The blessings are still pouring in for chocolatier Ella Livingston.
As AfroTech perviously told you, Livingston’s business, Cocoa Asante — which produces and sells high-quality artisan chocolate — saw a major boost in sales after catching the attention of TikTok food critique Keith Lee.
Livingston and her brother were both able to “retire” from their other jobs due to the company’s success. In her latest TikTok update, Livingston shares the company has “met and exceeded” its revenue goal for the year in just two and a half months. The company is also outgrowing its retail space with plans to move to a larger location later in the summer, she says.
What’s more, the increased sales have improved the likelihood that the company can receive funding. Previously, Cocoa Asante was not gaining the looks from foundations, lending institutions or other resources. Though it has won a local grant for $30,000, more funds are needed for equipment.
Now, the company that “ethically sources” its chocolate from Ghana is receiving a second chance.
“Because of you guys, we were able to go back to all these organizations and foundations and lending institutions that were not really ready to say ‘yes’ to lending us money and say, ‘Hey you guys, we’ve proven that there’s a demand out there,’ and you guys, this is not a one-time thing ’cause you guys kept it going even after the month of March. And we went to them to say, ‘Hey look, we’re trying, people are wanting this. We need money for equipment,’ and they gave us a second shot,” Livingston explained in a video shared on TikTok.
She added, “Nothing is finalized, but we are working through the process. We’re kind of shopping around a little bit to see if we can find some flexible funding.”
For now, Livingston has launched a Kickstarter in case she is rejected by investors as the company seeks to secure new equipment, including a roaster, winnower, and tempering machine, among others.
As indicated on the funding page, the funds will help Cocoa Asante move from phase one to phase two, which will help them transition to bean-to-bar production and have more independence.
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