One Question Please: Shawn Askinosie

At CREMA, we try to live out the mantra "Do one thing and do it well." For us, that one thing is coffee -- we want to do it the best we can. 

We are so interested in and inspired by our peers. To get to the heart of their "one thing," we've previously run a series called "What Inspires Us" in this space. That was a fun, deep look into the lives of our fellow Nashvillians.

Lately, we've been intrigued by our friend's blog, One Question Please. We thought this fit spectacularly with "Do one thing and do it well," so we, umm, borrowed his idea (with permission!). And now, we present to you our own One Question Please series, as we try to get to the heart of our friends' passions. 


One of our favorite things about Shawn Askinosie is his unconventional approach to business. Formerly a criminal defense lawyer in Springfield, Missouri, the lawyer-turned-chocolatier had a moment -- while driving home from a funeral he realized he "needed to make chocolate." Today his company is "dedicated not just to making the best quality chocolate you can buy, but to making it in such a way that the more you learn about it, the better you feel about it." O, The Oprah Magazine recently named Shawn "One of the 15 Guys Who Are Saving the World."

We asked him one question. 

Q.

We've heard you say, "Don't ask how much money can this business model make -- ask how many people can we impact?" This ethos is counter-culture and contradictory to traditional business strategies. Why is it working?

A.

While it's true that profitability shouldn't be the sole concern of a company, we also adhere to the belief that we couldn't do what we do with farmers and communities across the globe without some financial stability. This directly relates to another saying I have, which is there's a tension in our company between making the best product and making the most impact -- we can't have one without the other, and the tensions between them make us strive to continually improve each side, if you will, so that there's always this balance, but we're also pushing the bar higher. This is possible (at least for us) because we embrace and honor the sometimes uncomfortable tension, recognizing that something great will result.

Learn more about Askinosie Chocolate at www.askinosie.com.