Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kevin Johnson, Founder of Kevbot Chocolate, located in Alderson, WV, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Kevbot Chocolate makes ethically-sourced craft chocolate that sparks joy and invites adventure. We serve retailers in our part of Appalachia and the whole United States with customizable seasonal chocolate boxes. Families love our chocolate.
Tell us about yourself
I've worked with cacao producers in Central America in the past and around food businesses at home in West Virginia. And I've always loved chocolate! But I didn't see craft chocolate that 1) prioritized authentic fun over luxury branding and 2) connected with my region, where people understand the relationship between productive forests and making a living. I'm motivated each day by my desire to make chocolate a delicious, fun, and uplifting experience for everyone. I want our chocolate to spark joy, curiosity, and sharing about what's important in our lives.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Bringing the pieces together to make a chocolate-making business work in my part of the world, where there isn't great infrastructure and a well-defined market for specialty food businesses. Trusting my instincts in startup (during the pandemic). Allowing my business to grow and evolve organically in the years since.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Balancing the demands of the creative side of the business - testing new recipes and product ideas - with the rest of it. I much prefer the creative side, but running a business requires you to be disciplined about the admin side of things.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Honor your own creativity. You are the most unique ingredient!
- Think deeply about the values you want your business to be built around. Can a partner help you stay grounded in these values?
- Make sure you have the supports you need (emotional, logistical, financial) during startup. Are your loved ones on board?
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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