Welcome to Fashion INVESTIGATOR INC.’s new Small Business Feature Series. Vancouver based, Oenomel Chocolates, is the first business to be featured and just in time to celebrate their first year anniversary.
Oenomel is a Greek word that means sweetness and strength. It’s what Melody hopes her chocolates bring to people.
I met Melody Hu, founder of Oenomel Chocolates on Instagram. I was intrigued by this lovely, ambitious organic chocolatier and started following her profile. She has graciously invited me to her local events but unfortunately, my schedule has not allowed me to attend thus far. My fingers are crossed that I will be able to join her next one!
M: When did you open your business?
MH: I launched my business on February 24th, 2021. So, in a way, my business is my Valentine. I have so much passion and love for it!
M: Did you always want to own your own business?
MH: I have always dreamt of building a brand that incorporates values, such as craftsmanship, sustainability, and wellness. And using that brand as a tool to create wealth for my loved ones.
M: Where are you from? If you moved to Vancouver, why did you move here?
MH: I was born in China and spent my childhood both in Shenzhen, the Silicon Valley of China, and Auckland, where sheep outnumber humans. I finished high school and got my Bachelor of Science Degree at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, where I studied Neuroscience and started my first venture, a macaroon startup business. And gradually, I fell in love with this city and decided that I wanted to build my business and home here.
M: What was your inspiration for your business?
MH: I wanted to create a product that incorporates health, wellness, and craftsmanship. I chose chocolates because there are too many sweets that are unhealthy. They tend to be filled with saturated fats and harmful amounts of sugar. I only use natural ingredients and organic, fair-trade chocolates that are sweet and delicious.
M: What did you do before opening your business?
MH: After graduating from UBC, I worked as an intern in a stem cell research company in Vancouver and then in business development for an international law firm in Shenzhen, China. I gained invaluable experience from both jobs.
M: If you were in a different industry, did you enjoy your former career?
Looking back, I did enjoy my former careers. When I worked in the law firm, I had guidance, and learned to work with others in a team. These are lessons that I have brought to start and develop my own company as an entrepreneur.
M: Would you advise others to pursue a degree before opening their own business?
MH: I was glad that I got a degree before opening my own business. University was an experience beyond what I chose for my major. I learned to learn, I gained mentorship from professors who have expertise in their field, and I joined clubs where I made lifelong friends.
University life has a lot to offer if you embrace it. There are many famous successful entrepreneurs who don’t have a post-secondary degree, so it is possible to succeed in business without a degree.
But you should know yourself and know what environment and path are best suited for your career development. And no matter which path you choose, you have to believe in yourself, have confidence, and never give up.
M: What would your advice to future owners with dreams of owning their own business be?
MH: See the value in yourself and your business and bring these values to people you wish to serve.
Work hard, understand and love yourself–Do these things well, and extend it to your employees.
Don’t stop learning, don’t be afraid to try new things and fail.
Never give up. There’s always a way to succeed.
M: Do you have a philosophy in life or a famous quote you would like to share with everyone?
MH: “Dream big, start small, begin now.” — Robin Sharma, The 5 AM Club
Oenomel Chocolates is celebrating its first year anniversary on February 24 and although it is a a startup business, it gives back to the Metro Vancouver community.
In December 2021. Oenomel Chocolate organized a fundraising event and raised 200 CAD for a non-profit organization to distribute food to insecure communities.
Over 20 local musicians, artists, and businesses participated, and over 100 guests joined us for a beautiful Warm Company and Wine Evening. It was an event worth remembering.
In 2022, Oenomel Chocolate continues to support charities with good causes. We will be organizing fundraising events and making donations to charity through the sales of some of our products.