[Testimony] Carinho, focus on the success story of the entrepreneur Nabil Mouzannar in Brazil
April 27, 2017
Two weeks ago, the Speak Portuguese Brazil team has had the pleasure to receive in its office the international entrepreneur Nabil Mouzannar. Story of an ambitious life track, this testimony gives precious advice to whoever wishes to undertake in Brazil.
Hi, Nabil! Could you introduce you briefly? And introduce your company?
Hey SPB, I am Nabil, I am married and I have two children. I was born and raised in Lebanon. I have been leaving more than twenty years in Brooklyn, New York, where I have graduated in Information System. I have started as an IT Manager in Wall Street, and then I have been to Paris and Montreal, where I worked for Evian and L’Oréal. Furthermore, I have become Lead Interactive Developer at Estée Lauder, where I managed the e-commerce of brands such as Aveda, Jo Malone or La Mer. But for a few years, I have been thinking about creating my own business. In 2014, I began to work on a company of software solutions, that I called Boullevard Creatives, and which lead me to work on Carinho, after an opportunity I had in the Brazilian e-commerce. Carinho « Fraldas por assinatura » is an online layers delivery service created for busy parents.
How did you arrive in Brazil, the beggining and your carrier here? How did your integration go, especially with the language?
After more that twenty years spent in Brooklyn, my wife received a job offer in São Paulo, Brazil, for a year and a half. It was the dreamed moment to make a new step in our life together. I was also thinking that it was the occasion to create an offshore office for my company. Thanks to friends from New York, I got contacts that really helped me when I arrived in São Paulo. I have met amazing people from Plug, in Pinheiros district. Thanks to them, I met Emiliano Agazzoni, Silicon Drinkabout Founder and lots of other entrepreneurs who allowed me to evaluate the ecosystem in which Brazilian startups are growing.
What pushed me to create this business is that one day, I have been in Amazon to buy a lot of little things online like I was already used to doing in the US and discovered that ten years ago they were only selling books, and that it was possible to sell everything on the Internet.
I then leaded a survey to ask to Brazilian women if they bought layers for their children online and I have been surprised that only 12% of them did.
I thus took the opportunity to create a new online service. Layers being expensive in the United States and hard to find and because I had twins, the idea of layers came to me.
Why did you choose Brazil?
It is a country that makes you dream. It is tropical, it is exotic, true for the people, the sun, the culture, the gastronomy… What wouldn't you like it here? It is a growing country, and people seems to be in love with Europeans and Americans.
Brazil is a country with a huge potential. I realized on arriving here that lots of Brazilian startups were incubated by American companies. As a consequence, I asked myself : « Why not bringing my innovation and knowledge to Brazil? »
Which perspectives in Brazil for you, your company and your products?
The service I created is a service that could be universal and benefit all parents. I have an optimistic vision. People here love to see you succeed and they encourage foreigners.
According to you, what'a the key to success in Brazil? Have you ever met particular difficulties?
First of all, when I decided to lead a new life in Brazil with my wife, we thought : «Brazil is holidays!» But I quickly realized that I was going to a foreign country, with a deeply different culture than those I already knew.
My company and my life experience here in Brazil are still really new, I only arrived a year ago. The first months I read lots of articles and stories to know the country and its opportunities. You have to adapt to the culture. As far as I am concerned, I have immediately stopped to compare processes between here and United States. I would have been disappointed otherwise!
Sometimes, I have the feeling that my Lebanese origins have helped me to adapt faster than normal. Indeed Brazil is a bit like at same distance between the US and Lebanon; there are rules and exceptions to the rules, as well as ways to avoid these rules.
There are always many answers to the same question. I think that if you go to the United States, you have to consider time and organization. Nevertheless, for Brazilian people, you have to stay yourself; they do not want you to change your way of being for them. Exception made for the language, it is vital to have a strong knowledge of Portuguese to succeed.
What would you advise to those who still hesitate to go to Brazil?
In 2010, when I was working for Estée Lauder, I realized the opportunities of the Brazilian market. When everyone was speaking about the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), the growth of middle class, the expansion of the Internet and huge markets, I had Brazil in mind. To do business with a Brazilian was the best thing I could have expected.
The word of the end?
I am happy to be in Brazil, furthermore after having had a career in the United States. To bring an American kind of service that works in the US has been a huge opportunity.
If you are an entrepreneur, you can come to Brazil and join one of the several co-working places.