In this episode of The Business Gay Podcast, host Calan Breckon speaks with entrepreneur, Paulo Trindade.
Paulo is the owner of Paulo’s Cake Shop – the first Roll Cake Store in Canada. The Roll Cake, known in Brazilian Portuguese as Bolo de Rolo, is a typical dessert from the Pernambuco state, located in the northeast of Brazil. It’s the adaptation of the Portuguese Bride’s Mattress cake, which is a rolled sponge cake filled with almonds. Upon arriving in Brazil, the Portuguese bakers changed the filling to the native guava fruit which Paulo brought to Canada when he immigrated to Toronto from Brazil in 2016. Paulo’s Cake Shop is a certified diverse Supplier by the Canadian 2SLGBTQI Chamber of Commerce and a huge supporter of the community.
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Links mentioned in this episode:
Key Takeaways for quick navigation:
- [00:15] Paulo shares challenges as an entrepreneur in Canada, navigating a new business landscape from Brazil.
- [02:31] Transitioning from real estate in Brazil to Paulo’s Cake Shop in Canada brings challenges in quality maintenance and dealing with expiration dates.
- [05:05] Paulo emphasizes the mental challenges entrepreneurs face, highlighting the importance of mental health for success.
- [10:20] Paulo shares the significant growth of Paulo’s Cake Shop, serving over 15,000 customers and 40 corporate organizations in recent years.
- [11:40] Future plans involve expanding Paulo’s Cake Shop into catering, addressing corporate demand for additional services.
- [13:31] Positive experience with corporate events, collaborating with organizations like EY, showcases Paulo’s Cake Shop success.
- [17:57] Paulo emphasizes the importance of having a business mentor, drawing on insights from mentors in Canada and Brazil.
- [19:31] Paulo discusses adapting recipes to suit Canadian taste preferences and acknowledges support from programs and grants, like Futurepreneur.
- [23:16] Utilize funds and grants for business owners in Canada, like Digital Main Street, offering quick grants for digital marketing.
- [25:12] Enterprise Toronto is a valuable resource for business research in Ontario, offering information, mentorship, and connections.
- [27:40] Connecting with people, especially within the LGBTQ+ community, has been a favourite part of being an entrepreneur.
- [29:01] Being a certified diverse supplier with CGCC provides valuable connections, support, and an inclusive environment for business owners.
- [31:20] CGCC fosters a family vibe among certified suppliers, emphasizing support and collaboration, creating a stronger LGBTQ+ business community.
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Welcome to The Business Gay podcast, where we talk about all things business, marketing, and entrepreneurship. I’m your host, Calan Breckon. And on today’s episode, I have Paulo Trindade. Paulo is the owner of Paulo’s Cake Shop – the first Roll Cake Store in Canada. The Roll Cake, known in Brazilian Portuguese as Bolo de Rolo, is a typical dessert from the Pernambuco state, located in the northeast of Brazil. It’s the adaptation of the Portuguese Bride’s Mattress cake, which is a rolled sponge cake filled with almonds. Upon arriving in Brazil, the Portuguese bakers changed the filling to the native guava fruit which Paulo brought to Canada when he immigrated to Toronto from Brazil in 2016. Paulo’s Cake Shop is a certified diverse Supplier by Canadian 2SLGBTQI Chamber of Commerce and a huge supporter of the community. I’m really excited to talk cake and about being an entrepreneur in Canada from Paulo’s point of view. So, let’s jump in.
Welcome to the podcast, Paulo. I am so excited to have you. How are you doing?
[00:01:51] Paulo Trindade: I’m doing great, Calan. Thanks for having me. I’m so excited for today as well.
[00:01:56] Calan Breckon: Yeah, I’m super excited to dive into this topic because we haven’t really had anybody who’s been here who started a business that’s not, like, their native language and coming to a new country and all that stuff. So I’m really excited to see what your experience is in your journey of being an entrepreneur. So in saying that, kind of, how was your journey becoming an entrepreneur in Canada? Paint that picture for us.
[00:02:19] Paulo Trindade: Oh, my God. Exhausted. This is the journey. I want to share this with your audience. Some people think, okay, because being an entrepreneur is, like, the fever nowadays, right? And then I’m from Brazil. So when I came here and I faced the language barrier, all the business structure is totally different than the one that I used to do. And in Brazil, I was like, no, I’m dead. I cannot do that. Right. But thank God we have some organizations and some resources that we can use here in Canada and helped me to launch in the canadian market. But I’ve been working on my business plan for at least two years before I launched the.
