Jean Thompson: CEO of Seattle Chocolate Company

Episode 397

Today we are joined by Jean Thompson who is the CEO and Owner of the very exceptionally Seattle Chocolate Company and jcoco. A longtime fan and investor in the company during her previous life as an executive at Microsoft, Jean acquired Seattle Chocolate after the Nisqually Earthquake destroyed the company’s factory in 2001, and with no prior C-suite experience, boldly stepped in as CEO to rebuild the business from the ground up. You will love this interview including hearing more about Jean and her team’s responsible sourcing initiative. This episode is filled with so much inspiration and takeaways you won’t want to miss it! On this episode of #TheKaraGoldinShow.

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Kara Goldin 0:00
I am unwilling to give up that I will start over from scratch as many times as it takes to get where I want to be I want to be, you just want to make sure you will get knocked down. But just make sure you don’t get knocked down knocked out. So your only choice should be go focus on what you can control control control. Hi, everyone and welcome to the Kara Goldin show. Join me each week for inspiring conversations with some of the world’s greatest leaders. We’ll talk with founders, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and really some of the most interesting people of our time. Can’t wait to get started. Let’s go. Let’s go. Hi, everyone. It’s Kara Goldin. Welcome to the Kara Goldin show. And we are so excited to have our next guest. Here we have Jean Thompson, who is the CEO and owner of Seattle chocolate company. And it is such an incredible brand, so tasty in so many ways, but also has another brand called J cocoa, which you may not be as familiar with, but you’re going to get to know it as well. And you’re going to be dying to try these chocolates if you have not tried it. So a longtime fan and investor of the company. All right, I should say she was during her previous life as an executive at Microsoft gene actually was in a position to acquire Seattle chocolate after the Nisqually earthquake destroyed the company’s factory in 2001. So sad. But she had no C suite experience, but had just decided that she needed to step in and figure out a way to continue the efforts, all the incredible efforts of Seattle chocolate company. So she did and that was in 2001. I’m excited. So excited to hear more about Jean are teams responsible sourcing initiative, plus with the cult favorite brand, J Coco, all of the things that they’ve done to build that today, including donating almost 4 million fresh servings of food to date. Incredible, incredible. So I just love the company, the products and the story from what I know so far. So I’m super, super thrilled to have gene with us here today. So welcome.

Jean Thompson 2:28
Thank you so much, Kara, thanks for the great introduction to I think we’re doing a little story. It’s great.

Kara Goldin 2:33
Absolutely. So really excited to hear more about everything that you’re doing. But before we get into hearing about your companies, I’d love to hear kind of your background. And and did you ever think that you’d be a chocolate entrepreneur?

Jean Thompson 2:51
No, I didn’t even know there was such a thing. Or maybe I would have aspired towards it if I knew. Yeah, I had, you know, as a typical kid that had no idea what I wanted to do. I went to college for liberal arts because of that. And then I thought I’d be like a psychologist or something, because people have always fascinated me. You know, it’s interesting, because I think that’s a key part of being a CEO of a company is sort of the psychology of other people and enjoying working with other people is always a nice side. And then I kind of got my start in tech, because my father worked in tech. So he got me that entry level job that break that we all need back in, you know, the the early 80s. And then ended up working for Microsoft, through some good strategic moves on my part, and loved working there. And can you imagine in 87, to 91 right place at the right time, so much responsibility, so much opportunity, really exciting rocketship. And then I had my first child who’s now 32. And when I went back to work after my maternity leave, all of a sudden, nothing seemed as exciting or interesting to me anymore. Because I you know, back in those days, we had to leave the house at seven, and didn’t really get back to the house until seven. And so then you have this little child at home that you just feel like, I felt like I was missing out on so much. So I ended up quitting Microsoft, retiring temporarily, and staying home with kids that I had my daughter six years later. And when she went off to kindergarten is when I got involved, I knew I wanted to do something else. The volunteer worlds, the schools and whatnot was really not for me. Like, come on people. Let’s get some stuff done. So I ended up it just coincided with Seattle chocolate running into difficulty after that earthquake, and really never having found any financial success in its first 10 years. And so I thought let’s pitch in, you know, I’ll just see what I can do to help as somebody with a marketing and sort of lightweight sales background.

