The True Pearls of Mary’s Brigadeiro

Por Dolores Gontijo.

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A Brazilian entrepreneur introduces the Brigadeiro – a little candy that is a kind of trademark of Brazil – to the Canadian market.

Mary, owner of Mary’s Brigadeiro. (Photo by Dolores Gontijo)

Mary, the owner of Mary’s Brigadeiro, has encountered challenges as well as support for her project. She received Wave to tell a little of her success story.

Wave: When did you arrive in Canada? What brought you here?
Mary: I immigrated to Canada in December 2014, with an idea that had been in the works for 2 years and a Business Plan to present to Enterprise Toronto. New challenges at both a personal and professional level. Migrating brings new perspectives, makes you leave your comfort zone and go after more than knowledge. This brought me to Canada.Wave: What was your profession in Brazil?
Mary: I have a degree in Business Administration and I was working in the area of Human Resources.

Wave: How was your arrival in Canada?
Mary: It was fine, I was full of curiosity, my heart and mind were open to a new awakening. It was also warm and I was able to count on the support of Canadians and immigrants who opened their doors.

Wave: Did you find it hard to adapt?
Mary: The difficulties turned into opportunities for my personal and professional growth. There were challenges. Dealing with the legal issues related to opening a company in a new country, turning a small investment into success and consolidating it in the market, introducing a new product and adapting it to North America without losing its roots. There was the personal challenge of learning well, the new language. I overcame this by going deeper into my studies and thinking about the market that I wanted to reach.

Brazilian sweets from Mary’s Brigadeiros (Photo by Dolores Gontijo)

Wave: How is your life in Canada? When did you feel you were ready to invest in your own business here in Canada?
Mary: From the outset, I knew what I wanted and it was all properly planned before my final visit to Canada, so it was only a matter of time before I opened my own business here. On my first trip to this country in December 2012, I noticed an opening in the market of chocolate made by small artisans, with natural ingredients, local fresh produce – real chocolate that does not have to last for years on the market. I did my research and excluded large companies such as Godiva and Lindt, then I had the idea of opening my company focused on handmade Brigadeiros adapted to the North American market.

Wave: What are your expectations for 2018?
Mary: We are working to expand the business in places neighbouring the city of Toronto where the product has not yet been offered. We have selected partners with whom we want to work and focus on offering the best product to the best outlets, such as the Pusateris luxury food hall in Toronto, located within the famous Saks store in the Eaton Centre, which centralizes the best local and international products. Since the launch at the store, the market response to the new product has been positive and immediate. The great opportunity for 2018 will be the opening of Canada’s first concept store dedicated to the artisan Brigadeiro and similar products. We are working hard to make the dream a reality.

Wave: What is the best time of year for you here in Canada?
Mary: Christmas is the best time for business here in Canada, we have the opportunity to create and launch new products. A large number of people who see and get to know the brand through the end of year get-togethers and corporate gifts makes us more visible in the market.

Wave: What advice would you give to a woman who is thinking about investing in her own dream?
Mary: do not limit yourself to what you have lived so far, regardless of your origin, race, color, ethnicity, education, always go in search of what makes you happy and makes your life meaningful. Do what you like, explore all the ideas and possibilities of the business and make connections. There is always someone who can add to your business with an idea and the more you exchange information with people who will add to your business, the greater capacity you will have to innovate and solve problems. And lastly, believe me … there’s no right time