Coco Sallee: Chocolate Artisan
I first met Coco, founder of Confectionally Yours, when I fell in love with her organic artisanal truffles at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market. The truffles were sinful; Coco is utterly delightful. And quite naturally, we began discussing pleasure. Since then, our conversation has expanded and I knew you would love her thoughts on pleasure as much as I have. Also, you’re gonna want to eat some chocolate.
1) How do you define “pleasure”?
A peaceful, euphoric feeling that results in great enjoyment, satisfaction and happiness.
2) Do you think pleasure is a necessary component of life and of business?
When I was a little girl and people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was always, “happy.” Not being able to accept and enjoy even the simplest and smallest pleasures life has to offer would be unfortunate. I think it’s important to find pleasure in what you do everyday, if only for the sake of sanity. Not everyone is lucky enough to have the day-to-day life they dream of, and it’s not always easy to make change happen immediately. So the ability to find the good or positive light in unhappy situations is useful just to get you through the day.
3) What’s the most pleasurable part of your work day?
Coming up with new recipes is definitely the most exciting part of my day… and when they actual work and taste good? That’s pleasure.
4) What place in nature brings you the most pleasure and how often do you visit it?
Sitting on a hill or mountain surrounded by pure nature, when it’s so quiet you can hear freshly fallen leaves blow across grass and still see the bustling city in the distance like a painted landscape… I love that contrast and I don’t experience it often enough.
5) What purpose drove you to create your business and what most motivates you to continue to nurture it?
Well, we all want to be successful; to thrive at what we do and especially what we love to do. I have been given a tremendous amount of support in building this business and an unyielding amount of positive encouragement and feedback, which is an incredible motivation.
6) How do you keep your motivating purpose in mind as you go about your daily routine?
I feel like somehow it’s just always there. I certainly don’t want to let anyone down, most of all myself, so even if I’m having a rough day, or I’m just exhausted, I remember that I have people who believe in me and want me to succeed.
7) What, if anything, does embracing pleasure allow you to accomplish in your business that wouldn’t be possible otherwise?
For many, it is so easy to get frustrated at work, and especially for me, working with chocolate, arguably the most temperamental ingredient in the world. I’ve faced a lot of adversity and had so many setbacks; sometimes, for days at a time, nothing goes right. But at day’s end, it’s “day’s end” and it’s never hard to get me to smile despite all of it. Embracing pleasure, which I equate with happiness and positivity, allows me to continue pushing forward everyday.
8) What one action is key for you to ensure you have a pleasure-filled work day?
Eating breakfast. I realize that’s too obvious an answer, but I’m one of those people who can work through a day and not realize I haven’t eaten until it’s time for dinner (sadly yes, even working in a kitchen). I can have the most positive attitude and a plethora of new ideas but when I lack the energy to keep focused and fueled through the day, very little gets done and the mistakes and mishaps outweigh the successes.
9) What has been the most unexpected pleasure you’ve experienced during the development of your business?
Without question, bringing pleasure to others. Bringing smiles to people’s faces is what it’s really all about. When people really enjoy my confections, there’s a moment that is truly telling, just as the flavors are revealed to the taste buds. In that moment, there is a millisecond where you can see the element of surprise, the pure euphoria; when you know it’s so much better than they expected. It’s very special and incredibly uplifting to see people react positively to something you’ve put your heart and soul into creating.
10) As your business grows and your life expands, what tools help you feel focused on your primary business purpose and further goals?
Whether using social media to find new trends and topics, talking to customers face to face or being inspired by other artisans, people and ultimately my surroundings are the tools I use to cultivate my imagination and shape a vision of my company’s future. The new local, artisan food movement is a huge part of this as it is really helping a larger faction of our society to become more aware of their food intake and what organic and non-gmo really mean. This in and of itself is an important factor in helping me continue to set goals that align with the future of food consciousness.
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Thank you, Coco — such a delicious Talking Pleasure interview guest!
Now, what are your thoughts on Coco’s approach to her business and love of chocolate?