Kara Goldin 4:49
So you had been an angel investor in the company. I mean, I love this backstory. So how it kind of came to be so can you share a little bit more about that?

Jean Thompson 4:59
Yeah, that was really more just there was probably a dozen people that were, you know, gave a certain amount. And you remember what it was anymore in the early 90s, to Seattle chocolate, it was this startup company. But they right away bought the same machinery that I use today with, obviously, lots of little modifications. But the two plants that really make the truffles in the bars that are the basis for both of my brands, they bought them early on, they’re highly, highly automated. And they went into like a ton of debt. So they took on these investors, angel investors, and really, it was just like, Oh, that’s cool. They’ve got a lot of potential and capacity. And it’s chocolate, I didn’t really think it was gonna be and I never really was involved for the first 10 years other than just, you know, writing the check and that kind of thing. And then when the earthquake happened, and they needed to move quickly, they went to the investors and said, would anybody be willing to fund it? And that’s when I got involved to the degree where I became the owner, because it was so costly to you know, move those machines, find them in a new building and have it temperature controlled and insulated, and everything that you need to make chocolate. At that point. I was the owner.

Kara Goldin 6:08
So interesting. So and what was kind of thinking back during that time? I mean, what, what was kind of the hardest thing about all of a sudden, I mean, this is a whole new thing for you, right? You had been in tech, you hadn’t ever been a CEO of a company, you hadn’t even been a founder? Right? This is, this is a, you know, you’re you’re trying to reset, I guess a company that had started but you wanted to, you know, change some of the economics of it, for sure. And so, I mean, what was kind of the hardest points. In those early days,

Jean Thompson 6:49
the hardest part was I just really had no idea how to go about approaching it even right. I didn’t know what I didn’t know, that saved me, I just went into it thinking it’s chocolate. And by then I’d had, I’d been working at it for I think only six weeks, helping them with marketing and sort of observing the chocolate aisle in the grocery store and what competitors were doing. There are nowhere near as many competitors back then as there are now and just sort of getting a handle on why these people do not know how to market to women. This is crazy. And so when I saw in house was like, What the heck are they doing with like, all this bland packaging, it’s super Earth toned, because somehow we wouldn’t know as consumers that it was chocolate if it wasn’t in a brown wrapper? I don’t know. Like, where’s the color? Where’s the fun, right? So I felt like there was so much potential from a marketing and a product standpoint that I think it duped me into thinking, well, the rest will just fall into place, right? Only because I really didn’t know. So then when I started taking over, or did take over photos and overnight thing. I just started asking people questions, I had no idea what I was doing. Right. So I didn’t know what to even start with when I didn’t, I had never read any financial documents. Before that point. I didn’t even know what a balance sheet was. Right. So I didn’t come with any experience. And because I had a liberal arts degree and a psychology major, I never even took an accounting course. So this was all foreign to me. And it took me a really long time to get a grasp on that. So that’s probably the thing that was the hardest for the longest for me. But the rest of it, I just sort of took this common sense approach. I remember reading the Malcolm Gladwell book, blink, and like, okay, that’s what I’m doing. I’m totally following my instincts. And he says it’s okay. So that gave me sort of a shot of confidence, but, and then I just listened to people in made took one problem at a time. And so nothing seemed really too daunting to take on at the beginning, just one foot in front of the other.

Kara Goldin 8:47
So when did you know that this was going to make it? Right? That because you were sort of bringing it back from a rocky time? I mean, was there a moment when, obviously you were not only doing the accounting and the operations, but you’re also having to sell the product? I mean, this was a very small team. I mean, did you ever fear that you couldn’t figure it out?

