Phyllis LeBlanc: Creating the Sweetest Career

September 26 - On The Dot
FIRST THOUGHT: Don’t Hold Back

Ladies, it’s time to replace fear with curiosity and start living a creative life. Whether it’s in our business or our personal lives, many women often hold back. We’re afraid to pitch ideas at work and we’re fearful of taking our hobby seriously. What if people laugh? What if they make fun of us? The truth is they might. But the other truth is that people might absolutely love it, and getting yourself out there might just be the sweetest adventure you ever take.


Ladies, do you ever get that deep-in-your-gut hankering for sweet, buttery, mouth-watering chocolate? I’d say that’s a no-brainer. But Slate Magazine has a different take on women’s relationship on the delicious confection.

According to the publication, of the nearly 60 million pounds of chocolate purchased in the week leading up to Valentine’s Day each year, 75 percent is purchased by men. Of course, it should be noted that the majority of those men are likely gifting that chocolate to women. How sweet! But, somehow, I can’t help but be suspicious about this. I’d like to know how many men plan on giving that chocolate to a special lady but end up devouring it instead!

WOMAN TO WATCH: Phyllis LeBlanc, Owner and CEO of Harbor Sweets

Phyllis LeBlanc has got a ton of tenacity, staying power and creativity. While in college, Phyllis worked at a New England confections shop called Harbor Sweets, where she worked the line hand-dipping the shop’s signature sailboat-shaped chocolate candies, called Sweet Sloops. Phyllis thought the gig was so sweet, she never left. When she was still a student, she worked her way up to wholesale marketing manager, and after graduating college, she joined Harbor Sweets full time.

Eventually, Phyllis bought the whole darn company, taking over as CEO and starting a new product line for Harbor Sweets that highlighted one of her longtime hobbies. Phyllis is an award-winning dressage competitor, an entertaining sport in which horses perform a series of specific movements in response to signals from their riders. Inspired by her dressage pursuits, Phyllis created Harbor Sweets’ Dark Horse Chocolates, each stamped with a horse or horse-related symbol. Peanut Butter Sea Biscuits, need I say more, y’all?

Phyllis’ newest chocolate line is called Gather, and includes dark-chocolate candies laced with local wildflower honey. It’s chocolate that supports the honey bees, with a portion of Gather chocolate sales going to Pollinator Partnership, a nonprofit that advocates best beekeeping practices for honey bee protection.

As you can imagine, working day in and day out with chocolate has its temptations. Clearly, Phyllis has some serious willpower, as she says she only eats one chocolate a day. Of course, she makes sure to do so while walking out the door at the end of her workday. Otherwise, she admits, it’s pretty much impossible to stop at just one.

On the Harbor Sweets website, Phyllis offers her customers a 100 percent guarantee of satisfaction. It’s a thoughtful touch, though we can’t imagine many folks take her up on it. Phyllis demonstrates by paying attention to your products and your customers, and by making time for what you love, you are bound to have a sweet mix in life.


Phyllis LeBlanc’s focus on her customers is wise. Just ask the founder of Success Magazine, Orison Swett Marden, who said:

“The golden rule for every businessman [or woman] is this: Put yourself in your customer’s place.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

Photos by Harbor Sweets

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