This month's edition of #VIITAVOICES, we chatted with Mariela, female entrepreneur and mom, about her business, balancing motherhood with work, and how she sold her first business at the age of 30.
Tell us about yourself and how you started your first business.
I was always passionate about everything digital. In my teens, like most teenagers, I was consuming a lot of content on Youtube which eventually led me to think that I can do better. My passion for everything content creation and marketing was born.
I quickly learned that I had an eye for different aspects of marketing that was quite unique and it allowed me to start freelancing for social media management (content creation, community management and advertising) for a few clients. While I was doing that, I had a position in an advertising agency which I loved and was doing evening university classes in PR and Management to better my skillset.
It wasn’t long until my clients took off and I was able to live off my passion - social media. That was the beginning of Frenzr. Humble solo beginning.. and then we grew from there!
Was being a mom always something that you wanted?
Always! I didn’t have any specifics in mind but I knew I wanted to be a mom! In fact, I thought that being an entrepreneur would give me more flexibility later in life when the time comes.. (which I can now say is definitely not true haha).
Did settling down with your man and having kids lead to you wanting to sell your business?
Settling down definitely didn’t lead me to want to sell my business. In fact it fuelled and inspired me so much. I’m very happy that my husband is also an entrepreneur and understood my reality!
Getting pregnant (with my first) is when the sale talk first came around but it was COVID and selling would have been hard. So instead of selling, I started developing a new business idea which (spoiler alert) is what I do today!
How was the process of selling and was it emotionally hard?
I decided to only sell during my 2nd pregnancy. The timing was right, the business was flourishing, the team was in a great place and we were getting the best clients!
I like to say that I sold from my heart and not from a need. I simply outgrew the business and it was time for me to move on.
I worked with an incredible broker (if you are reading this and need his info, feel free to reach out) who was able to help me ‘’go to market’’, he interviewed and reached out to many people for whom the agency would be a good fit until we had 6 letters of intent of purchase.
I spoke with all 6 and connected more with some - 1 specifically more. It’s to her that I sold my first business. :)
And to answer your question on if it was emotional, I’d say not at all. I was ready and so was the new buyer. She took a great lead and that made me confident and comfortable into knowing that I was leaving my first business in the right hands!
Did you ever feel like your business was stealing time away from being a mom?
Definitely! It was one of the reasons why I felt like I outgrew the business - my interests and lifestyle needs changed. I couldn’t be ‘’ON’’ all the time.
What inspired this new business? Did you take a break in between?
Haha - yes the break. I call it my first retirement and I think I will have a few of those. It lasted 3 months during which we went on vacation, enjoyed family time and in which I questioned all this free time.
The business that follows is inspired by a BIG need in the current market of nuts, dried fruits, seeds & mixes.
My partner owns an import and distribution company that specializes in those items. I quickly learned that THEY have access to the best of the best (quality and price) and that from there, the goods are resold so many times that the end consumer ends up paying sooooo much more.
That’s how Nutterie is born. We source direct and bring it directly to YOU. Nuts, dried fruits, seeds, mixes & alternative flours.
We cut the middle-man so you can forget about their stale walnuts.. no one is into that anymore!!
Tell us about NUTTERIE! Why nuts? Why a service business to a D2C business? Which is better?
Nuts are incredible to you! They truly nourish you from the inside out. They are fun, wholesome and extremely versatile.
And yes, I made the transition from owning a service based business to a product based business and in all honesty it’s very refreshing.
What is something about motherhood you feel you mastered that some miss the mark on?
Mastered might be an overstatement but I don’t sweat the small things. I’ve build a life that allows me to be flexible so if I can, I will be.
What’s the key to a successful balance between work and family? Does it even exist?
I think it exists but in phases. Currently I’m in a nicely well balanced work/family life phase and I’d say that prioritizing, planning and showing interest are all part of it.
What are your business goals?
I’m someone who does rather than talk! So you can follow along and discover as it all comes to life!
Would you be happy if your girls became entrepreneurs?
Very but it’s also not something that I’ll ever push them to do. I can say that entrepreneurship has been the best business and life school I could have dreamt of!
They say no one truly matures without having kids, do you think this is true?
I believe having children opens new doors and from there, it’s up to you to decide how you truly perceive that.
What is the one thing you learnt in business that helped you as a mom?
Saying less can go a long way.
Make it fun.
It takes a village.
Team bonding is great.
Snacks are always needed.
Coffee is a must.
What is the one thing you learnt in motherhood that helped you in business?
You can bring the moon down for that person but if they are cranky it will seem insignificant.
Since you’ve been through it, what would you tell someone starting out in business and also wanting a family?
That it’s possible and that they need a plan and help system especially for the first months (unless they have maternity secured which unfortunately isn’t a thing for business owners in Quebec).
Is profitability within the first 3 years possible? If not, how can one make ends meet while being a mom?
I was always profitable because my only investment was time and I only took the leap to rely solely on my business income once I was making the same salary as my full time job.
I think this is very industry and person specific for me to answer but I hope that gives some insight.
Best advice you ever received/worst advice you ever received
Worst: No one does that in your industry! Don’t do it!
Best: Let’s go and we’ll figure it out along the way!
Many things! It’s a busy month for me and Nutterie! We’re launching quite a few new collections including an extended Organic Nuts collection, we’ll be removing all oils from our roasting and we’ll be introducing some amazing discovery boxes!
I will keep one secret for now! But you can follow along on Instagram to stay tuned! www.instagram.com/itsnutterie