Habits of Happy People – A Perspective

A recent column from INC. Magazine provided a “scientific” view of what made people happy. It is an entertaining read: “9 Daily Habits of the Happiest People You Know According to Science.” While we don’t necessarily concur or embrace all of them, several did resonate with us at The Happy Chocolatier:

#5 They give their time and money away.

We think volunteerism and donating to good causes does indeed make one happy. In our experience it is always a good feeling to help another. So, we try our best within our means to give back to our community.

#6 They are grateful.

Focusing on what we are thankful for – even the small things – does indeed make us happier. Starting a small business and growing it despite many challenges makes us happy. Instead of focusing on the challenging problems, we think about the things that have gone well. From that, we have the energy and focus to work through the problems that inevitably arise.

Nothing brings us a smile – and consequently some happiness – than a short anecdote from a customer about how our chocolates brought someone a little bit of happiness. We are indeed grateful for the comments.

#7 They are more physically active.

While we aren’t out there running any marathon, we do believe that activity is good for the mind, body and soul. There is definitely a link between activity and happiness. Activity can express itself in many ways…from a nice relaxing walk in the woods to running around the shop during the busy season!

One more for good measure.

We would add one more “habit.” A small treat – in our case a truffle Cubze perhaps – each day can be a little respite from a busy day and provide a small bit of happiness.

One Year In The Chocolate Business – Are We Still Happy?

This October marked the one year anniversary of the public launch of The Happy Chocolatier. It seems just a short time ago that we were developing our signature Cubze and writing the business case for The Happy Chocolatier. Now, a year later, we have a lot under our belt – not simply the extra few pounds, but the valuable learning from our mistakes and successes.

This first year has been a great learning experience. As we pause to think about what has happened vs. what we have yet to achieve, it is hard to believe all the items on the long list of new experiences and projects that the team has accomplished. After building the plan, securing financing and building out the facility, we then tackled the development of a full line of chocolate products and gifts. We didn’t just hire people, we created a culture and developed team of associates who work together to provide high-quality products and a memorable experience. And none of the team ever worked with chocolate before. On the back end, we mastered a variety of new software programs to run the business and developed processes to make the business run smoothly (or as smoothly as one can in a few months’ time). We learned very quickly which marketing levers were most effective and now understand first-hand the power of social media.  We’ve had our share of mistakes, yet we’ve managed to learn from them and move forward.

It has been very satisfying. We had an idea and brought it to life. We built a business from nothing. And it is clear others appreciate what we’ve done. That appreciation has been expressed in many ways:

  • Many repeat customers who not only frequent our shop, but recommend The Happy Chocolatier to friends
  • Consistently positive comments about our products from our signature Cubze to our boxed assortments to fun items like chocolate covered pretzels and peppermint bark bars
  • Many followers on Facebook and Twitter plus those who’ve signed up to hear from us through our newsletter. People want to talk with us and hear from us about chocolate. How great is that?
  • Compliments about The Happy Chocolatier team and the experience that they’ve help create for our customers
  • Continued support from our local community

So, yes we are indeed happy with our venture!

As we move into our second year, we want to build on the strong foundation we’ve created despite the economic uncertainty. We know first-hand that people love chocolate. Many view chocolate treats as affordable indulgences that might even have some health benefits. Well, we want to continue serving our customers today and new customers in the future. We will expand our product line, streamline the ways in which we do business, and reach out to new customers by marketing our retail store, highlighting our mail order services, selling our chocolates through other outlets and providing a first-rate product for corporate gift giving.

Many, many thanks to our employees, family, many friends (new and old) and our loyal patrons for their support! We sincerely hope that The Happy Chocolatier is indeed bringing some bit (or bite) of happiness to your lives as it has to ours.

Is Candy Getting a Bad Rap?

Well, after a summer hiatus I’m back at it. I recently came across an interesting piece entitled, “Candy Love,” published in The Manufacturing Confectioner. What caught my eye was one of the comments on candy and happiness. The article points out that countries with the highest per capita candy consumption rank the highest on the Global Happiness Index. While industry trade people are generally making the case for the benefits of their products, I thought this article had some merit because it was based on some interesting data.

The premise of the article is that candy and chocolate get a bad rap and that it is undeserved. Moreover, it notes that Americans should stop feeling guilty about consuming candy.

Some points in the article I found interesting and I leave to my readers to develop their own informed opinions on:

1)      Candy contributes to obesity – well, maybe not.

Americans do consume a lot of sugar. But, per capita candy consumption in the U.S. is 24.5 pounds. Americans get only about 2% of their calories from candy. So, if we removed all candy from American’s diets, it wouldn’t make a dent in the obesity rate. Also, the rate of candy consumption in the U.S. which has decreased since 1997 is inverse to the increase in obesity.

2)      Candy is bad for children – well, maybe not.

Candy in moderation can be part of a healthy well-balanced diet. We can teach our children about making smart healthy eating choices that include candy. The key point is “part” not the core of a healthy diet. Everything in moderation.

3)      Candy has no purpose – well, maybe not.

Candy and chocolate are part of our culture. In many ways, it is linked to our celebrations like Halloween, Christmas, Chanukah, Valentine’s Day, Easter, weddings, baby showers and more. It is also something that is accessible to almost anyone in our country. It is something all can partake regardless of social status, etc.

These three points don’t even begin to address potential health benefits of chocolate. These are a subject for another post.

Well, clearly as The Happy Chocolatier, I am a bit biased. I love chocolate. My kids love chocolate. But, we view it and consider it a treat not a staple of our diet. A little candy and chocolate as a treat is special and enjoyable, thus providing us some happiness.

Did You Know? February 11, 2012 is World Happy Day!

Okay, so this is a bit of a made up holiday like Sweetest Day. And, yes if you Google “happy day” you’ll find quite a few version. However, World Happy Day is linked to a really interesting movie, Happy.

Simply, it is a movie about happiness. More specifically, it is a feature length documentary that takes viewers on a trek across five continents in search of the keys to happiness. Through interviews and telling the stories of people around the world from a rickshaw driver living in the slums of Kolkata to Ed Diener, known as Dr. Happiness in America, the film addresses fundamental issues about happiness and sheds some light on how people might lead more fulfilling and happier lives. The movie has received several awards from various film festivals. I’ve previewed several clips and read quite a few news articles about the movie, and am looking forward to viewing it in its entirety.