As part of Women’s Small Business Month, IHCC is highlighting some of the women-owned businesses that are part of our community of passionate entrepreneurs.
Ramona Thomas is the owner and Chief Sweets Officer of My Chocolate Soul, a chocolate business that specializes in all-natural ingredient, French chocolates and delectable dessert.
After being in business for 6 years, My Chocolate Soul is expanding and has been busy preparing its first retail storefront opening in Uptown. Ramona took a few minutes from her busy day to share her journey as a woman entrepreneur. (Answers have been edited for clarity.)
What inspired you to take the leap and open your business?
“I spent 18 years in education, and at first there were a lot of people who thought I was out of my mind. I’ve always loved sweets and took a French pastry class 6 years ago. After that class, I started working on a business plan that focused on opening a business for all-natural ingredient sweets. I really love sweets and I wanted to create products where people know what the ingredients are inside. There aren’t a lot of businesses that focus on all natural ingredients for desserts.”
What has been the most satisfying aspect of opening your business?
“Watching people enjoy the final product. If I’m at an event, just watching people light up when they eat the chocolate and hearing positive comments from customers. Bringing joy to people’s lives has been the most satisfying part.”
What are your long term goals for My Chocolate Soul?
“I definitely want us to grow and have a national presence. I would love to be a Chicago staple like Garrett’s Popcorn, where people visit from out of town and say ‘Oh, I HAVE to visit Garrett’s.’ I would love to be able to have that kind of brand in Chicago, where people say ‘You HAVE to go try the sweets at My Chocolate Soul.’ Now that our retail facility is going to open, we can do chocolate production 24 hours a day, and I’d love to see that happen.
You can learn more about My Chocolate Soul and order some treats at www.mychocolatesoul.com.