Tabatha Carr is going coast to coast with her chocolate.
If you thought Dr. Tabatha Carr would be satisfied with just being the first Black-owned permanent storefront at Penn Square Mall after opening Good Girl Chocolate in July 2021, you would be wrong. After all, her plant-based chocolates that gave rise to the shop were also featured in Grammy and Academy Award goodie bags and won her a grant from Beyonce’s BeyGOOD foundation. In this conversation, Carr discusses how her business — and chocolate — have developed over the past year, and what’s next for her guilt-free sweet treats.
Congratulations on being selected for the Whole Foods Market Local and Emerging Accelerator Program! How has that experience been?
It has been a learning experience. The program goes over everything it takes for our product to be successful at Whole Foods, including packaging, marketing and distribution. There’s an audit process and once that’s behind us, we will start being in stores in the Southwest region. It will take about 12 to 18 months before we launch in Whole Foods Market stores across the country. I am so excited about the opportunity to take our product nationwide!
Does the chocolate-making process happen at your storefront?
Yes, chocolate-making happens here. We roast and grind our own organic, fair-trade cocoa beans from Ecuador and control all of the ingredients. It takes about three days from start to finish, and we make about 300 pounds a week. Everything is still non-GMO, dairy-, soy- and gluten-free, from bean to bar, using organic plant-based sweetener. There are two 70-pound grinders running all of the time. I think we’ll upgrade to two 200-pound machines and probably move to a bigger factory space eventually.
What’s next for Good Girl Chocolate?
QVC has always been a dream of mine. A couple years ago, they came to me with an offer, but at that time, I lacked the capital and resources. They made another offer more recently, which we were able to accept! We are offering “break aparts” — five-piece chocolates sold in sets of three. The customer can give them to their friends and family or keep all three for themselves. We’re also going to be offering our 18-piece box. These all will ship out by early December in time for the holidays.
Are you worried about being able to produce that much product?
I was also accepted into another six-month accelerator program called Act Tulsa. It’s a $70,000 capital investment with zero percent interest or equity. Good Girl Chocolate will pay the money back as we reach certain milestones. This investment will help us with what we need for packaging and scaling for QVC. I’ll be in Tulsa Monday through Friday for three months for coaching and education, with the other three months back here to implement what I’ve learned.
With all those projects, do you have any help?
Our factory was recently approved as a work experience site by the Guthrie Job Corps as part of its workforce innovation program. It offers assistance to underserved young people between the ages of 18 and 24. The program paid for interns with culinary experience who I taught the chocolate-making process. Any interns that I hire will have their wages paid by the Guthrie Job Corps for a year, which will really help me with growth, too.
What do you do outside of work?
Most of my life revolves around the business. I play piano at church and I’m active in my sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha. I have a 17-year-old dog, and I try to make time to network in my community. I’m doing what I love to do.
Good Girl Chocolate is located on the lower level of Penn Square Mall, and is also available online at goodgirlchocolate.com.