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SLP 109: Chocolate Is The Answer – with Brigid Woolnough
14, Sep, 2021
‘The business has grown organically but it isn’t without watering the flower. Like there’s… anybody who says like, ‘Oh you’re so lucky’, I just feel like that’s the most incessant insult you could pass to somebody. It’s like saying somebody’s nice. Nice is a biscuit, I don’t want to be nice. I want to be bigger than that, same for the business. I think this year’s probably been my hardest year so far and that really had to do with scale., so growing… You know COVID hit last year and lots of businesses went on the downturn, however we didn’t, we went on an upturn… because chocolate is the answer for everybody’s problems!’
Going from primary school teacher and extrovert to a stay at home mum, without adult company Brigid Woolnough decided to start making wedding cakes. With a love of people, connection and creativity this grew as she studied and fell in love with making chocolate. Selling her sweet masterpieces at the markets is where the award-winning business of Kokopod evolved. Now with huge commercial space, a team of 8, Kokopod is servicing over 300 stockists. Here is this amazing entrepreneur’s story.
Brigid has a great network which helps her to take risks, but to go to the corporate leap she believes you have to really love it. This has to be at the core. Nothing else will get you through the tough grind of working your own business.
We talk about how Kokopod has grown organically, the growing pains, the highs and lows and how Brigid likens having a business to childbirth. She knows if you can get through that you can get through anything.
Brigid has not been without mishaps, problems and challenges in being an entrepreneur. She is strong and courageous. She works hard and knows that it takes her full attention and commitment giving us some tips on how to ride these waves.
When I asked is someone wanted to start a business she suggests to look inside your own soul if you want to it. If you are integral you will build a brand of integrity. If you are a deceitful type, you will build a deceitful business. Your life becomes your brand. You have to be careful and mindful. She says to find where you belong. It is easy to choose the short cuts, but as a leader Brigid likes to be around people who grown her and stretch her. She believes it is having authenticity, courage, grace and tenacity.
There is no doubt Kokopod makes really good chocolate with a strong sense of integrity from the nose to tail approach. Brigid knows the importance of knowing where they source their ingredients to suppliers to quality to who makes the chocolate, the care and attention to sending out the product and how everyone talks about the product.
This is testament as the leader. So she says to look at yourself internally first. Ask do I have the qualities to take me far? If you don’t have the qualities can you choose to step up and into those qualities. You do not have to have it all but you can choose to step up into it.
We talk about the movie Like Water For Chocolate… and I can highly recommend you watch it noticing how evocative chocolate really is. And just quietly this was the motivating film to call our first book Like Chocolate For Women!
With a 10yr old, 6 year old and a 3 year old, we talk about Brigid’s role as a parent and former primary teacher and her beliefs around showing up for her kids and being there. She believes it is demonstrating their love as parents not only with words but actions. She likes to talk about the why’s in life and explain to the kids the importance of boundaries. She also talks about how incredibly precious their advice is when it is reflected back at her.
I ask Brigid why she does what she does. And she said it is because it feels right. She wakes up every day and knows that she loves it. Sher loves working towards something that is bigger than her. It is not about settling. Not wanting yesterday’s news. She’s in a race to the top not the bottom. Her biggest response to why she does what she does is why not? It’s worth it. It’s about multiplying it.
We give a shout out to Heidi Meyer who hosted the Pyjama Summit where Brigid and I met and discuss the key to that weekend, which was that we showed up not knowing what we were showing up for. The secret was it felt right, so we just showed up in our rawest state! We all did. Showing up to show up!
The hardest part about doing something new or uncomfortable is getting there. It’s the same for any new circumstance. Every day she says you just show up. It’s a choice, it’s an action and you need to show up every day. And therefore, the good will come.
Brigid says showing up is loving ourselves.
Her definition of self-love is, You need to have a servant heart. It can’t be about anything else. It is because you want to be there. When you give you need to give it without thanks. You shouldn’t do something for something in return. Do it with a servant’s heart. Anything that you do. Your team, or your family, marriage or your kids… you are doing it because – a) it feels right, b) it seems like the right thing to do and c) it’s not about anything other than this moment in serving and showing up or giving in this moment. It is committing yourself to something with no expectations. And meeting it with no expectation. It’s just about stopping and being.
We talk about mother guilt… Brigid believes it’s different for everybody. Your choices impact your circumstances and your life. The things you do are to be linked to your values. Perhaps mother’s guilt is about needing to be somewhere else when you can’t be somewhere you want to be. It’s not for everyone to judge. It’s all relative. Juggling three kids is an example if they all have something on. Have to be attuned to who they are and ascertain if it is pivotal or not. Be in tune and connected to the people around you.
We are going through lots of strange times. I ask how Brigid is navigating the world right now as a business-woman and wife and mum. She is keeping to herself mainly. There are a lot of voices out there and Brigid thinks we are in a season. She is focussed on the goal of work, family and friends and staying in her lane. Keeping on the down low right now.
Brigid won an award for business in 2019. The sunshine coast has an extraordinary array of humans here and there is an incredible group of independent men and women and businesses. Brigid believes they are a cut above the rest, looking for more out of life. Being the captain of their own ships. It is an amazing part of the world for sure.
Her message on the journey of self-love. Be true to who you are and be ok with who you are. And if you are not ok then taking action to move upwards and inwards of who you would like to be. Without it you are leading a life of false opportunities. Knock down the wall and be authentic. Show up as who you are. Find your tribe and know who you are.
Her favourite quote is from Brene Brown
“Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.”
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