Meet Our Makers: Miléne Jardine Chocolatier
In this series, we chat with Steady Good’s vendors and contributors, to learn more about their craft, journey, and their connection with New York.
Miléne Jardine is a Chocolatier from Queens. She embarked on her journey of making sweets in 2016, to pursue what we all love: the intersection of chocolate and travel.
Read the Q&A below to learn more about Miléne’s calling, the purpose of her craft, and how her business has been impacted by COVID-19.
Miléne Jardine on creating in New York City
Milene is an NYC native who joyfully announces that “after visiting more than 35 countries I’m still proud to call NYC my home!” She feels that “there is a pulse and energy in NYC unlike anywhere else.”
Milene started her career in product development at Macy’s Private Label Design House. For 12 years she gained experience growing brands and international sourcing. With the companies 2016 consolidation, Milene found herself going through a major life transition, “I found the courage to return to my childhood passion for making sweets and create my own brand.”
Q: When/Why did you move to NYC?
A: I am born and raised in NYC. After visiting over 35 countries, I'm still proud to call NYC home. There's a pulse and energy to this city unlike anywhere else.
Q: Share a career-defining moment made possible by NYC:
A: NYC's resources for start-ups and entrepreneurs provided me with an incubator program to launch Milène Jardine Chocolatier.
Q: Can you tell us more about the startup incubator?
A: Entrepreneur Space - it’s a shared kitchen for start-up food makers. They have a team that guides you through certifications and licenses to launch your business and helps connect to sales/distribution channels and press.
Q: Have you worked with other organizations that have been crucial to your business?
Q: How have your views of NYC changed over the years?
A: NYC is a dynamic place that continues to see tremendous change throughout the years.
Q: How has COVID-19 changed the way you think about NYC?
A: COVID-19 illuminated ways NYC can better prepare for future pandemics and care for their people.
Miléne Jardine on her Craft
Miléne shares her personal travels with her customers through the flavor of her chocolates. She adds an emphasis on sourcing her products “responsibly and mindfully.” Miléne’s products use ingredients that are, “fresh with natural health benefits to offer a dessert that indulges and heals.” All of her sweets are made with premium dark chocolate, real fruit, nuts, and spices. Each chocolate is a refreshing flavor experience that represents a journey. For example, the lemons for Sicilian Salted Lemon Chocolate Bar originate in Sicily and the cacao beans for the 70% blend are from Peru and Ecuador, creating globally sourced confections.
Q: Which of your products do you like making the most and why
A: Hibiscus/Mint Chocolate Truffles called Goddess. I like the flavor and texture contrast of the thin dark chocolate shell with a creamy hibiscus/mint ganache center. The hibiscus colors the cream a dark fuchsia and the fresh mint fills the kitchen with a refreshing scent.
Q: If you could share your product with anyone, who would it be? Who is and how did you determine your target market?
A: I'd love to share my product with Willy Wonka. A health-conscious consumer who still wants an indulgent treat and foodies who appreciate exotic flavors. Through tasting events, pop-ups, and market feedback, I've been able to identify my niche.
Q: How have the challenges of running your business changed from when you first launched to now?
A: Previous B2B channels of distribution including corporate gifting, events, and wholesale has been significantly impacted. I've had to pivot more to a direct to consumer model.
Q: What else would you like people to know about you and your products?
A: The ingredients are mindfully and responsibly sourced. Made with premium dark chocolate, real fruit, nuts, and spices, each chocolate is a refreshing flavor experience. The assortment includes the truffle ginger/turmeric/black pepper, a spice combo with anti-inflammatory properties. The lemons originate in Sicily and the cacao beans for the 70% blend are from Peru and Ecuador, creating globally sourced confections. With new additions like gobo/burdock root, a cleansing adaptogen, the introduction of these balancing ingredients in chocolate encourage clients to add more of these nutrients to their diet. For the more conservative palate, there are options like Whiskey Sea/Salt and Pistachio. All flavors pair wonderfully with cheese and wine/spirits.