A Sweet Escape
15 Sep 20
USC dental hygiene alumna launches DIY chocolate making business while sheltering at home earlier this year.
A GLOBAL PANDEMIC, RECORD UNEMPLOYMENT, a societal reckoning with systemic racism, murder hornets, raging wildfires, an overly active hurricane season — if ever there were a time to find even the most simple of ways to comfort yourself, it’s 2020.
It was against this chaotic backdrop that Brittany Pourmorady DH ’16 began to indulge her lifelong passion for chocolate.
In early March, just as the state of California began its Safer at Home campaign to curb the spread of COVID-19, Pourmorady, like most of us, suddenly found herself with a lot of time on her hands.
“I was home, unemployed and trying to figure out ways to keep busy and maintain productivity during that time,” says Pourmorady, who had been working at three private practices before the pandemic hit.
Always a chocolate lover — Pourmorady had always enjoyed tinkering in the kitchen, making healthy dark chocolate — she decided to spend her time cooking vegan dark chocolate bars to share with her loved ones.
“Given our stay-at-home situation, I took a step back and decided it would be so much more appropriate and fun for people to make their own dark chocolate bar from scratch at home,” she explains.
And, with that, came the idea for Chocbox, an all-natural vegan do-it-yourself dark chocolate kit shipped to customers so that they can create their own delicious chocolate in the safety of their own homes.
“The most important part of this endeavor was that I was very passionate about the idea from day one,” she says. “It really goes to show that when you’re passionate about anything, nothing can get in the way of your success.
Health through dentistry; happiness through chocolate
There are seven different boxes to choose from, ranging from Fruity Fiesta to Mayan Spice to Java Junkie, with the Almond Crunch box being the most popular choice.
What started as a pandemic pastime has grown into an actual business; Pourmorady says she’s already sold more than 600 boxes to individuals across the country.
“I truly love seeing people all over the country enjoy the unique experience of making homemade chocolate as well as become addicted to its incomparable taste,” she says.
While it might seem like a conflict of interest — a dental hygienist pushing sweets on the general population — Pourmorady assures that she’s a dental hygienist first, particularly when its her patients who are purchasing Chocboxes.
“Once I share my product with my patients, I flip the switch from chocolatier to hygienist and stress the importance of flossing and brushing after they eat it,” she says, with a laugh.
As restrictions eased, and dental practices were once again able to open, Pourmorady had a decision to make, suddenly finding herself the founder of her own small company.
“Once I was offered the option to go back to work, I decided to reduce my work days and devote more time to Chocbox,” Pourmorady says. “It was a risky decision but also extremely thrilling for me. My life has completely changed, and I have never been happier and felt more in line with my purpose.”
Pourmorady chose a career in dental hygiene because she was always passionate about health and helping people but always dreamed of coupling dental hygiene with other pursuits.
“I’m so fortunate to be able to practice both passions of mine,” she says, “health through dentistry and happiness through chocolate.”
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