Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Lindsay Tarnoff, founder of Laughing Gull Chocolates, located in Rochester, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Laughing Gull Chocolates is a mission-based business. We make delicious chocolate that you can feel good about enjoying! We lovingly craft all of our chocolate confections with ingredients we source transparently and as locally as possible. Our customers, like us, are community-based and care about connecting to what they are consuming. In our case, our favorite chocolates include salted caramel chocolate sauce, hand-dipped chocolate truffles, and chocolate bark.
We also make an "Inspired by Rochester" line of products such as a Mole Bite, a Blackberry Ginger Balsamic Bite, a Coffee Square, and a Spiced Orange Honey Bite, all of which are made with local ingredients and give back to local organizations. Each one is mouthwatering and unique and made with organic, clean, delicious chocolate. For those that want to learn more about what they are enjoying, we offer chocolate experiences such as tastings and workshops that create curiosity about the complexities of chocolate. Together, we are changing the world with chocolate.
Tell us about yourself
My dream started when I was at Skidmore College writing my capstone paper on the "History of the Morality of Chocolate." I grew up baking with my mom and grandmother, as a dark chocolate lover, and in a family of chocoholics. Even at a young age, my sisters, friends, and I sold lemonade and chocolate brownies.
We donated the money we raised to environmental causes we believed in. The motivation to do good and do well has stayed with me. Today, in my role at Laughing Gull Chocolates, I love creating, crafting, and developing new flavors. I'm passionate about fostering authentic relationships with like-minded businesses and community members - and I am so lucky to have found incredible business partners in Karla and Allison. In addition to my self-motivation and passion for our community, I am touched every day that I can be a good example for my young daughters (4 1/2 and 2). I am proud to show them that I can both be the best mom I can be and work hard as an entrepreneur in our community.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
When I first opened the brick-and-mortar in Rochester, I had a newborn and had no idea what I was getting into - as a mom or as a business owner. I don't know what I would have done had I not met Karla and Allison. Both had newborns within weeks of my daughter's age, and both had similar values and business skills that complimented my own. We were an ideal business team, and I can't imagine where I would be without them. I am proud of how our business has grown, and I am proud of the team that we have become.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Balance. Every day I challenge myself as I try to find a balance between spending time with my family, self-care, and managing the business. I don't know that there is an easy solution - if there is, I haven't discovered it yet! I try to remind myself that it is a journey.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Trust yourself - and know your strengths and weaknesses.
- Find a support system that you trust.
- Find time each day to take care of yourself.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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