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EXPOSED

Charly and The Chocolate Factory

Charly and The Chocolate Factory

His name is Charly. He lives in a bamboo house by the beach in a quite remote location in Karangasem, Bali. He has a pirate ship as an office. He also happens to be the owner and founder of a chocolate factory. Yes, he is a real life Charly of The Chocolate Factory. Does he also give out Golden Tickets for you to visit his factory? Hold that thought.



Having met with him for the first time, my imagination ran wild thinking about who this man really is and why he built a chocolate factory almost in the middle of nowhere? Fortunately for me, he spared some time in an Exposed! interview, sharing all there is to know about his Chocolate Factory, and the somewhat “Pirate” style life he’s living.



Coming to the island like many other tourists, Charly’s first intention was just to surf at a beautiful location where there aren’t too many people around. He found just the right place. During this visit he encountered some of the local people within the vicinity, and saw firsthand that they didn’t have sustainable job for a living. He saw women carrying rocks, coconuts, and other resources to be sold in the market just to get by. Some of the local approached him and asked if he could give them some work. Charly knew then that he had to come back and do something to help.

 

At first he saw plenty of resources around, coconut trees, so he started gathering the locals, teaching them how to turn them into soap, coconut syrup, body oil, and that business grew quite well throughout the years. After a while, he heard that there are chocolate plantations up in the mountain, where the chocolate beans were marketed to Java and other islands in Indonesia. That’s when he decided to start making chocolates and create more jobs for the locals.

 

The unique part of Charly’s Chocolate Factory and his Soap Story Factory is the fact that it is not exactly a company where he hires the local under a set salary. The business is community owned, under a profit sharing basis. So he created a business for the community, not merely to reap high profit while employing locals under minimum wage like many other foreign owned companies in Bali. He refuses to use the word “company” for his factory because it isn’t a company.

 

Charly is not treated as “big boss” amongst the staff, but as equal, and often gets scolded when they see him somewhat slacking. That is not something you see every day in Bali, or anywhere for that matter. His goal is that someday, if he’s no longer around, the locals would carry on with this industry and continue to create sustainable living for the people living within the vicinity, so that they would not have to go out of their way seeking jobs in the tourism industry far in the city. Feminist everywhere would love to hear that the female staffs of his factory are also more than welcome to bring their children to work, where they freely ran about and play with swing set on the site.

 

Now what about the pirate ship and how can you visit his factory? Listen to Exposed! “Chillin’ With Charly from The Chocolate Factory” on Sunday Nov 30th 2014 at 7pm UTC+ 8, and Monday December 1st 2014 at 12 noon.

 

Kay Armanousa

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