Working Together to Make Life Sweeter | Tory Burch Foundation

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Working Together to Make Life Sweeter

The CocoAndré Chocolatier founders on the value of persistence. 

What inspired us to start CocoAndré

Andrea: I was laid off after having worked with chocolate for 25 years; soon after my daughter was also laid off from her company. That’s when she said, “Mom let’s open our own chocolatier”.  So, we set out to find our perfect spot in Dallas.

Cindy: With her skills and my knowledge of business, I had the crazy idea to start our own chocolatier. I wanted her to know that she needed to be an owner this go around. Her love for chocolate became my dream company. I have the privilege of learning and watching her create some of the most incredible recipes and pieces. Most people don’t have this same opportunity so I cherish it each day, she is my inspiration for everything we do at CocoAndré.

How our business has evolved since launching…

Cindy: I don’t think we ever foresaw the extent of difficulties, opportunities and rewards we would have. I thought, “Great, we’ll have a chocolatier. We’ll be happy making confections.” Little did we know we would host pop-ups to launch other small businesses, raise funds for causes close to our hearts and much less get to travel the U.S. sharing our story and learning from so many amazing women. We’re definitely more community minded and intentional about it now.

Our best advice for working with family…

Andrea: Your family is forever, don’t carry work problems home. Make it a point from the beginning to draw the line.

Cindy: Respect is key. Outline your roles and responsibilities from the beginning. Do not undermine or question each other on decision making. Communicate. Don’t assume because you are family that they’ll know what you’re thinking about in regards to the business. Study how each of you accomplishes goals or tasks and find a way to combine your talents.

Ways that we celebrate our accomplishments…

Andrea: My favorite way to celebrate is by sharing meals! We love to taste new recipes together while connecting and laughing. It’s never boring or quiet.

Cindy: Unwinding and really savoring each other’s presence and accomplishments is something we’re learning after 9 years. We recently planned a stay-cation. We booked a suite and had a family sleepover including children and grandchildren. It was unforgettable.

How we keep our customers coming back…

Andrea: We see our customers more like family. We’re blessed and honored to share major life events with our clients – weddings, holidays and birthdays. Whether they spend a dollar or hundreds, they are family to us because they chose to walk through our doors and continue to support us like family too.

How have you inspired each other to embrace ambition?

Cindy: My mother has encouraged me to embrace ambition since I was a little girl. Growing up, I remember we didn’t have a lot of money. My parents were raising my two sisters and I while at the same time caring for three orphaned cousins similar in age to us. My mother quickly taught us that if we wanted something we would need to work and save for it. That’s just what I did. She instilled in us that we must always work hard and that nothing is ever free or comes easy. Because of that, I’ve learned to push harder when I’m ready to throw in the towel. That’s usually when our greatest moments occur and we can later reflect on how we got to the next level.