Jean Thompson 9:12
Oh, for 10 years, 10 years, I was certain that it was an unsolvable problem for me. There were times when I was like, just probably any other CEO was at the helm here, we would be doing better faster. And I’m not the best thing that ever happened to this company. I haven’t like a big liability. And, you know, the imposter syndrome happens with Africans, you gotta fake it till you make it and yeah, lacked confidence a lot. But I joined an organization of entrepreneurs called entrepreneur organization, and that really helped me because, you know, you would hear them talk about similar insecurities or impostor feelings and, and then they, you know, reassured me that it’s your company. You get to do what you want to do and define it and it’ll, it’ll become what you make it is a direct reflection of you. So it is by definition, okay for you to be the leader, number one. And then it was like, I just don’t know if it’s a good business model, right? I mean manufacturing in the United States and Seattle, Washington, is that a good idea? Will we ever be able to turn a profit? Yeah, I had those insecurity, it wasn’t insecurities, I mean, it was facing facts, and not knowing how to solve them, and how to push through to see success on the other side, for a really long time, like 10 years.

Kara Goldin 10:31
I always talk about the timeline. And and actually one of the points on hence, timeline, the company that I founded, was getting into Starbucks. And it was a low point, when Starbucks decided that they were going to discontinue our product, because they wanted to put higher margin business sandwiches into the case. It was at that time when they decided, you know, they didn’t own a percentage of us and and it just didn’t make sense. made sense for them didn’t make sense. For us. It was a massive hit on our bottom line. And, and I fault nobody but myself in that, because we had about 40% of our overall business, sitting in the hands of a major retailer, your products are in over 8000 stores, maybe even more since that information than I had, but like, how do you stay ahead of the competition? I mean, you talked about there’s so many chocolates that are out there. And and I think you have to have a quality product for sure. But it is marketing as well, and packaging, and all of those things like how, how do you differentiate yourself and really stay ahead?

Jean Thompson 11:47
Well, I don’t think you really can beat the competition, right. So I never think of it as that I think of it as like there’s room for everybody. So you have to find your kind of unique thing that matters to you. And then of course, the company reflects your values. And so people these days, with access to information and websites, and everything will align themselves with companies have similar values. So that’s great, those will be your people, right. But for us in terms of a product we are, and have always been for the Seattle chocolate brand truffles, so the bar is soft in the center, we add coconut oil, a little bit of coconut oil to that. And then we add these little twist wrap truffles that are they’re nice because they’re individually wrapped. And you can have like two or three of them, and you can put them in gift boxes. And in fact, sale chocolate really got its start as a gift chocolate company. And that was sort of our thing, right from the very beginning was beautiful gift boxes. And even the bars, you know, sort of have the the unique art just on the bar that becomes a gift in and of itself. And we have Happy Birthday bars and thank you bars so that you can use them instead of a greeting card. So that’s sort of always been our thing is that as beautiful on the outside as we are on the inside, and then this melt away mouthfeel. So because of the coconut oil melts a slightly lower melting temperature and explodes with flavor in your mouth, and it’s extremely creamy. And people repeatedly cite that as the reason that they love our brand and love our chocolate. So we stuck with that. And we kind of avoid doing your jumping on trends and things were like, Nope, this is who we are. And we’ll do our own thing. And one of the things that sort of differentiates us, in addition to the product itself is the packaging. I mentioned the gift ability, so we collaborate or we actually hire independent artists to do our packaging for us. Because how many ideas can we have? Yes, so having these, usually women, usually American, but we’ve got as far as Holland, the Netherlands to an artist that and they will do an entire line. Or they’ll do a bar or a series of bars for us. And we put a little description of them on the inside and their signature on the outside and they become part of part of our brands and it makes them little works of art.

