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Friday
Jul082011

VANESSA AND THE VEGAN CHOCOLATE FACTORY By: Bianca Ferrari Caruso

Meet Team Gnosis' newest member, Bianca Ferrari Caruso! We love her for her name, her passion, her get-it-done attitude, this incredibly delicious blog about her process of joining our team, and her obsession for chocolate, and we know you will too!. Call us in the office with your order and you might be lucky enough to get her on the phone! Hear Bianca's incredible voice here.

 

The Craigslist Ad shone brighter than the rest.

The words “You must love chocolate” jumped off the page and nearly knocked me over.

What? Is this a joke?  Did one of my friends from back home make a fake job posting to trick me?

I had just moved to New York from Los Angeles two weeks earlier. After sifting through what felt like over a thousand job listings, this one looked different than the rest.  It had personality and the words “vegan food”, “kittens”, and one of my favorite things on the planet, “chocolate.”

This can’t be real.  Calm down, Bianca.  Write a cover letter.  Stop wasting time.  Just do it.

The cover letter wrote itself.  I didn’t over analyze it like I do most things in my life.  The words flowed out uncensored onto the screen.   I laughed.  She’s either going to think I’m a crazy person or she’s going to love me.  I was hoping for the latter.

I met Vanessa Barg, the founder and owner, a couple of days after my midnight panic attack.  I believe within the first 5 minutes of sitting down for the interview, she offered me some of her divine treats.

Is this what this job is going to be like? People offering me chocolate all day long? Try this one…what about THIS one? Is this a joke?  Calm down, Bianca.  Nail the interview. Stop being weird and panicky. Just nail it.

I nailed it and we hit it off.  Just like old friends reuniting.  Except I was the nervous, floundering awkward girl talking to the confident, lovely business owner praying she’d pick me first for her amazingly, successful chocolate team.  That’s right, she calls it a team. She loved my cover letter and was impressed with my resume.  I would start my first day at the company about a week after the interview.

I arrived at the office for my first official day at Gnosis.  I met Charlotte, the dark chocolate cat and was quickly introduced to the world of Gnosis.  I caught myself writing down every word out of Vanessa’s mouth like I was a reporter.   I knew these excessive, college style notes would come in handy at some point.  I got to know the business of Gnosis, how orders come in, where everything is and most importantly the incredibly friendly customer service that Vanessa puts into each and every order.  Every person who calls to order chocolate you would think are Vanessa’s best friends, old comrades, and family even. Nope, just people who are interested in learning more about the products.   She is always more than happy to share.  You know that saying “Do what you love”?  I had never really seen it put into action until coming here.   

After getting my feet wet in the office, Vanessa decided it would be a good idea to go over to the kitchen to learn about the shipping and chocolate making processes.  I was baffled at how the operation worked so well with so few people.  I needed to see it with my own two eyes.  I imagined the kitchen to be a small space with Oompa Loompas hobbling around covered in chocolate.   That picture was almost accurate.

Danny and Lauren: The power team.   They have more inside jokes than Batman and Robin.  Danny, the man who is responsible for shipping all of the chocolate to the thousands of customers on time and in perfectly, edible condition and Lauren, the Gnosis Chocolatier,  the woman responsible for my chocolate wet dreams.  I know, a little graphic but I’m not playing around here.  THAT is how good this stuff is.  You wouldn’t believe the operation these two have going.  They have their designated areas: Lauren, in the kitchen, of course, and Danny in a walk-in-freezer-turned office where he’s happy to spend his days listening to heavy metal and making it happen.  They put me to work.   “Hey Bianca, do you mind breaking up these large sheets of chocolate so we can put them in the trail mix bags? Great, thanks.”

Umm… is this Candid Camera?  Are people going to jump out of the freezer and scream “Surprise! This is a scam.”  No, Bianca, this is real life. You are presently breaking up large sheets of delicious chocolate which you will then cut up into even smaller pieces to then place in the trail mix bags, which are filled with lots of amazing goodies.  Stop being weird and break up some chocolate already!

There I stood.  Plastic gloves on each hand holding huge sheets of chocolate bigger than my torso.  Danny was running back and forth between the actual freezer, that held the chocolate, and his office. He yells over “90s at Noon” on the radio, “How’s it going over there? Quality control!” and laughs.  Lauren was whipping up a batch of chocolate with confidence and ease.  She and I traded conversation  about our families and music while both concentrating on the matter at hand:  CHOCOLATE.   I felt like I was in on their secret world.  Granted, I was the new kid in town, but I still felt like I belonged.    That’s really all a person ever wants, isn’t it? To belong.   

I was sad to leave the chocolate factory but happy to get back to the office.  I needed to see behind the scenes to really understand how incredible the company really is.  They have grown 100% by word of mouth.   Pretty inspiring stuff, if you ask me.  Not only are they making products that I drool over nightly, they have also created a company based on the principles of love, intention and integrity.  Out of all the 80-something girls in New York City who applied for this position, Vanessa saw something in me that reflected these values.   I feel extremely grateful and also lucky to have found such a wonderful company on the verge of something big.

And do I also happen to love chocolate? Yes, yes I do.


Reader Comments (2)

Hey Bianca,
congratulations on your new job ;)
I got the chance to visit Gnosis soon after it had all started in 2008, and your very well-written words descirbe exactly how my impression of this place was back then. Apparently, nothing has changed, even with all the success that Vanessa has with her company. Good to hear that! I cannot imagine someboday having his office in the freezer though...I was freezing already after having been in there for about a minute :D
Good luck to you and Gnosis and take care,
JJ

July 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

Great read! I also discovered your youtube channel and watched you harvest raw cacao in grenada... What a great feeling that must have been.

July 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMike Zollner

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