

For the first year and a bit of my working on Zimt, I was a little bitter. And you may hate me for the reason, because it will make me sound like the spoiled, whiney princess I am (P.S. buy me shiny stuff and drive me places). I was a little bitter because, for that first while, anyone I encountered seemed to not care less about my having gotten my undergrad in business. My university education was totally irrelevant and I felt like I worked really, really (and I mean really) hard for not much. A piece of paper. In fact, the other day, I was in my old house and I was looking for two things in our jam-packed storage room- bags I had purchased for packaging cacao butter to sell wholesale and my degree. My mum came by to take care of our cat who still lives there, and she was helping me to look, being the wonderful human being that she is. After a while, I just said "I don't even care about the degree, let's just focus on finding the cacao bags." The purpose for finding the degree was not Zimt related. Finding six pouch bags to hold cacao butter was. University honours degree from a highly acclaimed business school vs plastic bags- clearly, we have a winner.

I can't say that my brain has retained much of what I slaved away to learn, but I saw that one coming anyway- it happened in high school (I know I learned about the digestive system of different worm species in grade 11 bio, and that alone took a lot out of me. I remember sitting in my room for days, just before final exams, with the sun shining outside, making up acronyms for worm stuff, walking around my room repeating them, colour coding everything, highlighting all over the place, typing out notes, writing out notes, making posters, you name it. Despite this, I have unfortunately not managed to retain that information, nor much else from high school. ... maybe a good thing?).

So, you see- all of this academic turmoil seemed to be for naught. I was definitely not one of those kids who could read a page a couple of times, or do a few math problems, and then be set. It was a bit of torture and I can honestly say that I hated it. I wanted to be smart, book smart, but my brain and attention span had other intentions. It was sort of a battle- it was trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.  And being around all the natural academics I was around, I felt pretty out of place.

And for what? Now I was actually doing something I loved- working towards a goal I knew I could achieve (building a successful and creative company seemed infinitely more possible than being hired for a desk job), and nobody cared about my credentials.

Until now. Two of the contacts I am currently working with have asked me about my academic background and not only knew what I was talking about when I told them, but were actually impressed. These are some seemingly vital individuals, and all I can say about that is... go mom.

She is the one who put me through all this schooling because she always wanted me to have an education to fall back on- she knew the importance of being self-sufficient, and that getting some education was a good way to do so.  If worst came to worst, I could plunk those credentials on a resume.  For now, though, it is a good "in" for making that initial connection with well(formally)-educated people. And for now, she is still helping me. A lot. I deeply question whether or not I could survive more than three hours without her in my life.  I'm definitely not saying I have to (nor would necessarily want to) see her every three hours, but she is just a really kind and thoughtful and helpful person and I would probably be at the bottom of a river if I didn't have her.

Mom was right.

Thank you for not only driving me to pick up ingredients from the US but also taking me out for lunch. Really, she does not have the greatest kids and I am shocked that she has not yet disowned either of us. Saint!
However, and that is a big however, having a piece of paper is not a shoe-in for professional success. But, who doesn't find it more impressive when someone works their way up, with absolutely no experience, no formal training at all, and maybe from a really rough place in life? Sometimes, when people find out I went to this school, I try to downplay it a bit, saying (truthfully), that I really don't remember much of what I was taught there. Because when it comes down to it, you got it or you don't, I think.  Which is why the majority of my classmates now have stable jobs, working for others, and get off at 5 or 6 everyday.

And she just asked me this afternoon, whether or not I actually thought I could make a decent living selling chocolate bars. Chocolate bars. The market is beyond competitive, and, yeah, I see a huge need for product diversification. Hence the new products. But I am also a little risk adverse, in that I would like to not have to invest hugely in packaging before getting the go-ahead from my biggest accounts. What if I came up with a whole line of products, asked Jordan to design the packaging, paid for the packaging and the graphic design, and then got a negative from my favourite American conglomerate? So bad.

That being addressed, I also am fairly confident that the market for chocolate bars is here to stay. At least until we all start nourishing ourselves exclusively via pills that taste like the real deal or through some sort of light therapy. So the bars are here to stay.  It is purely a matter of letting people know that Zimt bars are the only kind they want to be eating. Or at least 90% of the time, usually.

Thank you for making it this far- I appreciate your reading my ramblings and feel more than welcome to leave a comment below, telling us all about how things are going for you.


PS: click here to feed animals who need it
PPS: click here to get a tasty recipe, sans animals. You could even make these for your gluten-sensitive sweetie on V-day! <3

PPPS: Just this afternoon, I was driving to my office after making a couple of deliveries and I thought to myself- I should be really, really... good-feeling about having finished my degree because I worked really, really hard for it. And it, obviously, isn't useless. A somewhat painful experience, yes, but no pain no improvement.