Kara Goldin 13:59
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Jean Thompson 16:23
Yeah, so we because we’re name is Seattle chocolates. It’s always been sort of a regional tie. And you know, I never liked that. From the beginning. I was like this isn’t I mean, how many other brands do you know that have a regional name, you just don’t see them have long term success. I mean, Seattle’s Best Coffee was the original person who had the Starbucks idea. Starbucks came in far more clever name, better marketing came in and bought them and they just disappeared. Kentucky Fried Chicken KFC, right. So it always bugged me as a marketer, that it was Seattle chocolate, because I thought it would limit me. But so I thought, well, what I’ll do because I already have quite a following now, in 20 years of followers and people who love the chocolate is I’ll come up with another brand. And I wanted to go in some direction that I didn’t want to mess with the the formula for success for sale chocolate, and I wanted it to be a solid bar instead of a truffle bar, I wanted it to be small bars in a bigger package. So you could eat an ounce of chocolate kind of in moderation, if you will. And I wanted it to be more of a fine chocolate. So in the chocolate industry, there’s some stratification there’s like sort of everyday chocolate like a Hershey bar, right. And then or drugstore chocolate you might call it and then there’s specialty chocolate, and you’ve got like Seattle, chocolate Lindt. You know, people that are that make delicious chocolate with finer ingredients in more crafts, and more care in their packaging, and their sourcing, etc. And then there’s fine chocolates. And you’ll see those at various specialty shops there, they tend to be $10 $20 A bar. And what they are is sourced directly from a specific origin. And from a particular type of chocolate a cocoa bean. So there are a fine flavor of cacao right. So that’s J cocoa. So J cocoa was sort of as is my aspirational brand where I think the future needs to go for chocolate. It needs to be a craft industry and it’s starting Are you see it, you feel it, I call it the chocolate Renaissance. Where it’s we’re coming back to really understanding and lauding cocoa, for what, for what it is this beautiful, fermented farmed product. That was there’s so much crap that goes into it. And yet, nobody’s really getting paid enough, because we feel we can’t spend more than three or $4 on a chocolate bar. Right? It’s the legacy of the Hershey bar, right? I mean, people early as with chocolate is man, the rest of you’re just ripping us off. Now there’s so many different ways of sourcing and crafting it. And once people recognize that and sort of acquire a taste for cacao, which is the tree right, the bean, then I think they’re gonna see the difference between the two. And I think there’s room for both. So Jay, cocoa is, you know, our way of sort of leading people into Hey, try this and acquire a taste for him, because I think you’re gonna like it. It’s really complex and interesting.

Kara Goldin 19:12
So I shared with a friend that I was going to be interviewing you and she actually grew up in Seattle, and she said, Oh, their factory tour is amazing. And yeah, so she had she had been to it. I have not been to it yet. But next time I’m in Seattle, for sure I will. I’m so curious. Like, how else have you gotten the word out about your brand? I mean, obviously, I think that’s, that’s brilliant, because people can touch it and experience it and feel it and talk about it. But how else have people learned about the brand?

Jean Thompson 19:46
You know, we have two retail stores, one in our factory. And so that’s very regional play and then one at the airport at the Seattle Tacoma airport, a slightly broader reaching audience, and then we actually find our product on Alaska Air. Lions, the J cocoa is given to the gold flyers and Seattle chocolates in their famous fruit and cheese platter. And then, of course, we do all the classic sort of social media, Instagram, Facebook, and you know, a little bit of Pinterest and a little bit of tick tock trying to get the word out. But that’s a very slow process. I mean, that doesn’t seem to be talking to the same people all the time, you know, I’m now trying to embark in a little bit of a LinkedIn, just regular presence for myself, not the company where I can talk about these issues. And it won’t necessarily be representative of the company, although I am kind of inextricably linked to my company, but still getting some information and education out there. And then it’s just, you know, those little chocolate bars are the, you know, the only they’re the billboard ads on the shelf, which I think is why our, you know, artists, they’re really fun and packaged designs, right people see them, they look really different. They have to stand on their own in a really crowded world. And that’s it. That’s about all with that horse going for us.

Kara Goldin 21:02
What do you think is kind of the, from a consumer perspective that most consumers don’t know about chocolate? I mean, obviously, taste, you can truly taste the difference once you’ve had incredible chocolate. But what do you think is kind of the, I don’t know, dirty little secret of the industry that maybe if somebody’s not in the chocolate industry, they wouldn’t know?

