Today we’d like to introduce you to Martha Ware.
Martha, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Since I moved to the US in 2001, I tried to build a business that would be not only profitable, but fulfilling and fun. I’ve tried a couple of other businesses but I think at the time I was not totally acclimated to the American culture. Since I’ve moved to this country, it was very important to me to belong, to understand, assimilate and live the local culture. I was born and raised in Brazil and there are certainly many cultural differences. It was important to me though to live as an American, since I’ve chosen the US as the place to call home.
Last year, as I was starting to plan my husband’s birthday celebration, I started to look for ideas. I was looking at those edible bouquets and thought they were cute. But I wanted something more fun. And for some reason, marshmallows came to my mind. At first, I went to the store and bought a bag of marshmallows and just decorated them for his party. They were ok, just ok. So I thought: “I bet I could make better marshmallows!”
I am not a cook but I absolutely love a challenge. After researching and trying dozens of recipes, I came up with my own and started to play around with flavors and decorations. I started to take some to work for people to try and they loved it!
Back in January, I decided to take it seriously and Mallow Box came to life. Every day is full of learning experiences and I feel the business is helping me grow as a professional and as a person.
I am in the marketing field, so I started to put my social media strategy together, participated in some school bazaars and started to learn a lot about the food field. I got a mentor (which I recommend to any new entrepreneur) put my business plan together and started to go after all the permits and licenses necessary to take my business to a commercial level.
Currently, I sell through social media, my website (mallowbox.com) pop-up shops (I have been doing some at Nordstrom Stonebriar and other local venues,) and collaborations with event planners and venues. I also believe that it is important to participate in your community, so each month I choose a place or cause to donate to. Sometimes it is as simple as taking marshmallows to the guys at the Fire Department!
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It’s never easy to start a business. The food business is certainly more complex than I anticipated. There are many certificates, licenses and permits to obtain and sometimes you feel like you are going in circles.
I believe we make our road smooth or not, it all depends on how we react to what comes our way. I have been learning a lot, there were many obstacles and hurdles I had to overcome and still do on a daily basis, and I am sure there will be more to come. But I chose to learn and have fun. I won’t ever be able to please everyone, so everyday, I choose to listen to all the feedback I get and do the best I can to improve my product and service to the ones who like marshmallows. Sometimes the feedback puzzles me and I end up laughing it off, like when someone tells me the marshmallows are too sweet. Its sugar… how can it not be sweet???
The vast majority of the times the feedback is so amazing that I get blown away!
I chose to grow organically, to do it slowly and steadily but I get surprised everyday by the incredibly quick growth of my business. I am currently at my production capacity, so I am very excited to be planning, researching and deciding on the next steps.
Mallow Box – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We make handcrafted gourmet marshmallows. Mallow Box was born to create original recipes and make high quality, great-tasting, creative marshmallow products and inspire moments of fun and deliciousness. We make all our marshmallows from scratch, then we dip and decorate one by one. We have many different flavors, dip them in vanilla or chocolate, and our specialty is the “mallookie,” marshmallows that are made with cookies in them, such as chocolate and cream, raspberry and white chocolate, lemon cream and peanut butter cookie.
We have just launched our “cupmallows,” our version of cupcakes. We have now two versions: one is filled with crunchy peanut butter and decorated with chocolate and peanuts, and the other is filled with dulce de leche and decorated with chocolate.
I am proud of our products but more than anything, of our culture. We are creating a company based on more than great customer service; we create relationships. We are growing a company based on loyalty, creativity and fun. We are establishing collaborations with incredible local companies and professionals. We are creating a Mallow Box family. And this culture, this family and our “everything marshmallow” line set us apart.
We also do all kinds of events, small or large, such as birthday parties, baby and bridal showers, weddings, anniversaries, reunions and corporate events. Not to forget friends’ gatherings around a hot chocolate and coffee bar.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I am not sure if I can name the proudest moment. I have had many proud moments. Whether because I’ve accomplished something, or I made a mistake and had to learn from it, I am proud of how I am tailoring Mallow Box’s growth.
Transitioning from a home-based business to a commercial one was sure a milestone. As I had never worked with food before, there was lots of trial and error, lots of learning.
Each collaboration I close, each good feedback, each smile I put on a face is a proud moment to me. Each victory, no matter how small or big, is a proud moment to me. But more than proud, I am grateful for it all.
- Website: www.mallowbox.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org