Candice Puthawala the founder of Beauty Bar Chocolate began her career in the fashion industry, but didn’t find her true calling until she gave up her work in fashion and went into the business of creating chocolate. Her delicious chocolate bars are not only sugar-free, but they are also dairy free. The two chocolate bars Candice currently offers on her online shop and at various retailers don’t just taste good, they are also wrapped in beautiful packaging inspired by Parisian soap boxes giving them a feminine, vintage and yet modern look. Beauty Bar Chocolate is all about fashion meets wellness and focusing on being beautiful from the inside out.
In this interview Candice shares about what is was like going from the fashion industry to founding her own brand, the process she goes through to source just the right ingredients for her beauty bars and some of the benefits of a sugar-free plant-based diet.
Eat for Peace, Focus & Glowing Skin — Candice Puthawala
You previously worked in the fashion industry before founding Beauty Bar Chocolate. What was the biggest change you noticed in your health and overall well-being after changing career paths?
It’s a huge shift from fashion to the wellness world. So, there were a lot of changes. I would say first I was able to start breathing and have more peace. That was a major change. I had lived on a fast forward button in fashion working 24/7. I was a young mom and I had that element as well. I was dealing with my body breaking down and all those autoimmune issues. Changing my career took a huge weight off me and I was able to focus on finding the underlying cause of my autoimmune issues due to stress. It took years to get where I am now. I’m going into my 4th year and it feels like it was just yesterday that I left. I no longer have my inflammation and no longer have the autoimmune issues I was dealing with during my career in fashion. The healing really came when I started to care for myself from the inside out and having more self-love. We hold emotions in our body and it wasn’t until I started changing those things that I started to heal. People would comment that I looked so peaceful, calm and glowing than I had before changing careers. I’m still continuing to heal.
When did you first come up with the concept for Beauty Bar Chocolate?
It all started after I left the fashion world, I started working with an integrative doctor and she really found the underlying cause of my health issues. She took tests, she worked at healing my gut heal, and I went sugar free and added adaptogens to my diet. I never thought I was a sugar addict until I went sugar free. I didn’t like chocolate before, but after going sugar free I started to crave chocolate like I never had in my life. I looked at all the markets and couldn’t find a chocolate that didn’t have all the fillers in it. At that point I knew I wanted to have my own product. I already knew that loved working with people since I had been a merchandiser when I worked in fashion, so I thought what came with a product that makes people feel beautiful from the inside out.
I started culinary school (Matthew Kenney/ Plant Lab Culinary School) after getting my health coaching degree. When I graduated IIN (The Institute for Integrative Nutrition,) we had to come up with our own product and I came up with the chocolate brand right then and there. I wanted it to have beautiful packaging, be sugar free, have adaptogens, and make people feel beautiful.
I launched it a year and half ago and that’s why I say that Beauty Bar Chocolate is more than chocolate. It’s about bringing inner peace from within.
Tell me a bit about the process you went through to source just the right ingredients for your Beauty Bars.
I had been testing out different adaptogens, so I knew about what brands that I liked to use. I wanted to use Rhodiola from Sun Potion (which relieves stress, fatigue and helps balance hormones) Pearl collagen (that comes from the sea) Cacao from Divine Organics (that creates feelings of bliss and calming energy) and I wanted to add Lakonto Non-GMO Monkfruit. The ingredient part was easy, but creating the actual chocolate bars took me months because I had to keep making it over and over to get it just right.
The packaging was a whole other process. To get an idea from your mind to having a physical product in front of you is the hardest part. I went through three artists before I got both the packaging and my website the way I wanted them to look. That part taught me to be patient, which was something I also needed to work on. Not everything can happen overnight and it was a real labor of love. I would get frustrated at times, but I knew I would figure it out.
You currently offer two chocolate bars a Beauty Bar Chocolate with Pearl Collagen + Adaptogens and a Calm Collagen Bar featuring Hemp + Pearl Collagen and Adaptogens. Do you have more chocolate bars planned in the future?
I’m actually planning a holiday one. It’s going to be a chocolate mint bar with cacao nibs, spirulina and pearl collagen. I already have the box design and I’m excited about the chocolate mint. I personally love it, and during the holidays that’s the perfect time to bring that in.
There are also more products that I want to do in 2020, including adding honey to my bars.
What are some of the benefits of the adaptogens, collagen and Cacao that are in your Beauty Bars?
Adaptogens are a group of herbs that help your body adapt to stress. As women, we are always on a fast forward button. We are drinking so much coffee because we are tired all the time. Adaptogens come in and really help calm us down. Some can give you energy; some can keep you calm. They can really help you adapt to the stressors that we have in our life. They can give you focus but also keep you calm at the same time.
I added collagen because when we hit around 23-24 our collagen production starts to decline. Pearl collagen is actually considered an adaptogen and adding collagen to our diet gives us glowing skin, thick hair and nails.
Cacao is very grounding and it puts you in a good mood. Sometimes people will blame the cacao in chocolate bars for breakouts, but it’s actually the sugar, dairy and other fillers in regular chocolate breaks you out. When it comes to the percentage of cacao in a chocolate bar you want to have at least 75%.
Your chocolate bar was featured in Sunset Magazine in July 2018. What was it like seeing your product in print?
That was surreal because I just launched 2 months before. There was this mini market in LA called Om Nom, that was the first store that I sold to, and the editor of Sunset saw it and she loved it. She personally reached out to me and said she was going to feature me in the magazine. I couldn’t believe it at first, and I was like was this really happening. It was surreal, but also a confirmation that I was going in the right direction. I didn’t even have a website yet so I was scrambling to get my new website up and my packaging, but I told myself I was really lucky to have this amazing opportunity.
You recently collaborated with The Little Market to create a Market Bag. Tell me a little bit about the collaboration and what you enjoyed the most about working with The Little Market.
I had bought a bag from them, and I’m obsessed with The Little Market and I love that they are Fair Trade and they work with women in different villages. I wanted to make a market bag and I wanted to have a product with some meaning behind it. So I gave them the quote for the bag and they had Homeboy Industries screen print it. It’s made well, fair trade and they did a great job with it. I’m also hoping to eventually sell my chocolates through their online shop in future.
How did you decide on the quote that’s on the market bag?
I wanted a cute bag to arrive to events to have my chocolates and paperwork in. I saw it for the first time on Etsy so I asked the shop owner to make me the bag. It didn’t come out exactly like I wanted, so I worked with a saying I liked and changed it a bit.
In addition to running Beauty Bar Chocolate you are also a holistic health coach & plant-based chef. What was it that drew you to these two fields?
I had always been into wellness. I liked gluten-free muffins and I would have all these fresh foods. I always enjoyed healthy foods and cooking so, it was no surprise that I turned to the wellness field. I was so passionate about it and I wanted to learn more. After I finished school, I realized that I had lost parts of myself and I wanted to get back to my younger more artistic self. I actually went to the culinary school (Matthew Kenney/ Plant Lab culinary school in Venice Beach, California) for a class when I was in the fashion industry and I wished at that time that I could go to school there and leave fashion. So that’s why I was drawn to that school and that’s what brought back my creativity.
What are some of the health benefits of adopting a sugar-free, plant based diet?
One I don’t deal with low blood sugar anymore. My skin is clear and glowing. I used to have to get facials all the time, but I have to get them very often now. My inflammation and pain in my fingers is gone. There are so many great things about adapting to a sugar-free life. It has really helped me feel better overall and have more clarity.
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All images in this post are via Candice Puthawala of Beauty Bar Chocolate.