Jean Thompson 21:25
Well, I think there are some dirty little secrets in any kind of a, an agricultural product that is grown in mostly developing nations, right? It’s a it’s a equatorial rainforest crop. First of all, I don’t think anybody really knows anything about chocolate. That’s interesting. It’s like we haven’t had that. I guess it’s 100 years that the wine industry has on us in terms of being an organized entity that has people coming and doing tastings and comparisons and flights and all the stuff that they’ve done around educating people on the grape and the vine and the whole process, we all are like, sort of armchair warrior experts on wine, but nobody knows anything about chocolate, they don’t know where it comes from, they don’t know that grows on a tree necessarily, they don’t know what the pod is all about. And that’s the beans are how many beans it takes to make a bar or the fact that it’s fermented and then dried, and then roasted and then stripped away and ground down. And then like slowly cooked, there’s so many processes that go into turning what is naturally a kind of a bitter bean into this delicious, sweet people think of it as a sweetener, right, because of the last 200 years of chocolate, when in reality, it’s actually a savory product, it’s bitter, and it’s acidic, and it’s stringent in by nature. And then the the sweetness comes from sugar, right, which is really a great way of bringing out the flavor. But naturally, it’s kind of a savory bean. So people don’t know anything, then the dirty little secret comes in the fact that, you know, there’s just too, there’s not enough money in that product, to pay all those processes, and the people that do those processes, the right amount for a healthy life, you know, and I mean, there’s different regions of the world around that equatorial belt that are really troubled. And unfortunately, those are the ones where 70% of our chocolate comes from, and those are the West African countries. And that was sort of like, you know, a colonial background where the, the plants were brought from Latin America, where they’re indigenous, and they were brought over to Africa because they could grow them cheaper with slaves, right. And so this lingers, farms are owned by farmers, right, so they’re not slaves, but then they can’t make enough money during the harvest, it’s very labor intensive. So they have to go and get like, you know, people from adjoining countries even in it’s just, it’s a really difficult problem to solve because the government’s kind of involved and there’s traders involved and everybody’s kind of okay with the way that it is, even though they say they’re not very difficult to get in, like I would love to, I’m just gonna start buying from a farmer in the Ivory Coast of see if I can make it a female owned Co Op or something. And I’m gonna pay her directly so that she can have a better life can’t do it can’t be done. It’s blocked. So it’s a tough problem. So I you know, we do Rainforest Alliance certification with our most of the chocolate, as I said in the world is from those regions, and for our sale chocolate brand, it is largely from those regions. And so we do Rainforest Alliance, certification, which is like Fairtrade and organic, and, you know, good for the environmental combined. So that feels good. And then for Jay cocoa, I decided I was going to go to Peru, you know, people in Peru, they’re not rich, they’re poor still, but they, their kids go to school and they have healthy lives and they can run it like a small little farm, you know, family business. So that’s the dirty little secret. Is it a secret I mean, had been all kinds of, you know, specials and shows on this, but I think people don’t want to think about it and want to know that.

Kara Goldin 25:08
Yeah. So what you’re talking about is your your commitment to responsible sourcing. I read a lot about that. So all of J, cocoa is Peru, or currently, all of it is Peru. Yes. So interesting. So Well, I mean, I think it’s great. I, how did you decide to really focus on that, above and beyond the fact that it’s, you know, obviously, you’re curious about it, and you started to learn about it, and you’re like, how can we do better? I mean, what was it that really made you think, like, let’s dig in here more, because I know you and your team has spent time in all of these places, too. I mean, what was there, something that just sort of made you I mean, think that this was the right thing to do.

