Mother’s Day 2021 with Le Rouge Chocolates


Every entrepreneur starting out needs mentors, both formal and informal. I’ve been very lucky to have a caring, savvy, encouraging and honest mentor in Aarti Khosla who founded Le Rouge Chocolates here in Westport.


Kerstin Rao, Aarti Khosla, Vijay Rao at Le Rouge by Aarti in 2017

Aarti runs her chocolate shop more like a social enterprise than a small business. Every time you turn around she’s making chocolates to raise money to support a cause with heart. In fact, what led me to meet Aarti in the first place was her ‘Give a Little Love’ campaign back in 2014. Her idea was intriguing - buy some of her heart-shaped chocolates with the promise that you would give it to a complete stranger! I loved it!


Over the years, Aarti and I have gotten to know more about each other’s talents, interests, and families. This has proven so valuable to me - she has helped me in my efforts to be a good in-law to my husband’s family - they are originally from India, while I am a Scandinavian from Minnesota. Quite a cultural divide - but Aarti has given me subtle insights and tips to thrive and find real happiness with my new extended family.


So, when I began creating my greeting cards, Aarti was the first person to offer to sell them in her shop. She put together a package of her chocolates, a local florist, and my cards. I loved setting up a little display stand in her store and feel ‘official’ having my cards in a brick-and-mortar store for the first time!


Leading with heart - that’s the best business lesson I’ve learned from Aarti!


My first-ever display. I only had mesh bags, not clear ones, no business card, and a plastic brochure display I bought at Staples. Hey - gotta start somewhere, right?


Meanwhile, look at the GORGEOUS packaging Aarti developed. That rich, royal blue, the gold trim, the references ‘from Paris to Punjab’ - brilliant! She made Mother’s Day very sweet for me, indeed!