Chocolate Inspirations has launched Happy by Chocolate, a line of products designed to spread positivity during difficult times.

Marcy Goetz said it was a statement by motivational speaker and former Chicago Bear Desmond Clark that first stuck with the Chocolate Inspirations team, which is helmed by Goetz and her mother, chocolatier Pam Vieau. Clark said “bad things happen, you have a choice to be negative or positive,” Goetz noted.

“The one statement gave us a new perspective and we wanted to pass the positive message along — a little something to make people smile, to take a pause, enjoy something delicious and enjoy the moment,” Goetz said. “This small act of kindness you do for yourself and others will stay with you throughout the day.”

So, in March 2020, Chocolate Inspirations put together little cellophane packages of its traditional and vegan chocolates with a label reading “BE Happy.” The Roselle, Illinois-based company sold them throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We put it online and sold 30 the first week,” Goetz said. “After we noticed with each order our customers purchased at least one ‘BE Happy’ chocolate.”

The line evolved into Happy by Chocolate after Clark reposted the ‘BE Happy’ on social media. Through the post, Chocolate Inspirations connected with John Gilmore, Clark’s former teammate, and his business partners, Brandthumb.

"They shared our mission to bring more happy to the world, one piece of chocolate at a time.” Goetz said. “We combined our talents and worked together for months via Zoom. They are in Florida, and to this day, we have not met them in person.”

Their virtual efforts paid off. Happy by Chocolate is now available in retail-ready pouch packaging, with a space on the back for writing personal messages. 

Available varieties include:

  • English toffee
  • Cinnamon Toast toffee
  • Espresso toffee
  • Ruby Chocolate toffee
  • Vegan English toffee
  • Vegan Espresso toffee
  • Vegan Cinnamon Toast toffee
  • Vegan Peanut Butter Pillows

A 2-oz. pouch retails for $5.99, and a 4-oz. pouch retails for $9.99.

Goetz said Vieau developed vegan toffee 13 years ago after a customer asked them to recreate a plant-based version of her favorite treat.

“Consumers adapt the vegan/plant-based lifestyle for a variety of reasons: ethical, health, allergies, environmental — their choice should not mean they give up indulgent, premium chocolate,” Goetz said. ‘We wanted her to be able to treat herself to something special that she loved.”

Happy by Chocolate is available online and at the company’s store in Roselle. Goetz said wholesale opportunities are available. 

“Our Happy by Chocolate line will serve (retailers) well, especially with their premium base,” she said. “Our story and mission to promote happiness will resonate with shoppers and be a good reflection on their brand. The incredible taste will make their customers smile and make Happy by Chocolate a must on their weekly grocery list.”