Jean Thompson 25:59
My notes, the right thing to do, isn’t necessarily the right thing to do to take your business away from these two countries that rely on this crop, right? That’s not necessarily the right thing to do. But so for J cocoa, I joke that I was a bit of a coward. And I just was like, I have to look myself in the mirror, I have to feel good about where I’m sourcing, the cacao. And also, coincidentally, and really just as important, because it is indigenous to that region. And people say it’s indigenous to Peru. And of course, Peru was much bigger back then, like it included Ecuador, and Venezuela and whatnot. But they that is, they have so many more fine flavor cacao trees there, you know, because they grew up, they just grew there, right. And they grow on the side of the street, and nobody had to plant them even right. So they have a tremendous amount of sort of genetic diversity there, which is very interesting. So that was another big reason to go to Peru, for j cocoa, where we’re really bringing forth the cacao flavor profile. But also, you know, I don’t want the Africans to lose their income, like I’m afraid that people are going to when they learn about this going to boycott chocolate, like this is bad. We can’t have we can’t be any part of the sausage does not eat chocolate. Okay, well, now all those farmers are going to be desperate, even to a worse degree. And you know, what are they going to do they have farms is all they have going for them. So my goal is to figure out a way to source the chocolate from Africa might not be Ivory Coast, which may be the most difficult, but maybe it’s gone on maybe it’s Nigeria, so we can sort of help that region and help rebuild it over time. But it’s really quite a. So I think when to answer your question, that sort of roundabout did is I just looked in the mirror and said, I have to do something different?

Kara Goldin 27:42
Yeah, they’re definitely well, and it reminded me I mean, I, I had been working on a big initiative in Washington around clean water. And it was something that I was living every single day. And I had many congressmen talking to me about, or asking me if I was a lobbyist. I mean, it was it was a, it was definitely some. There weren’t many other entrepreneurs or CEOs showing up in Washington to talk about, like, why isn’t our water free of pee fast and some of the other things that no one was talking about at the time, but I felt like I had a responsibility to take the information that I had to try and create change. And we made some impact, not fully. But it was, it was definitely a something that I felt like and I’m very proud of that we were able to definitely build awareness and get people, even people who were not in the industry to understand that there was a problem. And hopefully, there’s more people who are talking about it now.

Jean Thompson 28:52
Well, and I believe that as entrepreneurs and small business owners, or maybe not so small, in your case, we have a responsibility, we have a responsibility because we can make change, right? We don’t have a board of directors that are you know, make sure the profits there, right. But that isn’t our motivator. Our motivator is to do the right thing in our you know, that’s really the motivation in my life. Now, I don’t have to be working anymore. I want to, I want to because I think I’m making an impact. And I actually want to give a consumer a choice like you did for healthy water. I want to give consumers a choice where the packaging is fully recyclable or fully compostable. It doesn’t have to be wrapped in plastic, very hard to find, like good luck finding a toothpaste that isn’t wrapped in plastic, right? If you’re trying to do your part for the planet, and we just turned carbon neutral last year as a company because we’re like, No, we need to focus on this. This is a big problem that obviously if you’re using a product that’s grown in the earth, this is a really big problem for our category, but it’s a problem for everybody alive and so something sustainable or ethical, sort of farming practices or sourcing is something I want and seems to have a choice. And I’m not the only one that that does this. Right. But the more people that do it, the more people are gonna start demanding it.

Kara Goldin 30:08
Definitely. And I think that’s, that’s important. And sometimes you’re coming up with what the projects are right that people should be focusing on. It’s not I think that that’s the key thing that I learned as an entrepreneur, that just because somebody isn’t focusing on it doesn’t mean that it isn’t a problem, right? That it just kept coming in front of me as a, you know, a huge, huge problem that we were seeing in in the supply. And we were already removing it from any water that we were bottling, but we really found that it was, you know, there were a lot of other beverage companies that knew about it, but that it was just, let’s not talk about it. And let’s close our eyes to it. And I just couldn’t sit with that I it just to me just seemed like it was something that we really had to surface. So I feel like there’s a lot of what you’re doing as well. And sometimes I think that the large company, employees, right, that are dealing with manufacturing just might not. Maybe they just don’t have an entrepreneurs mindset, which is definitely what you have. What are you most proud of?

