Meet the Artisans: Jacek Chocolate Couture
Meet The Artisans: Jacek Chocolate Couture, Alberta
At Saul Good, we take pride in collaborating with artisans from all corners of our great country. Today, we're shining the spotlight on one exceptional Alberta chocolate maker that has captured the hearts and taste buds of chocolate enthusiasts across Edmonton and beyond. Welcome to the delectable world of Jacek Chocolate Couture!
Founded by the visionary Jacqueline Jacek, Jacek Chocolate Couture has grown from humble beginnings in a basement operation to becoming a prominent name in the chocolate industry. With three retail locations spread across Alberta and a thriving online store, Jacek Chocolate Couture has become a beloved local business that has truly raised the bar for artisan confections in the region.
Nestled in the charming Sherwood Park neighbourhood, Jacek Chocolate Couture has become synonymous with the best chocolate in Edmonton. With meticulous attention to detail and a passion for handcrafting exquisite chocolates, Jacqueline and her talented team have earned countless awards and accolades on both national and international stages. Their dedication to quality and their unwavering commitment to creating moments of pure delight have made Jacek Chocolate Couture a true connoisseur's delight.
We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Jacqueline Jacek herself to delve into the fascinating world of couture chocolate. In our interview, we explored the origins of her passion, the challenges she faced in growing her business, and the inspiring vision that propels her forward.
But that's not all—Jacqueline will also share her dreams for the future of Jacek Chocolate Couture. Get a sneak peek into the exciting plans she has in store for her business and tantalizing collections to expanding her reach beyond Alberta.
So, grab a cup of your favourite hot beverage, indulge your sweet tooth, and join us as we delve into the captivating world of Jacek Chocolate Couture. Discover why Jacek Chocolate Couture, a favourite amongst our gift baskets at Saul Good, has become the go-to destination for chocolate lovers in Edmonton and beyond.
Why did you start Jacek Chocolate Couture?
I've always been an entrepreneur. I started my first business when I was 11, and have never thought of having a corporate career. I always knew I wanted a career that created joy. My top two loves in life are fashion and food. So, I decided to combine both of them to create fashionable chocolate.
How did you get started?
I started by learning about chocolate. I was in New Zealand and decided to enroll in a Canadian school online to learn about chocolate and the principles of how to make chocolate. It wasn't until I moved back to Canada 5 years later that my husband and I chatted about what we wanted to do with our lives and where we wanted our careers to go. I had this idea to create a fashionable designer chocolate brand. To get me started, my husband and my father worked together to build a commercial kitchen in our house. I worked my corporate job (sales and marketing) during the day and pursued my chocolate career at night.
What gets you excited about going to work every day?
I’d say it’s the people that we work with and the people that we serve.I think what we do is important. We serve the guests in our store, but we are also serving our communities. We buy our chocolate ethically, which helps to support the international communities our chocolate comes from. The more chocolate we buy and sell, the more joy we spread in our communities locally.
What sets you apart from similar companies?
We have a company-wide commitment to joy. We sprinkle joy in everything we do - from our guest experience in-store, to how we design our product. For example, in our store, you walk in and get a sample of our chocolate. You can look at our beautifully designed boxes. And the experience (minus the sample, of course) is replicated online. We’re trying to create joy at every customer touchpoint.
What are your business values?
JEETA! The acronym stands for Joy, Experience, Excellence, Teamwork, and Artistry. My team strives to represent JEETA every day. Joy is always at the core of the business from who we hire to how we source our chocolate.
What is your business's greatest accomplishment?
I’m proud to have built a solid team. None of this exists without everyone here working so hard and committed to providing JEETA.
What are people most surprised about when you tell them about your company?
First, people are always surprised to learn that we started in a basement. And second, they're surprised at how hands-on our production is. For example, the designs on our bonbons are painted by hand. People don't realize how long it takes to do something that detailed. I think at first, people don't understand why fine chocolate is so much more expensive than confectionary. It all comes down to labour.
Where do you get inspiration for new Jacek chocolates?
From everywhere! I see the beauty in everything. I’m always thinking about the seasons, and asking myself and my team, “what do the seasons taste like? What are the flavours you know for spring, summer, fall, and winter? How can we emulate them? Our collections are not chosen just by me—it's very much a group effort. We all put our heads together in the creative process to come up with something amazing.
What’s the toughest part of your work? Or, what's been your greatest challenge?
Seasonality. 40% of our annual business is in the lead up to Christmas (I’m sure Saul Good can empathize with that). We have to make sure that we are staffed properly and that we're taking care of our people so they're not overworked and get sick. I’ve learned that you can't say yes to everything. Forecasting is such a challenge. If there's one thing for sure about forecasting, it's that we'll never get it 100% right.
Where do you want to go next with your business? What’s your goal?
Soon we will be exporting our chocolate bars to Europe. We have buyers there already, so it's a matter of getting our ducks in a row from an operational perspective. We have customers lined up in Romania, Germany, Belgium, France, and the UK. We couldn’t be more excited! We’ll be working with a broker for boutique stores that is values-aligned and willing to grow with us.
What's the best feedback you've ever gotten about Jacek chocolates? How did it make you feel?
The feedback from customers is what keeps me going. It feels so good to hear how our chocolate brings somebody joy. People can taste the love in our products. That might sound ambiguous, but the reason we do what we do is to create an experience. We are always thrilled when people can taste that.
From the humble beginnings in a basement to the expansion of Jacek Chocolate Couture into multiple retail locations and around the world, Jacqueline's passion and commitment have propelled her to new heights.
At Saul Good, we are thrilled to feature Jacek Chocolate Couture in our chocolate gift baskets. Each bite of their meticulously handcrafted chocolates is an indulgent experience that brings a touch of luxury and delight to any occasion. From the intricate designs to the exquisite flavours, Jacek chocolates capture the essence of artistry and love.
So, whether you're treating yourself or surprising your loved ones, explore our locally-sourced gift collections and experience the joy of Jacek Chocolate Couture. Indulge in their award-winning creations and discover why they are a beloved favourite among our selection of artisanal delights.