Meet Chocolate Ancestor
Bold Xchange written by Doug Spencer
Back in fall 2018 when I first spoke to Latoya, the founder of Chocolate Ancestor, she had already plotted a timeline for her journey from part-time to full-time entrepreneurship. Her goal was to make the leap in 2020. However, the 35-day federal government shutdown, which bled from the 2018 holiday season through nearly all of January, was so unexpected that Latoya never could’ve prepared for it; she lost her job.
But there’s a power in preparation. When faith and support are mixed in, there’s always hope, too. Despite the loss of her job well before her desired quitting date, Latoya was able to become a full-time entrepreneur. Recalling the transition, she told me “it was more of a push than a leap.” And sometimes that external force is exactly what we need to overcome our internal hesitancy.
The name Chocolate Ancestor leaves no room for doubt about where the company sources its inspiration from or who it seeks to leave an impression on. When I think about the story of my chocolate ancestors—or the small pieces of Latoya’s story that I know—its power and pain come from the unexpected twists and turns. Those are the moments when you learn deeper truths. Will you fight or will you fold? The easy choice is to fold. My ancestors didn’t. They were resilient—they survived! Literally, they were unbreakable.
Based in Atlanta, Chocolate Ancestor has worked the pop-up shop circuit, participating in events both big and small. Even with larger events like Market Friday at Spelman and Juneteenth ATL under its belt, Chocolate Ancestor has its eyes set on more growth, offline and online. “Just knowing that I have people rooting and praying for me and [Chocolate Ancestor’s] success makes me want to take this opportunity and make it as big as possible,” Latoya told me.
Of course Latoya’s planning and prioritizing nature helps Chocolate Ancestor’s operation, but in the end customers want products they’ll truly connect with. Chocolate Ancestor’s pieces—apparel and home good accessories—are conversation starters with soul. I’m (almost) sure Latoya would create her designs even if she was doing them for free. For her sake and Chocolate Ancestor’s, I’m glad she doesn’t have to. “Knowing that my passion project means a lot to people other than myself is such an amazing feeling,” she said. The Do It For The Culture tee will be in my rotation; it’s self-explanatory and a reminder to keep pursuing a purpose greater than myself.
When I asked Latoya what advice she’d give someone else starting a business or difficult project in general she said, “remember to run your own race, it’s not a competition.” She continued, “stay focused on you and your dream and push harder.” Given what I know about Chocolate Ancestor, that’s advice lived and not just preached.
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