Founder and entrepreneur Ella Livingston, of Cocoa Asante, is experiencing a sales spike after recently being discovered by TikTok influencer, Keith Lee.

Livingston’s creations debuted on the popular TikTok page on March 18, when Lee first reviewed a selection of Cocoa Asante’s signature offerings.

Ella Livingston, Founder, Cocoa Asante

Lee tasted Cocoa Asante’s chai pecan caramel, blood orange, and dark and milk chocolate bonbons, as well as the chocolatier’s gold-swirled chocolate bars – rating each offering between 8 and 9.5 out of 10.

“I love when sweets are balanced. It’s salty, it’s nutty, the chocolate has the perfect snap on it… this is one of the most satisfying purchases I’ve made in a long time,” Lee says.

The TikToker’s positive review garnered more than 3.8 million views, selling out Cocoa Asante’s products in under 45 minutes.

Livingston posted a TikTok follow up, approximately 36 hours later, saying her daily revenue skyrocketed from just under $1,000 to approximately $25,000 in sales.

“Our lives are forever changed. Cocoa Asante is forever changed. Because we got so many orders, I now will be going in to turn in my resignation. I no longer have to work part time because I can now afford to pay myself something,” Livingston says.  “Keith, you have officially retired me from being a teacher, and to that I say, thank you.”

Lee posted his own follow up on March 20 commenting on his impact and thanking Livingston for her kind words.

“I know I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing, I’m walking on the path I’m supposed to be walking on. I’m forever appreciative, I’m forever grateful,” he says.

Cocoa Asante bonbons: Photographer Yasmin Rubayo.

Livingston’s story is now circulating through national publications including Yahoo!, Business Insider, Black Enterprise and AfroTech – bringing Chattanooga to the forefront as a leading city for thriving startups.

Founded in 2018 with guidance from entrepreneurial resources like Co.Lab and Launch Chattanooga, Cocoa Asante is one of the many small businesses operating out of the Chattanooga Chamber’s INCubator. Housed inside Hamilton County’s Business Development Center, the INCubator helps entrepreneurs reach success through a three-year, progressive development program – providing financial guidance and 127,000 square feet of working space to startups like Cocoa Asante. Its client success roster includes companies like Hoff & Pepper and Branch Technology, both of which have now graduated from the program.

“It’s exciting to follow a company’s success from early beginnings. Cocoa Asante is one of those companies that has taken full advantage of Chattanooga’s startup ecosystem – from Co.Lab to now the INCubator. Watching a startup grow from early stages to reach new heights is so rewarding and it’s why we exist as a program of the Chamber,” Bill Lupia, Director, Small Business & Entrepreneurship, Chattanooga Chamber, says.  

Read about Cocoa Asante’s origins, here.

Watch Livingston talk about her INCubator experience, below: