Meet Fueled by Purpose Micro Grant Winner Susan Brown, Founder of Mademoiselle Miel

By Chris Olsen

In response to the global health crisis, My Founder Story partnered with BankCherokee to launch Fueled by Purpose micro grants. Every week through June, we awarded a grant to a female-founded small business in need.

Susan Brown grew up with a mom who was a chef with a passion for cooking and eating healthy. In addition to teaching her kids the importance of good nutrition, she made it her mission to nurture their talents and strengths, which for Susan included drawing and painting. When Susan was old enough to start thinking about a career path, she was sure she’d pursue something in the arts. What she’d realize later was that, thanks to her mother’s influence, she would eventually merge her love for creating beautiful art and healthy food.

That journey began when Susan made the decision to stop eating processed sugar. She felt better immediately and knew it was something she’d continue doing. But she still had occasional cravings for sweet treats. She wondered if honey could serve as a natural replacement for sugar and started experimenting in the kitchen. She made everything from donuts and pastries to pies and jams, and it wasn’t long before she perfected her recipes. Her Saint Paul, Minnesota-based chocolate company, Mademoiselle Miel, started with the creation of a bonbon—a bite-sized chocolate shell filled with creamy honey and a special blend of spices.

Susan found there were plenty of other chocolate lovers like her who didn’t want processed sugar in their food. But when she discovered how much honey it would take to keep up with demand for her chocolates, she realized it would be cost prohibitive for her. That’s when she decided to learn about bees and beekeeping and began producing her own honey. Today, she has 30 rooftop hives scattered throughout the Twin Cities and delights in tending to and learning from her bees.

Susan’s products are both beautiful and delicious and include artisan chocolate bars, honey hot cocoa bombs, seasonal items and her signature honey bon-bon. Her customers aren’t the only ones who appreciate the taste, texture and aesthetics of her confections. Media outlets and industry professionals have also taken note, naming Mademoiselle Miel the best chocolate in Minnesota, a top 10 chocolatier in North America, and winner of an international chocolate award. Though her sales have slowed during the pandemic, she is continuing chocolate production and plans to use the grant to purchase raw ingredients for making chocolate.

To learn more about Susan’s business, visit

To learn more about and apply for a Fueled by Purpose micro grant, visit our grants page.

Photo: Mademoiselle Miel

About the author: Chris Olsen is an author and broadcast media maven turned communications consultant. Through her work as a consultant, Chris realized her WHY—to support women-owned businesses in confidently communicating their purpose, setting them up for entrepreneurial success. She created My Founder Story as a platform for doing so.

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