“So, how do you two know each other?”“Are you friends?”“Former classmates?”“How did you guys become business partners?” Laughs automatically ensue from the both of us and we respond in unison, almost as if it was perfectly scripted, “We’re sisters!”
When people meet us at first glance, they think we are just friends. The truth of the matter is that we’ve known each other our entire lives. And we are still getting to know one another, as sisters, friends, and Co-Founders.Let’s be real. Every individual on this planet is a work in progress. We are constantly evolving and transmuting to hopefully become a better version of ourselves
As sisters, from day one,we’ve known each other as Kimberly “Kim” Addison and Priscilla “Pris” Addison. We are three years apart with very different personalities, but we celebrate our diversities as we continue to grow our legacy in Ghana. For example, Kim identifies as an introvert and a morning person, meanwhile Priscilla is an ambivert and a night owl. Born to two Ghanaian but very international parents, we grew up in a household with three other siblings. We often would call ourselves the Addison 5, similar to the Jackson 5; and still to this day we argue over which one of us is the “Michael” or “MJ” in the family. Together, we’ve lived in parts of the U.S., Senegal, Switzerland, and France. We have never grown up in Ghana, but together as sisters and friends, we’ve always known one day we’d return“home” and build a legacy—which today is known as ‘57 Chocolate.
The idea behind this legacy arose after having lived in Switzerland for a few years, with the occasional visits back to our roots—Ghana. We thought it was strange that Switzerland is known for its chocolate but yet doesn’t grow any cocoa— the main ingredient in chocolate. Meanwhile, Ghana is the second largest producer of cocoa but produces very little chocolate itself. In Ghana, the shelves of supermarkets overflow with foreign chocolate brands, many made Ghanaian cocoa beans.
We wanted to add value to an underutilized resource (the cocoa bean) in Ghana. Having recognized all of this, we were determined to use Ghanaian cocoa to create a Ghanaian brand of small-batch chocolate that is reputable around the world.
Building a business together as sisters has been an eye-opening experience. You learn a bunch of fun and interesting things, such as who is stronger in public speaking; who has more self-control around chocolate; and who is more passionate about social media. Although we may be the exact opposite, we’ve learned to celebrate our diversities in such a way that gives our brand a competitive edge.
We frequently encourage one another to delve into the aspects of the business which may cause the other a little anxiety such as public speaking, managing web and social media content, networking at conferences or cocktails, and hosting chocolate tastings by ourselves—just to name a few. As sisters we are each other’s biggest cheerleader. We urge one another to continually utilize our strengths while building up our respective weaknesses.We didn’t always practice these core values. This was developed over time, when we finally made the big move back to Ghana in 2014.Several people we spoke to (on different occasions) in the cocoa sector could not fathom the idea of processing small-batch chocolate in Ghana, from the cocoa bean to the chocolate bar. They thought this could not be done and that we would need to buy an expansive amount of land to operate a chocolate factory. We proved them wrong.
Since 2014, we’ve been able to distinguish ourselves as more than just sisters. We learned to make chocolate from scratch—literally from the cocoa bean itself all the way to the chocolate bar. We took courses together on confections and trained with chocolate makers in the field.What many don’t know is that there is a difference between being a chocolate maker and chocolatier. Chocolatiers are known to use already made chocolate to make truffles and confections. Chocolate makers often make their chocolate from the cocoa bean to the chocolate bar. We and the ‘57 team are chocolate makers. We take pride in being Ghanaian chocolate makers, making chocolate where cocoa grows!
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