[00:03:14] Calan Breckon: Okay, so. And did you have the same business in Brazil that you brought up to Canada? Or is it different?
[00:03:19] Paulo Trindade: No, it’s completely different. In Brazil, I used to be a real estate broker, so I used to have my own office in there and a few employees as well, and a business partner. So here in Canada, I’m doing, like, the cake that I used to bake since I was 13. And I make this lovely cake protected by law in Brazil, my main product in Canada. So I came from a service to a product. Right. So it’s a two different business model.
[00:03:53] Calan Breckon: Yeah, very different. What’s it like being in the product business, whether you actually have a physical food product that you’re delivering to people? Because I can only imagine you’re dealing with expiration dates and all these things that a service based person doesn’t have to worry about.
[00:04:09] Paulo Trindade: This is why I use the word in the beginning, exhausted in the beginning. Until you figure out your process, your procedures, your operations, it will takes time. So as you said, the cake, it’s a really delicate product, right? So you have the texture, you have the taste, you have the right temperature in the oven. And if you miss one step, it’s going to be a totally disaster and it’s not going to taste well and it’s not going to be good. So it’s a really delicate step by step process until you finish that, until you have your measurements, your numbers, I will say after one year. So now my operations is working really well. But before I was measuring everything and then knowing the customer is a totally brand new customer base. So we need to know if this product here, people are like, oh, no, it’s too sweet. It’s good. It’s not that good. So we are trying to dip into this ocean of possibilities and the niche as well. When you bring to your niche, so you start to building your Persona as a business. Yeah.
[00:05:38] Calan Breckon: Would you say that going through that experience, it was more difficult than you thought it was going to be, setting it up?
[00:05:45] Paulo Trindade: Yeah, absolutely.
[00:05:50] Calan Breckon: Yeah, it was hard.
[00:05:52] Paulo Trindade: It was hard. Goddamn it was. Why? Because you have your expectations as everyone in your life, so you have your expectations how it’s going to work, and then when you face reality. So sometimes it’s on the opposite where you thought before.
So when you deal with cash flows, when you deal with marketing, SEO, marketing strategy and then sales channels, all the stuff that it’s related to an operation business like the food business, like mine, as I said, until you know the procedures, the process, the step by step that you are doing it, it’s going to be hard. Absolutely. You need to make sure that you have the most powerful resource in your life as an entrepreneur or as a business owner, which for me is mental health.
It’s not like money matters, of course. Agreed. But as soon as you have your mind working well in this business structure or business model that you are setting up, so you are good to go because your mind control everything, right?
[00:07:17] Calan Breckon: Definitely.
[00:07:18] Paulo Trindade: Business plan is important. Absolutely it is. So you have the steps, the controlling procedures is super important as well. But before everything, it comes to your mental health. This is the most powerful resources for us.
[00:07:35] Calan Breckon: Would you say that that first year of setting all of this up, of going through the processes of setting up a business in Canada and going through the processes of making the physical product and getting the procedures in order, what was your mental health like during that year?
[00:07:52] Paulo Trindade: You need to be prepared for unexpected situations, for unexpected expenses, especially that we live in Canada and it’s a seasonal country, right? So during the winter we have. When customers behave, during the summer, it’s totally different when everyone want to go outside and enjoy the summer and buy cakes and ice creams and brownies, cookies. So during the winter. So most of the people that I know normally they go to Florida or Puerto Vallarta.
[00:08:33] Calan Breckon: Exactly.
[00:08:35] Paulo Trindade: They go outside. The like your business need to survive during this moment, during this time. And this is how you manage your cash flow because your sales is going to be down a bit or sometimes really down, deep down.
So you need to be able to manage that. And sometimes when you do not know how Canada business works here, you’re going to say, oh my God, it’s because I’m not selling it. It’s because my product is not good enough, people are not coming. You will never think about the winter, about how hard it is, how much energy we need to put to go outside during the winter, after business hours or after a snowstorm. We just had one last week. It wasn’t that bad anyway. So it is hard. So people think in a different way when they need to buy something.