Jean Thompson 31:20
I think that’s just, you know, the fact that I am willing to go against the grain and do the more expensive, more difficult. Sometimes it takes you to your knees, because there’s literally only one vendor in the UK, in the whole world that does a compostable substrate that we use for the twist wraps on our truffles. And so guess what, much more expensive, didn’t run in our machines properly. And the sometimes they’re just out, there’s no place else to go. And, you know, it’s not necessarily the smartest thing to do. But we do it. Because if you if we don’t do it, then who’s going to do it? Right. So that does make me proud. And I think it makes my team proud. Like, they’re, they’re the ones to say please, can we not? I mean, it’s just crazy. And I’m like, No, we’re doing it. And then they get all on board. And they see the difference it makes and how people respond to it. And they feel really proud that we take that stance, right. So that I think is and then of course my people, I am just I people always say that, but honestly, I am not a very well rounded person, I would say like I’m like so far off in my right brain, right that my left brain, you know, wouldn’t be able to run a company, right? So the logical part of my brain, I need people that sort of round out those rough edges for me. And they also have to be very sort of risk tolerant. For somebody like me, who’s like, let’s try it, let’s do it. Right, they have to feel comfortable with that. And then they also have to be like paying attention to all the details and doing the analysis. And so I feel really fortunate because together we’re like a mighty crew. And without them I would be sorely lacking in a lot of areas. So I’m proud of the team that I’ve

Kara Goldin 33:03
been able to build the team that it sounds like you have is it’s not easy to do that. And yeah, it takes a long time. And it’s and it definitely, obviously the success of your business, I think Is it you, you have to look at the team because it’s very, I don’t I can’t name one single business that has been successful without an amazing team in place. I mean, it’s just as part of, it’s just part of the overall formula for sure. So best advice you’ve ever received, probably about business, but it could be about just life in general.

Jean Thompson 33:42
I guess it’s that one I mentioned earlier, like, made the biggest difference for me in my life. And I also think of like, you know, I am the best leader for my company by definition, right. So just give it time, you know, don’t rush it don’t feel like you there’s some sort of a and that’s I guess the advice I would then turn around and give to somebody else is if you give yourself a long enough runway, if you have the luxury of a long enough runway, you’ll find success. If you run out of money or you run out of time or run out of patience or faith in yourself and you give up too soon, then you will fail. Right? So I’ve been doing this now for 20 years and still haven’t fully mastered it. But because I’ve been having fun along the way, which is like probably my number one priority in life I I stick with it, stick with one step forward, two steps back one step forward, three steps back, that was the way it was for many, many years. So sort of having the faith that what you have imagined is something that other people will want and it’ll be successful.

Kara Goldin 34:41
Such great advice. So Jean, thank you so much for coming on. And Gene Thompson, CEO and owner of Seattle chocolate company and J cocoa. We’ll have all the info in the show notes as well. But thank you again and everyone definitely needs to try These amazing products. And thank you, Jean, you’re so inspiring for sure.

Jean Thompson 35:05
Well, right back out to Kara and I really appreciate the conversation and the opportunity to be on your show.

Kara Goldin 35:11
Thank you so much. Bye bye. Thanks again for listening to the Kara Goldin show. If you would, please give us a review and feel free to share this podcast with others who would benefit and of course, feel free to subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode of our podcast. Just a reminder that I can be found on all platforms at Kara Goldin. And if you want to hear more about my journey, I hope you will have a listen. Or pick up a copy of my book on daunted which I share my journey, including founding and building hint. We are here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And thanks everyone for listening. Have a great rest of the week, and 2023 and goodbye for now. Before we sign off, I want to talk to you about fear. People like to talk about fearless leaders. But achieving big goals isn’t about fearlessness. Successful leaders recognize their fears and decide to deal with them head on in order to move forward. This is where my new book undaunted comes in. This book is designed for anyone who wants to succeed in the face of fear, overcome doubts and live a little undaunted. Order your copy today at undaunted, the and learn how to look your doubts and doubters in the eye and achieve your dreams. For a limited time. You’ll also receive a free case of hint water. Do you have a question for me or want to nominate an innovator to spotlight send me a tweet at Kara Goldin and let me know. And if you liked what you heard, please leave me a review on Apple podcasts. You can also follow along with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn at Kara Goldin. Thanks for listening