03/05/2016
One bite at a time.

Words by

Tara Smith

Pana Chocolate had humble beginnings.

Founder Pana Barbounis remembers hand-delivering chocolate bars to retailers on his Vespa. He would take chocolate to friends’ gatherings and force feed his friends while asking for feedback. It was small business, but they were the early days.

Today, his business has grown to reportedly turn over $5 million annually, distributed throughout 3,000 retailers globally. It’s a big step up for a business that has only been around for a few years.

So how did one man selling chocolates on his Vespa grow into the multi-million dollar company it is today?

It all begins with the idea.

“A close friend of mine asked me to try some raw chocolate and when I did I thought, ‘I can do this.’ It just felt right, like it was meant to be,” says Pana.

“So from there I worked really hard on developing a chocolate I felt had the perfect taste balanced with the right texture, regardless of it being raw and vegan.”

Having opened his first business at 21 and gaining experience in a “plethora of ventures” since, Pana wasn’t afraid to jump into something that felt right.

“The key part was to develop a product that I felt confident was right, so I played with ingredients from all over the world until it was.

“It was a fun process that included doing research at friends’ gatherings to get people’s feedback. These friends were highly valued as their contribution has made Pana Chocolate what it is today.”

He makes it sound easy, but there are certain reasons why Pana Chocolate has been so successful.

Raw, organic, handmade, gluten free, dairy free, soy free, refined sugar free – it’s impressive a chocolate can be all of that and still chocolate.

“It is all those things and still tastes amazing. We love going to events because in that one moment, we get to see people experience Pana Chocolate for the first time.”

It’s what drove this little dessert start-up to the multi-million dollar business it is today.

As for Pana’s words of wisdom?

“Be kind and trust yourself. What you put out into the universe is what you get back, so be positive, apply hard work and keep going.”

panachocolate.com