[00:09:39] Calan Breckon: Definitely. It is definitely seasonal. Here I noticed myself I don’t go out nearly as much in the winter because I’m lucky. I work from home. I have my office here in my place so I don’t have to go out unless I need to get groceries or something like that. And it’s usually just like across the street and then back. And your socials, it’s like, maybe you have one thing a week. I do dodgeball, stuff like that. But in the winter, a lot of people do tend to kind of hibernate. You should think of doing some marketing around the cakes as like the comfort food, like the winter cozy comfort food. So it’s like, get these cakes, get them delivered.
[00:10:19] Paulo Trindade: Exactly.
Now we have all the sales channels working, deliveries, the shipment, everything. Right? But before we didn’t. So this is how we figure out, okay, we have this moment, we have this season now, how we can work to maintain or also sometimes increase our sales.
Right. So this is how we are developing strategies to move forward. Yeah.
[00:10:52] Calan Breckon: And I think it’s really something entrepreneurs need to pay attention to is the seasonality in your business. You’re not going to know that your first year. You’re going to only be able to learn that as you’re going through the processes, as you’re doing the entrepreneurship and being an entrepreneur, that’s when you learn these lessons that you can’t learn before you start. And you need to push through and kind of get through those humps to be able to look back and say, oh, I understand now. That was a season. And then you see it again the next year and you’re like, okay, I’m starting to see trends now. Now we can prepare for that kind of a thing. We’re busier in the summer, not so busy in the winter. So maybe marketing in the winter needs to be bumped up a little bit so that we can bring that level a little bit up. How has your growth been since you started this business?
[00:11:47] Paulo Trindade: First year we did.
[00:11:51] Calan Breckon: You don’t need to share numbers or anything like that?
[00:11:54] Paulo Trindade: I tried to get in my memory, well, since we started in 2017.
Right. So, so far in numbers, we used to have like 100 customers yearly in the first year. So now we are last year, I still have the numbers in my mind, we reach out like around 15,000 customers plus 40 organizations like corporate customers.
[00:12:24] Calan Breckon: Nice. So that’s been quite the growth that you’ve seen over the years to a little bit more. A little bit more. A little bit more. You’ve seen the seasons come and go. So you know how all of that works in what are your plans to take those numbers and to grow into the future of this business. What are your big business plans moving.
[00:12:43] Paulo Trindade: Forward we are now working on this year. So we’re going to have some partnership for Paulo’s cake shop. It’s not going to be only a cake shop.
It’s more coming soon.
And if I die after this podcast, you know, this is my partners here that they want.
Let me share all the info. But yeah, we’re going to do some catering for 2024. Okay. SEO, this is our main focus.
We have several corporate customers that they are looking for more than cakes. Right. And we realized that last year in a meeting, at our end of the year meeting. And we said, why we do not that what it’s holding us to move forward with that step. Right.
[00:13:44] Calan Breckon: Okay, so what, we have the kitchen.
[00:13:46] Paulo Trindade: Exactly. We have the kitchen prepared, we have the team, and then we have some more organizations that are looking for the solution. Right. And more is coming soon.
But this is so far what I can share with.
[00:14:06] Calan Breckon: Okay. Okay. I’m not going to ask you any. All I will say is that I hope that I see some of your cakes at the next ey event that.
[00:14:12] Paulo Trindade: I see you did. Oh, my God. Ey, it’s lovely. It’s a lovely corporation.
Once I was in there, so they sold or delivered or distribute my cakes to nine offices across Canada.
Plus, yeah, they did that. I was like, whoa. And they made presentation for me to show my case.
My entrepreneurship journey was lovely. So they made like a fully room with people, employees to listen.
My entrepreneurial journey in Canada, how it worked, how it started, so how we move forward.
[00:15:07] Calan Breckon: I love that. And now I’ve seen you at a couple of these events, so now I want the cakes. I have not actually had one of your cakes yet. I’ve seen them, I’ve looked at them. I’ve not actually been somewhere where I can get a cake. So we definitely need to make that happen. I’m curious.
[00:15:24] Paulo Trindade: Absolutely.
[00:15:25] Calan Breckon: What has been one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned on this entrepreneurial journey?
[00:15:32] Paulo Trindade: Well, the most important, as I said in the beginning, it’s your take care of your mental health. So this is one thing that you’re going to need always in your life. Right. But in the business, we need to build this resilience process. And to build that, you need to take care of yourself, take care of your mind, and then see things in a different perspective.
