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︎ Sonoran Habitat
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This is Sonhab’s diary. 


Click here if you would like to skip to the Costa Rica cacao travel journal.

Date: Feb 2023 - Sonhab’s 3 year anniversary



For our 3 year anniversary, we'll be doing some reminiscing on some of our favorite creative projects with friends of Sonhab in this digital email journal with our founder Kristen.

Sonhab turned 3

- The Beginning -




My life was turned upside down when a serious illness struck. But in the midst the challenges, I formed a relationship with cacao. With guidance from specialists and doctors, I made diet modifications in order to avoid immunosuppressants. This journey changed my relationship with food and opened my eyes to new possibilities. I discovered the power of herbs, supplements, medicinal mushrooms, and cacao, which played a big part in my healing journey.

As I continued to explore the world of cacao, I began crafting ornate chocolates with adaptogenic herbs and flower petals. My husband, Cody, joined me in the kitchen, and together we spent countless late nights improving our craft. What started as an experiment blossomed into Sonhab, a chocolate company.

Our journey led us to the jungles of Costa Rica, where we stood in awe of a cacao orchard and the magic it held. Now, we reside in the remote desert, where we are kept company by coyotes and saguaros. Our story is one filled with learning, experimentation, and a deep appreciation for the healing power of food.

Sonhab projects


We couldn't have done this without our friends who have joined and helped us along the way. Thank you to everyone who has jumped in, partnered on designs, and collaborations, and eaten our chocolate.

For our anniversary, we want to highlight a handful of friends of Sonhab



Dark Horse Organic Dinner Party in Los Angeles


Chef Greg Arnold invited me to perform soundbaths at a dinner party in Los Angeles and put my Sonhab bonbons on the menu with his food that night. It was a big honor.

Chef Greg Arnold of Dark Horse Organic explored the realm of micro-biome friendly cuisine with examples of fermented, cultured, aged, smoked, and pickled foods. Greg is known to have opened some of the hottest plant based restaurants in Southern California including, Sage, Matthew Kinney's Plant Food and Wine, and Santa Barbara's Mesa Verde. This event was hosted by The Feed Feed.


Designing Molds




Here's a fun look back at our beginning process for our chocolate mold designs. We went through many versions of scribblings on paper before collaborating with artist and friend JS Aurelius on bringing the molds to life. We had to consider how the lines in the mold would impact the air introduced into the chocolate, allowing for areas of shine on a bar surface, and any fragility it may add, making the bars more breakable during the shipping process. Sonhab is short for Sonoran Habitat where so much of life revolves around the sun. We riffed on the idea of a psychedelic desert sun on our bars. The outcome you can see below in Forbes!




Packaging, Packaging, Packaging




Our packaging project was a long time in the making. When Sonhab started, I designed all our packaging on an outdated program and we hand-cut butcher paper and manually ran each one, one by one through the printer, then hand-cut it again to fit the bar. Can you imagine doing that 50 times? It was incredibly tedious and not scalable but we survived this way for a couple of years as we saved every Sonhab penny to fund our packaging project. We spent many hours studying packaging design, practicing opening and closing packaging, considering how the package would look on a shelf, the types of shops carrying it, and how portable the chocolate would be if you didn't finish the bar. We are forever grateful and honored to have worked with the incredible designer Nick Steinhardt to bring our vision to life. It was surreal to see something we dreamed about for so long become real.


Our old hand-cut butcher paper packaging I designed. If you remember purchasing these, you are truly a Sonhab OG <3



Bean to Bar with Chaotic No Good!




Our friend Lauren is a talented designer at Chaotic No Good. We partnered with Lauren on a complicated project - figuring out how to convey what bean to bar means in an easy to understand way with visuals. Lauren pulled inspiration from old Subaru ads and punk show flyers. You've also seen Lauren's artwork on our Sonhab shirts, limited edition Valentines, and one of our logos.

A high-desert bonbon




When Sonhab launched in 2020, we knew we would exist online and need visuals to communicate our vision. I worked on a creative direction for the shoot and worked with photographer Jocelyn Pacheco. I came up with the concept and styling, Jocelyn helped me cast, find models off Instagram, and pull more inspiration. Jingyu (Sabrina) Yuan and Alexis of DreamWhirl hopped in my car and drove up to Arcosanti on a chilly high-desert day. This project was special.

Ricari Studios Retreat with Vogue





I performed private soundbath meditations for Vogue Magazine at a private luxe wellness retreat in Los Angeles with the wellness leaders at Ricari Studios.
Vogue coined Ricari's retreat the Ultimate Wellness Staycation. Owner of Ricari Studios, Anna Zahn dreamed a beautiful dream of a wellness retreat during a stressful time in the pandemic. If you're in Soho NYC or LA, I highly recommend making a visit to Ricari Studios for lymphatic drainage session. There's nothing quite like it. The Ricari girls are the best.

