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Start me up: Filipino-American Myey Moens explains how she markets her tableya chocolate around the world


After meeting my Belgian husband, Matthias, in Los Angeles, we travelled together for a year, then in 2018 we settled in his home city, Ghent. With a marketing background, my motivation was to continue being an independent entrepreneur despite the challenges of moving to a country where I didn’t know the people, language or systems.


Many people asked me: why launch a chocolate business in Belgium when it’s the chocolate capital of the world? Yes, my business is based in Belgium and our products are made here, but my market should not be limited to the geographical location. Our business, Theo & Brom, was launched on a crowdfunding platform: a pre-order campaign with a limited amount of stock, marketed through social media. This allowed us to raise funds to manufacture and fulfil orders without digging deep into our own pockets. Whenever we have a new product to test, we do the same system of starting a pre-order campaign, then manufacturing and fulfilling orders once we’ve reached our target.


For our Belgian tableya, based on a classic Filipino hot chocolate drink, we exclusively use a single-estate cacao blend from the Philippines. The beans have a distinct flavour profile of caramel, molasses and raisins; it works well for our tableya, which is mainly enjoyed as a drink and a bar.

Our main challenges have revolved around e-commerce logistics and moving to a bigger scale of business. Since our largest markets are in the US and Philippines, it is taking time to figure out and streamline our supply chain. We are trying to find a balance between maintaining the artisanal quality of our products without compromising margins, as well as optimising costs. The Covid crisis has thrown in a curve-ball for our operations, which have been running on a minimal scale since the lockdown. Nonetheless, we are optimistic that we will be able to pull through.


We are now working on new projects that will complement our existing business and expand our networks. My previous career in social selling helped me handle the marketing and I have since focused fully on social media and online marketing to reach our target customers.


My advice to any budding entrepreneur is to go for it 100%. If you are willing to put in the hours, make lots of mistakes, and learn until you succeed, it will all be worth it. Don’t worry about how to do something, but why you really want it. Nothing is more powerful than a made-up mind.

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