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Inspiring Conversations with Mayara Fonseca of So Good Brazilian Treats

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mayara Fonseca.

Hi Mayara, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I’m from Brazil. My degree is in Event Planning and I have an MBA in people management, management development, and coaching. My mother is a professional baker and I always loved to help her and learn from her. My mother, grandmother and I would often go to farmers on the edge of town and buy fresh milk, honeycomb, fruits, cakes, and cookies. I bake and sell some of these same cookies now and the flavors and smells bring me right back to those fond memories of my childhood. While I was still in Brazil, I took a few courses about chocolate and baking, and I gained experience in restaurants. I always loved the mixture of food cultures you can find in Brazil, and this led me to be very curious to try new foods everywhere I went. Now, when I’m baking, I forget about the world around me and truly enjoy myself. I get so lost in the baking that my husband has to remind me to drink water and charge my phone. Baking makes me feel connected to my mother even though she is far away from me.

When I was 12, I began writing to my penpal in the U.S. We exchanged letters, emails, and more for 20 years. He traveled to Brazil to meet me and later, we took trips to other countries to spend time with each other. After all of this, I arrived in Austin, TX in 2018, and married my husband and best friend.

I started baking my favorite Brazilian recipes for friends and family, and everyone always told me, “It’s so good!” I found it funny that they always used this same phrase. Since I couldn’t find any of my favorite treats here, I started to research local ingredients, try recipes, and took entrepreneurship classes at ACC. I started my business in 2020 and named it “So Good Brazilian Treats.” At first, I began by selling to family and friends. Later, I started at Round Rock Market Days in August and began to truly understand the Texas heat. Later still, I expanded to the Texas Farmer’s Market at Mueller. I’m still going to both of these markets to this day, where you can find my husband and I each weekend surrounded by a colorful table and delicious treats.

Alright, 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?
The pandemic has been a struggle for us all, and my business is no exception. People were scared to come out to Farmer’s Markets and this led to a very slow start.

As you know, we’re big fans of So Good Brazilian Treats. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
I specialize in making cookies, cakes, breads, and sweets inspired by Brazilian culture. My foods aim to draw their sweetness and flavors from natural sources like honey and fruits. I always work hard to provide options for those with dietary restrictions. I have lactose intolerance myself and know how disappointing it can be to not be able to enjoy the foods you want to. I aim to have dairy-free, gluten-free, and other specialized versions of most of my treats. Even though I take great pride in the food I create, I want it to be accessible to everyone, so I aim to have affordable prices.

My goal for the business is to open a cafe that families can comfortably spend their time at and forget about the troubles of the outside world. I want to be able employ those with special needs in my business. My brother has autism, and I’ve learned through him how kind, dedicated and capable those with special needs can be. I hope to give them a job where they can feel welcome and grow their career. You can find me at local farmer’s markets selling my treats, but you can also make special orders through my website. We also offer catering.

Risk taking is a topic that people have widely differing views on – we’d love to hear your thoughts.
I started a business during a pandemic with my own money, so you could say I’m comfortable taking risks. That being said, I’m very measured in my risk-taking and don’t believe in taking big risks without justification.

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