Our “Own Your Story” series continues!
Beginning September 1st, Sitti is featuring nine incredible refugee-focused brands through our on-going blog series. (You can find previous articles in this series, including nine amazing Women-Owned Business stories, here!) The “Own Your Story” series elevates the stories of partner brands featured in the Sitti Subscription Box.
Each quarter, we get to know the brands in our box, while gleaning priceless lessons and advice from their shared experiences. We talk about where the idea for their brand came from, and what’s made their journey unique. Our second box is all about refugee-led brands, as well as those making a direct impact within the refugee community. To learn more about our Surprise Subscription Box, click here.
Peace By Chocolate is undoubtedly one of the most successful refugee-led businesses that gained worldwide attention after Prime Minister Trudeau shared their story at the United Nations summit in 2016. Based in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada, the story of Tareq Hadhad and his family’s remarkable journey fleeing war-torn Syria and settling in Canada has been shared on virtually every media outlet and news station. Adding even more to their success, their incredible story was even made into a full feature film that was released this year. The movie titled “Peace By Chocolate” played at various film festivals in North America and has even won awards!
Tareq Hadhad founded Peace By Chocolate to carry the torch from his father who launched their chocolatier business in Damascus, Syria in 1986. After the unfortunate incident of an airstrike destroying their chocolate factory during the country’s civil war in 2012, Tareq and his family were forced to flee and leave everything behind. They lived in a refugee camp in Lebanon for several years before resettling to Canada in 2016. But Tareq did not want to give up the family’s legacy, so he founded the business that same year to share his family’s passion of chocolate artistry infused with Syrian traditional flavours of fruits and nuts into mouth-watering assorted treats. What began at a farmers market in his local community has now propelled the family into a thriving chocolate sensation. Their unique story melts your heart and sweetens your love for the brand, much like their delectable chocolate creations!
What is your brand's purpose/mission?
Our mission is to spread Peace and joy. The CEO Tareq often says "We are not in the business of chocolate, we are in the business of peace. Chocolate is the vehicle"
What makes your brand unique?
Our products are made with the highest quality and locally sourced ingredients. We wanted to make a product that was more than just the average chocolate bar but is still approachable.
When did this organization start? How was this organization started?
The original chocolate factory was based in Syria, before the inception of the company Peace by Chocolate. The Hadhad family was in the business for 30 years before the factory was destroyed by an airstrike. Now the family has moved to Canada to try and fulfill their dreams in a new home.
Tell us a story in your own words that speaks the truth about the experience of being a refugee-focused or refugee-owned business.
Our experience as a refugee-owned business was far more blessed than most. After beginning our business here in Antigonish (by beginning we mean selling chocolates at the farmers market), the town and county rallied together to offer their support to get us started. We felt not like newcomers trying to stake our claim in Canada but instead felt like family to the community who only wanted us to have success and to be part of that together. The truth of being a new business is not always pretty, and we have had hardships in the beginning as well, but our friends and neighbors never let us feel like those hardships were because we were not from here.
In a 2-3 sentences explain how your company impacts the refugee community.
We work very closely with refugee sponsorship groups and organizations to bring more families to the safety of Canada. We try to do our part via our Peace on Earth Society, as well as a pledge to hire 20 new Canadians by the end of 2022.
What is a recent exciting success?
Our most recent success has been the opening of our flagship chocolate boutique in Halifax. As well as the release of the Peace by Chocolate Film based on the journey of the Hadhad family.
What inspired the brand?
Tareq Hadhad and his father Isam wanted to find a way to continue the family business and also promote peace. In this way the idea of Peace by Chocolate, spreading the word through something everyone loves, was born.
What other refugee-focused brands do you admire?
The Migrant newspaper - From Damascus as well, Kameel Naswari helps to spread hope to other refugees and immigrants. Featuring success stories including ours!
What is the best advice you have for someone who is trying to start their own business?
Trust the businesses around you and reach out. Networking and relationships are very important. Do not be afraid to ask for help, these people are not your competition they are your community and you all want to succeed as a community.
**DON’T LEAVE WITHOUT YOUR DISCOUNT!** Visit peacebychocolate.ca and enter CHOCOBLOG2021 to get 10% off your entire purchase at check out!
To learn more about Peace By Chocolate, you can check out their social media pages at:
Thank you, Peace By Chocolate for sharing your story!
To show your support for Peace By Chocolate, follow them on Instagram or peacebychocolate.ca
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