30 minutes | Jun 10th 2014

053: Casey Hickey, Founder of Twenty Degrees Chocolates

I have a degree in Journalism and Political Science from UNC-CH and worked in marketing, business development and fundraising for 13 years. In 2004 I moved to Paris to study pastry at Le Cordon Bleu. Later, I earned a Professional Chocolatier certification from École Chocolat and worked in several San Francisco-area pastry kitchens, including Scharffen Berger chocolate’s Café Cacao. I opened Petit Philippe – a wine and chocolate retail store and tasting room – with my husband in December 2010. We launched Twenty Degrees Chocolates (a brand of Petit Philippe) at the same time; the chocolate kitchen is housed within Petit Philippe. I’m the executive chocolatier and oversee another chocolatier while also managing all administrative and business development responsibilities for the chocolate brand.       On Today's show Casey will share: - What’s Your Personal Mission Statement Never be afraid to try. Live with no regrets. - Biggest Business Mistake Not designing my chocolate kitchen appropriately to allow for growth and expansion of our product line. - How Do You Handle Business Stress and Uncertainty Trying to anticipate ups and downs in the flow/cycles of our business helps you feel more empowered during uncertain times. Planning for when retail is slower and creating new ways to generate revenue when walk-in traffic may be slow diminishes surprises and, thus, stress. Talking things out w/ my husband (who is also my business-partner), friends and others who understand and empathize with the demands of the business. Brainstorming ways to broaden our appeal, customer base, etc. with fellow business owners. Exercise and reading to take my mind off of work and family demands helps me manage stress. - Greatest Business Decision That Changed Everything The decision to launch our business in the first place! It was a dicey time to launch a new business – likely the height of the recession in late 2010 – and not everyone in our circle was completely confident in the timing and the choice to take such a big risk given we have young children. But we felt strongly, based on our research of the local market and our deeply held passions, that we could make the business work despite the less than optimal conditions of the economy at the time. - Best Book For The Entrepreneurial Mindset “Raising the Bar” by Gary Erickson, founder of Clif Bar. It’s an inspirational story of entrepreneurship that illustrates that you can do really well by also doing good… I love his products, I love his story and I love how he conducts business and creates a desirable workplace for his employees. - Plus much more...
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