When Bridgitte Longshore, Giddy Yo’s founder and president, was pregnant with her first child, the desire to provide the best, most informed nourishment sent her on a health and wellness reading spree. It was there, after devouring book after book, that she discovered how passionate for the subject she had become; in the simple quietude of wanting to do best for her child, she had slowly, but surely gained momentum until she found herself to where she is today: crafting and selling ethically sourced, wild-harvested and fairly traded goodies under her very own brand.
The brand, Giddy Yo, is a local brand whose most popular export is their delicious, rich and organic hand-crafted dark chocolate. Their bars range between 69% and 100% cacao, the majority being 76% to 100%, and are available in flavours like vanilla salt, mint, raspberry, orange and more. But that’s not all – in addition to chocolate, Giddy Yo also carries a line of plant-based cruelty-free body care products, cacao and various superfoods. If you’re in Toronto, you can find many of their products at The Sweet Potato.
The journey to Giddy Yo began when Longshore started experimenting with different organic foods to feed her children, which, in practice, “became a whole lifestyle,” she said. Years later, in 2007, she met someone with similar interests and began to explore the raw food movement. It was there that she was exposed to new foods and herbs and ways to incorporate lesser known — at the time — superfoods into our daily meals, and business ideas began to percolate.
“I knew this was a calling,” she said. “I’m always getting ideas to start something, and what’s better than something that you’re passionate about?”
Funnily enough, Longshore never liked chocolate growing up. But being “that mom,” as she jokingly put it, she started making some for her children when they started requesting it. From there, her experience with her homemade chocolate was one of discovery: it didn’t make her feel bad as it once had; in contrast, it was “really energizing and uplifting.”
Longshore was also happy to relay her tons of useful wellness information to her peers, delighted to help them along in their own journeys. And, after she was introduced to the world of farmer’s markets, she saw the perfect avenue to combine her two passions: clean eating and helping people.
As for procuring quality cacao, “you really have to do your research,” Longshore stressed. “Tasting, seeing with your own eyes, asking questions, lab testing…” With a healthy dose of skepticism and after a lot of research, she was happy to finally connect with a supplier who could source raw, clean cacao from communities in Ecuador. And, in landing this top-notch supplier, Giddy Yoyo (later to be changed to Giddy Yo) was born.
Today, Giddy Yo is made up of a tight-knit team that Longshore says is “the best team [they’ve] ever had!” Team Giddy Yo includes chocolatiers, wrapping ‘specialists’, a human resources lead, a sales representative, customer service rep, warehouse lead, bookkeeper, shipper, Quality Assurance, and more. “Your company is nothing without the team. Without them, I am just an idea.”
“We’ve been in business for 12 years and we grew pretty fast in the beginning. We’ve shifted our focus from growth to business foundation because we want to be doing excellent things for our people for years to come! I don’t want to just be like everyone else; we really care how we conduct ourselves.”
As for the future, the brand is poised for calculated growth. Longshore is always looking to optimize the catalogue to serve their audience best, and currently has future plans for chocolate bars sweetened with alternative sugars. “Oftentimes, when there is something I am supposed to be creating, I have a dream, or the idea comes to me fast and furiously. I can often tell [to explore it] if I get very, very excited. It really does offer room for creativity!”