This Valentine’s Day marks an important milestone in our journey to building a sustainable artisanal fine chocolate company from the ground up. Although we don’t have investors and we don’t have a lot of working capital to grow as quickly as we might want to, starting slowly has allowed us to perfect our product, build up a reputation in the community, and it’s given us the space to learn about our customers - about 60% of whom are regular CocoVaa Chocolatier fans. Operating an artisanal chocolate company is exhausting. In the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, I’m on my feet for sometimes 18 hour days. Each flavor is at least a 2 day process to create. In the middle of my Valentine’s Day production, the motor on my tempering machine broke. So I had to go back to the basics and temper by hand - which is actually quite meditative, although it takes much longer and is physically laborious. So why do I keep doing this? Because on days like today, when I’m not even officially open, I have a rush of customers coming in to buy Valentine’s Day treats for their families, their partners or just for themselves. They will settle for nothing else. They want and must have our chocolates. I have new customers who heard about us and when they sample our creations - like the calamansi yuzu blood orange caramel, their faces light up. One young man came in today and told me that our little shop was the “most amazing thing I’ve seen all year.” Another man came in to get his partner a gift and his partner had come in earlier to get him the same gift. It’s awesome! I get to learn from, and to live vicariously through their stories of love - in which our chocolates get to play a supporting role. It’s a privilege and an honor, and it’s what inspires me to get up and do it all over again after sleeping on a cot in my production kitchen after an 18 hour work day. I’m really pleased to say that we have almost sold out, which is unbelievable because I made A LOT of chocolate over the past couple weeks. But the overwhelming support from the community both local and national, will not only keep us in business but will help us continue to grow. Thank you!