Think guilt-free chocolate is a thing of daydreams? Guess again.
Founded in 2013, Loco Love Chocolate is an Australian company leading the health conscious chocolate movement. Founders Emica and Jesse channel their love of the handmade, their passion for heath and balance (as well as their love for each other) into their small business.
The couple handcraft their chocolate daily, working from their home and warehouse in the beautiful Byron Bay. With the addition of superfoods, tonic herbs and therapeutic grade essential oils, their recipes have been developed by a naturopath and nutritionist. Loco Love creates flavours with no refined sugars, no gluten and simple vegan ingredients to bring you "chocolate with benefits". Including flavours like Black Cherry and Raspberry, Butter Caramel Pecan, Wild Rose Ganache and Coconut and Cashew—what these sweet treats lack in processed ingredients, they definitely make up for in rich flavour.
Take a peek into the Loco Love warehouse and the beautiful home of Emica and Jesse:
Firstly, tell us about how you got into the chocolate business.
I would say the chocolate business found me, it wasn’t something I had studied or ever considered as a career path. In Loco Love’s early days I was working three jobs, naturopath and model by day and chocolate maker by night. The demand for Loco Love grew and I left my day job to pursue it full time. I had some friends and contacts with stores to sell Loco Love to initially, and to those people I am so grateful. I would say most of Loco Loves growth has been organic,. It’s been slow and steady, which has its benefits as we haven’t needed external investment and its allowed us to perfect our processes each step of the way. In answer to your question I was passionate about creating and Loco Love provided a channel to funnel all of my different skills into one thing.
What does an average week look like for you?
Jesse and I like to wake up as early as we can, we generally start the day with a huge glass of spring water followed by a hot almond milk cacao tonic. If the surf is good Jesse likes to go surfing, or we like to meditate for 20 minutes. Then off to the factory to get covered in chocolate, send out orders, reply to emails and all the day to day tasks. We work a lot, though I am not sure what else we would do and though for the last few months I have been working less as I am actually 3 months pregnant. So I have been leaving work early to nap and relax. We also have meetings with other brands, our lovely accountant and a lot of phone calls. We generally have weekends off to relax, spend time in nature, with friends and with each other.
What are some of your passions outside of Loco Love?
Jesse is 100% obsessed with surfing; we both love finding waterfalls and bush walking. Also I would say food is a big passion, we both love to cook and create delicious meals. As well as exploring different personal development modalities such as meditation, sound healing and herbalism. I like to write and read books, generally different philosophical or esoteric teachings.
At Bailey Nelson, we have a love of the handmade. Have you noticed more local companies focused on well-made. thoughtful products cropping up recently? Why do you think people are gravitating towards these companies?
Handmade definitely has something special about it, especially with food as we believe handmade products hold the energy of the person making it. I think people are looking looking for quality and something that will last. The disposable age is definitely coming to an end, thank goodness! Globally the consumer waste problem has reached a crisis point, so people are becoming much more aware of waste. On the flip side I have noticed mass produced products seem to be getting cheaper, I guess the market share is moving to more conscious and sustainable practices with soul. Also supporting small hand made businesses help to spread the wealth to the people and not to the already rich corporations.
We're becoming increasingly aware of the link between mental health and physical health in terms of what we consume and our lifestyles. When did you realise that this was something that you wanted to explore with Loco Love?
Mental health is huge passion of mine, the link is undeniable. I have first hand experience of the effects of a healthy diet, meditation, exercise and creativity in healing/supporting mental health issues. Before Loco Love, I studied Naturopathy and Nutrition, as well as eating psychology, I specialised in mental health issues. There is so much healing and light that needs to be shed on these issues. I personally believe that our souls can evolve if we face our own demons, though this is a controversial and touchy subject. Loco Love has always been about spreading love, as that is my purpose here on earth; and cacao is a food that influences our biology to experience bliss. Also I believe that the world needs more kindness and compassion, so that is also a strong part of our mission. As a company we definitely want to find ways to give back more especially to Indigenous communities, displaced children and mental health issues.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs wanting to grow a successful small business with a strong ethos like you have?
For me personally there needs to be a larger purpose beyond myself, though that’s maybe just me and I am not an expert. Ethos comes from values, what do you value most and what can you contribute to others that will keep you keeping on? It’s definitely not the easiest path, having your own company, and in the times where you don’t want to work you will need a mission to help you remember why you started. As the company grows, this purpose can always evolve and change. Also don’t ever stop learning, or thinking you know everything, there is always more to learn!
Photography: Haidee Lorenz