Bubbly, confident and gracious, it’s easy to believe that Oliveira’s journey has been nothing but smooth sailing. Yet to get to where she is now, has taken tenacity, faith and Herculean strength of character. An entrepreneur’s path is never easy.
“Being a woman, a black woman, an immigrant, a newcomer in a country that’s not mine. That’s another level,” says Oliveira. “I pretty much needed to learn from zero. Everything… I worked so hard.”
Since day one, every challenge has “motivated me to keep going, to not let these things stop me,” she adds. “It’s like a punch in your face in the beginning, but then you just think outside the box.” Someone who seems to thrive on silver linings, Oliveira adds that hardships simply inspired her “to take a different direction. [They] drove me to dream bigger.” Generously, Oliveira also credits her success to others. “I was also lucky enough to find amazing people through my entrepreneurship journey that were able to help me,” she says.
Besides its trademark chocolates, Mary’s Brigadeiro now sells cookies (stuffed with brigadeiro, naturally), hot chocolate, brigadeiro spread (for those who prefer to dive in with a spoon), and more. "Every season we have something different to offer,” explains Oliveira. “A few products have already become our signature products that we have to bring back every season, like the Chocottone. People go crazy over this creation.” While some are seasonal, other offerings often signal a new collaboration.
“We have a preference to support other women in business. We try as much as we can to collaborate with something different than what we have. Like, we want to create now a signature candle that pairs the scent with our chocolate.” Previously, Mary’s Brigadeiro also partnered with local company Wrappr on sustainable, Japanese-style furoshiki gift wrapping done with fabric designed by independent artists, many of whom are women. “Pretty much it’s all women,” laughs Oliveira. “People just love it. We were able to wrap our chocolate boxes and it becomes a nice gift.”