Tennessee entrepreneur quits her teaching job after Keith Lee’s food review led to her chocolate inventory selling out in just 45 minutes

TikTok star Keith Lee has helped change the fortunes of another small business owner. In March, Ella Livingston’s chocolate business reportedly sold out in 45 minutes after a food review on TikTok by Lee.

According Initiated, Livingston launched his Cocoa Asante business in 2018 to honor his family’s decades-long legacy of cocoa farming. The business is operated by Livingston and his family. They reportedly used cocoa farms owned by Livingston’s relatives in Ghana to produce their chocolates. Then the chocolate is packed by her and her team in the United States

Left: Keith Lee doing the viral food review on TikTok; Right: Ella Livingston, her husband and daughter in a family photo (Photo: Screenshots from Ella’s Facebook page and Lee’s TikTok video)

Livingston reportedly said her business was doing well in her small community of Chattanooga, Tennessee, but not initially well enough for her to give up teaching. The 30-year-old taught math online to part-time middle and high school students to make ends meet while continuing to grow her small business.

She told Insider that she tried to get Lee’s attention on TikTok weeks before Lee posted a review about her chocolate. Livingston said she emailed him and made her own video that encouraged him to review his products. She also had the help of her followers as they constantly tagged Lee in the comments section to get her attention.

Lee reportedly has 11.5 million followers on TikTok. He used the social media platform to showcase black businesses nationally.

In February, Lee teamed up with YouTuber Jimmy Donaldson, also known as MrBeast, to revisit a family’s struggling restaurant in Las Vegas. Donaldson reportedly loved the restaurant’s tacos so much that he donated $10,000 to the company. Additionally, the restaurant flourished after supporters of Lee and Donaldson helped generate more business for the restaurant. Lee also did the same in January for another struggling restaurant called Frankenson’s Pizzeria.

As for Livingston’s chocolate business, Lee did a TikTok review on March 18 and she said her website sold out in just 45 minutes.

“It was surreal. Honestly, I felt like I was in a daze the whole weekend after that,” Livingston told Insider. up and down with excitement.”

Lee said in the video that Livingston’s chocolate was “one of the most satisfying purchases I’ve made in a long time.”

According to Livingston, his sales went from less than $1,000 to $24,719 in one day.

“We knew our lives were about to change,” Livingston told Insider after discovering the video. “We just didn’t know how and to what capacity, but we knew nothing would be the same after that.”

A few days later, Livingston sent the school she worked for a letter of resignation. She said her business not only increased sales for the week of March, but generated a steady stream of revenue. It also led her to accept help outside of her family and reach out to her Chattanooga community by hosting packing parties to keep up with her online orders.

“It’s not easy to manage rapid growth, but I’m very grateful that we are managing it and that our customers are patient,” she said.

She told Insider that she appreciates what Lee has done for her and her family.

“For me personally, what I appreciate about Keith Lee, who I think reflects what others like as well, is how genuine he is. I’ve never met a more humble person who has that platform. massive form that has the power to do all that good,” Livingston told Insider.

She now only works full-time in her small business and has moved away from teaching.

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