Today we’d like to introduce you to Merissa Marcuccella.
Merissa founded Integrity Cacao in 2012 to satisfy a desire to share the healing potentials of cacao with her clients. She is a certified Ayurvedic Health Counselor from the California College of Ayurveda, en route to her practitioner’s license in 2018 and then eventually her doctor certificate in 2020. Her passion for health and longevity began with her early introduction to alternative medicine as a young child. She experienced several serious auto-immune disorders, whose treatment opened her awareness to many forms of alternative medicine, including acupuncture, TCM, naturopathic remedies, reiki, and gem therapy.
During a near-death experience, she learned the root causes of illness being emotional in nature through her own health-related issues and realized at age 8 that her path was to help teach people how to maintain their empowerment and health through living an illumined lifestyle. Integrity Cacao was born out of a sincere need to beautify and empower all people with loving intent through ingesting high vibe, healing foods and fulfilling lifestyle practices.
Merissa enthusiastically shares her wisdom of Ayurvedic philosophy, energetic alignment, and diet/lifestyle practices to help people take their health into their own hands. She combines her Ayurvedic education with traditional Hawaiian Huna, Shipibo cosmology, Western/Vedic astrology, and shamanic practices from all over the world, enabling her clients to experience an expansion of consciousness and actively engage in heart-centered living through the heart-expanding properties of her cacao creations. Each piece of chocolate is made with love and aloha, and it is palpable.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Being a single parent, Merissa struggled with student debt and living expenses for nearly a decade while simultaneously raising her daughter, caring for her elderly grandmother with dementia, working full time, and continuing her education. Integrity Cacao was a pipe dream on the back burner while she struggled to survive.
Integrity Cacao took 5 years to get off the ground due to financial setbacks. In this time, Merissa took multiple courses with Women’s Economic Ventures to learn more about owning and managing her business while operating in farmers markets all over Los Angeles and the Conejo Valley to test the profitability of the market on the weekends.
2017 was a new year, and Merissa decided she was done putting her dream as the last on the list. Her daughter was watching, and Merissa wanted to prove to everyone and herself that one can succeed in business through education, faith, strategy, and love. She took several weeks at the beginning of 2017 to really dig into her psyche to dislodge limiting beliefs and self-worth issues. She then was able to work from home writing a book for a client, and used this income to invest in a total re-brand, graphic design and retail packaging for Integrity Cacao. Her story is one for abused women everywhere to take back their power, settle for nothing, believe in themselves, and go for their dreams. The only one in the way is you. Focus your fire like a laser and go for it.
Since December of 2017, Merissa has been running her chocolate business full time and has expanded into 30 retail locations in the Conejo Valley and Los Angeles. She is raising her daughter, still caring for her grandmother, and seeing Ayurvedic clients regularly. She also provides mentoring for other people starting in business, and those who have a dream and do not know if they can or how they can, Yes, you can.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Integrity Cacao – what should we know?
The Integrity Cacao story. It all started back in August of 2012. I was working at a local health food store and two things were happening:
1. I noticed many customers could not eat anything packaged because it all had soy, gluten, peanuts, or some other common allergen. I thought, wow these folks need something clean to enjoy.
2. I could not afford to buy the raw chocolate in the store at that time, so I started making my own. After experimenting and sharing my concoctions, the feedback was so beautiful I decided to pursue cacao as a business; to share quality, clean products made with love, to show my daughter how rewarding it is to be an entrepreneur and to set a new standard for gourmet food.
This is how it all began, and 6 years later we are expanding and sharing our passion for cacao both as a health food and a pleasurable, mindful indulgence. Yes, you can have chocolate and feel great about it!
Absolutely zero compromises for ingredient quality is our motto. We sweeten with organic grade A robust maple syrup from Bascom family farms. Each piece of chocolate has 2 grams of sugar. Our sugar-free chocolates are made with organic stevia and non-GMO birch xylitol.
Our cacao is sourced from the Longevity Warehouse. This Fair Trade cacao is the revered species Arriba Nacional, and it is not grown on a barren lot like typical CM cacao. This cacao is literally harvested from the jungle in Ecuador where the locals have to ride donkeys on the treacherous terrain, swatting at wasps while they pick the pods. It’s truly nature made, and the workers are paid fairly, which is so critical to having a quality company.
No Synthetics! Our flavors are organic essential oils without solvents, organic dehydrated fruits, organic floral waters, or organic, non-irradiated spices.
-No additives or preservatives.
It is our mission to change lives through good chocolate from the sourcing of ingredients, all the way down the production line, to it melting in your mouth and elevating your life experience. Many blessings!
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Most of our chocolate formulas are 4 ingredients! With cacao being the major ingredient. We do not use any artificial anything and focus on Fair Trade sourcing.
Our flavors touch on ancient healing traditions globally, from Ayurveda to the ancient Maya. We also formulate for global cultures and palates. We have something for everyone, from the most traditional dark chocolate lover, mainstream palates looking for a healthy alternative, to those who like to mix it up with innovative creations.
- Starting at $3 direct
- Website: integritycacao.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @integrity_cacao
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IntegrityCacao/
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/integrity-cacao-thousand-oaks-2