Job Title: Chocolatier and owner, The Violet Chocolate Company
Why She’s Top 40: She’s raising the profile of Edmonton’s food scene on an international level and supporting worthy causes with the sale of her charity bars
When the chocolate shop where she worked gave notice it was closing, Rebecca Grant had a decision to make – venture out on her own, or leave the chocolate game entirely.
“It was kind of fate when they were shutting down,” says Grant. “I thought, ‘Is this actually what I want to do? It’s now or never.'” Grant bought the store’s equipment and created The Violet Chocolate Company while she was still a full-time student at NAIT. Luckily, Grant’s professors allowed her to complete some of her projects (in addition to her culinary diploma, she has diplomas in business administration management and marketing) using her own company as the subject.
Grant was the sole employee for four years – and that meant a lot of trial and error. “There were a lot of sleepless nights,” she laughs. “Mornings would be administrative stuff and school, afternoons would be trying to get all of the flavours together and experimenting, and then at night I would sit down and get packaging. I had a graphic designer at the start and costs were too high, so at night I taught myself how to use Illustrator, how to use Photoshop.”
She has single-handedly doubled the company’s profits every year since it was founded, and racked up countless national and international awards for her innovative flavours. However, Grant has also used her sweet treats and loyal fan base to give back. In addition to her regular offerings, she’s designed several charity bars, with a portion of proceeds going to the MS Society of Alberta and Youth Empowerment and Support Services (YESS). She’s currently in the process of working with YESS’s artist- in-residence to create a new label for the YESS charity bar.
She acknowledges that with the company expanding and growing – she hired her first employee just last year – some of her many tasks will eventually be delegated, but she never wants to fully hang up her apron. “I like having my fingers in it all,” says Grant. “I’m constantly learning and juggling the different sides of the business and, I think if I wasn’t, I’d be bored.”