Founder and CEO
In 2005, Shawn Askinosie left a successful career as a criminal defense lawyer to start a bean-to-bar chocolate factory and never looked back.
Askinosie Chocolate produces small-batch, award-winning chocolates in its facility located in Springfield, Missouri, sourcing 100% of all beans directly from farmers. It is the only chocolate maker working directly with cocoa farmers on four continents.
Askinosie travels to regions of Ecuador, Honduras, the Philippines and Tanzania to source cocoa beans for his chocolate. This allows the chocolate to be traced to the source and labeled authentic single origin. It also enables Askinosie Chocolate to profit share with the farmers, giving them a “Stake In the Outcome,” a principle he learned from author/entrepreneur Jack Stack.
Recently named by Forbes as "One of the 25 Best Small Companies in America," Askinosie Chocolate has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, on Bloomberg, MSNBC and numerous other national and international media outlets.
The Askinosie Chocolate mission is to serve its farmers, its neighborhood, its customers and each other. The company seeks to share the Askinosie Chocolate experience by leaving the world a better place than when it found it.
The company is currently sustainably feeding more than 2,200 students per day in Tanzania and the Philippines, without any donations. Founded at the forefront of the American craft chocolate revolution and regarded by many as a vanguard in the industry, Askinosie Chocolate sets the standard: it is are one of the few chocolate makers in the world that presses its own cocoa butter (to make its chocolate truly single origin) and the only American craft chocolate maker to produce a natural cocoa powder.
It was the first American craft chocolate maker to create white chocolate as well as a chocolate hazelnut spread (says The New York Times: “one spoonful of Askinosie’s Chocolate Hazelnut Spread and all memory of Nutella is gone”).
Askinoise was named by O, The Oprah Magazine "One of 15 Guys Who Are Saving the World." As reported in the magazine: "Why we're fans: The philanthropically-minded chocolate entrepreneur aims to get students thinking about business ethics in a way that could have ripple effects for generations."
Seth Godin, entrepreneur and author, recently praised the company's model: "[Shawn] has built a practice of creating a worthwhile luxury good that directly benefits people. Not sort of. Not a little. But directly.”
Askinosie Chocolate has received two Good Food Awards, considered to be the Oscars of food; six silver awards from the Specialty Food Association; and 10 International Chocolate Awards, including the Gold World Award for the Dark Chocolate + Licorice bar.
The small team at Askinosie works directly with all of its retailers and sells its chocolate into specialty food stores, luxury boutiques, and high-end grocery chains throughout the United States in nearly all fifty states and across the globe.
In addition to being a chocolate maker, Shawn blogs for Huffington Post and passionately engages in a few other life pursuits. He is a Family Brother at Assumption Abbey, a Trappist monastery near Ava, Missouri and the co-founder of Lost & Found, a grief center serving children and families in Southwest Missouri.