See more about Nicole Patel’s company, passion, and future goals.
Eight years ago, Delysia Chocolatier’s owner, Nicole Patel, left her fast paced job in Corporate America to open her own business. With annual goals in mind and a new relationship with Becker Vineyards (Delysia being the first chocolatier in Texas to create chocolates with a local winery), Nicole has put her chocolate making passion on the map with Delysia’s delicious truffles, barks, and molds. Now in 2016, she is named Top 10 Chocolatier in North and South America and continues to expand the company even more. If you’re interested in pursuing a passion, take a quick peek into the history, present, and future of Nicole and Delysia Chocolatier as she talks about how she followed her passion.
*Note: The interview format has been changed to fit the purposes of this post, but these are her own true and inspiring words.
What is Delysia Chocolatier’s background? Where did your inspiration come from?
Nicole: Delysia Chocolatier was launched in October 2008, but I created my first truffles in December 2006 when I was 8 months pregnant with my oldest son. These were made as holiday gifts for my husband to take to his colleagues. A few days later, our son was born (4 weeks early) and I didn’t think much about the chocolates. Everyone loved them, and every time we were invited to a party, there was a potluck, or a get together at our house, I was always asked to bring some chocolates. Over time, I found myself making chocolates more often as a stress release from my corporate engineering job.
What most people do not realize is that you worked as an engineer in Corporate America. What factors encouraged you follow your passion and open Delysia?
Nicole: I loved my engineering career and thrived in corporate America. I wanted to become executive management and had established a career path to achieve these goals. I knew there would be challenges as a female in a male dominated engineer field, but I was willing to tackle these obstacles head on. However, when I had my first child the roadblocks became harder to overcome and the harassment became part of everyday life. I took it like a champ, but a few years later I became pregnant with our second son and the harassment became unbearable. At five months pregnant, I was laid off and spent the next 3 years fighting in federal court a discrimination lawsuit.
I don’t usually talk about this part of my life except with close family and friends. But it is part of the fabric that makes me who I am. I loved my career and worked long, hard hours. I was a company man, dedicated to my work and wanting to see the company I worked for be successful. But I learned, unfortunately, that corporate America doesn’t always look out for its employees in the same way that we look out for them. That was hard for me to understand, hard to grasp – I felt very betrayed.
This is the drive that is behind Delysia Chocolatier. I know that the time I dedicate to the business, the sweat and tears I put into its success, that no one can take that away from me. This is why we are completely 100% personally funded, growing the business by word of mouth without support from financial institutions or investors.
What would you say to someone who is about to make a great leap in their life by following their passion?
Nicole: Follow your dreams and believe in yourself. Confidence is so important when embarking on a new adventure. It is this confidence that will get you through the challenging times, giving you the strength to persevere. And despite what you think, no matter how much you plan and research, the things you don’t know will outweigh what you do. Eight years into the business, this is still the case!
Nicole represents the courage it takes to take a leap of faith and follow a passion. She falls in line with other great business women like Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss from Rent The Runway, Katrina Lake from Stitch Fix, and even Ellen DeGeneres! The idea of fear is irrelevant if your desire to follow a passion burning greater than your current situation. If you’re ready to take that next leap, just read some advice from another inspirational business woman: “follow your passion; it will lead to your purpose” -Oprah.