Costa Rica cacao sourcing trip




Here I am in the jungle in Costa Rica with the BriBri indigenous community roasting cacao beans over the fire. This trip was inspiring. My favorite part of this experience was learning about the sacred role women had in preparing cacao beverages. Only women are allowed to own land and make cacao beverages. We are donating 100% of the proceeds from our shirts to El Puente non-profit which works with the BriBri community.


The Moon Lists x Sonhab Reflective Advent Calendar






If you came over to our workshop in August 2021, there's a good chance you were tasked with consuming and rating a ton of tiny wild chocolate flavors for this advent calendar. Leigh Patterson of The Moon Lists created a gorgeous advent calendar with provoking and powerful prompts paired with a superfood-infused chocolate for each day. We still get DMs and emails about this beloved collaboration.

Sonhab x Mount Sunny Meditation



When the pandemic hit and it seemed like the world was ending and as LA turned into a ghost town, a dear friend Rose Marie Johansen came to the desert to temporarily live with us. I had a sold out event planned with Mount Sunny the weekend the world started to change and we made the decision to cancel it. While being stuck inside, I taught myself to audio record and edit audio and recorded a virtual sound meditation performance. Rose lead the creative direction and production of this video, a virtual meditation collaboration.

Our first press - Snaxshot!





In December 2020, I was laying in my bed at night analyzing my google analytics traffic (as one does) and saw traffic coming from Snaxshot, a leader in the CPG space who spots and analyzes trends and upcoming brands. Their founder Andrea featured us on the Snaxshot 2020 holiday gift guide. I jumped out of bed, and called my mom excitedly, wondering how in the hell Andrea found our business. It gave me the encouragement I needed to open a new line of credit and buy an expensive tempering machine that we desperately needed. 

You


There are too many people who have touched Sonhab to shout out in a single newsletter. Sonhab is a collection of our friends, old and new.

Thank you for being on this ride with the Sonhab team. By eating our chocolate, you play the biggest role in all of this. We couldn't be here without you.

Cheers to 3 years.



Xoxo,
Kristen, Founder of Sonhab











Date: May 2022


In the chocolate shop 






Date: March 2022


︎ We’re expanding! 

We’ve launched a handful of new limited releases, launched new packaging (a year in the making!), collaborated with Moon Lists to combine end of year reflections and journaling paired with beautiful food releases. We’ve also been featured in some magazines! We landed in Forbes Magazine again at the end of 2021. In 2022, we began donating our cacao mulch (food waste) to a local food garden - cacao mulch makes for great nutrients in gardening!


Our holiday collaboration with Moon Lists - superfood packed.


Some more behind the scenes at Sonhab 



Recent Press:




We also landed in gift guides of Snaxshot, the Pineapple Collective, and local publications. 

Announced in March 2022: We will be donating 100% of our remaining shirt profits to El Puente nonprofit organization. El Puente works with the indigenous Bribri community in Costa Rica to provide resources to their community. If we sell the remainder of our shirts, it is enough funds to send a child to school for 1 year.

El Puente provides meals, resources for children to attend school, and financial support to the community. Last year Kristen met with the director of El Puente to donate and leverage a viral Instagram moment to bring awareness and opportunity to their organization.

We traveled to Costa Rica to meet farmers, chocolate makers, and learn about the history of cacao in this country. The Bribri community was one of our stops on our chocolate trip.

The Bribri people of Talamanca are the northernmost Amazonia people and have a spiritual tradition heavily influenced by cacao, much like the Mesoamerican empires. They believe that the creator of the universe, Sibú, turned a woman into a cacao tree to make the world a sweet and warm place. Their society is a matrilineal one that gives women a very important place in their society. Only women can prepare their sacred cacao beverages and women own the land. Cacao is used in special ceremonies.

In our first year of business at Sonhab, we made a point of only collaborating with female artists, models, and designers. Working with women is important to us.

This shirt design was inspired by a vintage feminist spirituality magazine from the 1960s. We pulled references and sat down with Lauren from Chaotic No Good to discuss the concept. Cacao, ritual, catharsis, and powerful women are Kristen's inspirations for Sonhab.

These shirts and art were designed by artist, designer, and cassette tape label owner Lauren Bailey of Chaotic No Good and feature and an image shot by photographer Jocy Pacheco.

You can grab a shirt here!

︎

We’re a very small bootstrapped business, burning the midnight oil. This has led us on a wild ride, but we know this is where we’re meant to be. 




Thank you for being here. 

In gratitude, 
Kristen 

Date: October 2021 

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