Not dying on the first conflict event that you have it, not die. If someone say, oh, your cake is not amazing, it’s not good. Okay. Thank you. I appreciate your concern, but this is the product that I believe in there. So this is how I’m going to move forward.
And sometimes just one or two or three people that disapprove your product or service is not meaning that you need to change something.
Right. So you cannot be 100% accepted in this case.
[00:16:46] Calan Breckon: Everybody has different preferences.
[00:16:49] Paulo Trindade: Yeah. I’m not saying that you don’t need to change or adjust your product in the market, but once you reach the market, if you did the step by step that we mentioned before, if you did your research, if you brought your product to your niche, if you build it a good Persona for your customers as a branding. Right. So you don’t need to worry about it. You did the lessons before and then great X will be everywhere, so just be focused.
[00:17:23] Calan Breckon: Yeah, it’s so true. It’s so true. You got to focus on your own lane. Stay in there. People are going to say what they’re going to say. HOPefULly the majority of it is good. And when the majority of it is good, the few who don’t like it, I mean, not everybody’s going to like. Not everything is for everybody. And that’s really important to remember.
[00:17:43] Paulo Trindade: Yeah. This is how your mind works. When you have this kind of, or this level of maturity, you’re going to be able to identify what is a real critic and what is someone projecting their frustration on you, on your business, on your product or service. This is the difference between them.
[00:18:02] Calan Breckon: Yeah. I always say that if it’s just a random stranger or person online throwing crap, take nothing from that. But if there’s actual something coming from a person I respect or that is in the same industry as me or in the same realm or the same world, and I respect them and what they have to say, I’ll listen to what they have to say and hopefully there’s grains of goodness in there, but it might not all be good, but at least they’ve earned that spot in my life to give me some of that advice.
[00:18:40] Paulo Trindade: Absolutely agreed with you. And this is going to be my third answer, is having a mentor.
You need to have a business mentor. So if you are new in this market, if you have no idea how to do it, or if you already know, but you need some advice or some numbers to compare or a second opinion about your next steps, you have to know someone that is in the market more years than you or more time than you or have been failed before, you can learn with them how to move forward and not failed with the same steps or the same mistakes that they made it before. SEO, I think it’s really important. I’m not going to say mandatory. But if you can have someone that you trust and you believe in their entrepreneurial journey as well, what they have built so far, what they have learned so far. So catch up that person and hold because it’s really important. I have two. One canadian and one Brazilian.
[00:19:56] Calan Breckon: Nice. Do you still have any business down in Brazil or is it all in Canada now?
[00:20:01] Paulo Trindade: No, I have my previous business partner in Brazil.
We are thinking in something for the next two years. But he still owns a business in there. But no, my brazilian mentor lives in here, in Canada.
And he has a company. He owns a company for 20 years as a logistic company.
And he knows better than me the canadian market, how it works.
And for the canadian team, I have this perspective. So how I would like to see a product in the shelf, if I am canadian, what is the caller’s perspective?
Let’s figure out the price and all the components of the product. So I need your perspective to tell me that, because I have no idea.
[00:21:00] Calan Breckon: Out of that, what was the most shocking thing that you felt when you first came here and you were experiencing all of this? Not only were you having a culture shock, as you do, I’ve moved and lived in different countries. But what surprised you the most about the kind of consumerism in Canada versus in Brazil?
[00:21:21] Paulo Trindade: Well, I will talk about my product, of course, the sweet level, the high sugar level we have in Brazil and we do not have here in some products.
Right. So here, I think people appreciate more the taste of the ingredient. This is why we adjusted all recipes for a Canadian we call canadian taste. So before, if you are brazilian and you order our cakes, you’re going to feel like the huge difference between Brazil and Canada there is so sweet. So you taste the sugar first and then the ingredient. So here, when you buy a blueberry muffin, for example, you can kill the blueberry inside the muffin, right?
You can have that sensation that the fruit is inside, not the sugar.
So this is how we adapted in just our product to the canadian market. And in my opinion, is the huge or the big difference between the same product here and in Brazil.
[00:22:40] Calan Breckon: So what you’re saying, if I ever launch anything in Brazil, it better be extra sweet?
[00:22:45] Paulo Trindade: You better have water with you because the cakes and the donuts, everything in there is sweeter than in here.
[00:22:57] Calan Breckon: That’s wild. Because I think stuff here, I loved baked goods. Baked goods is like, I don’t like candy or anything, but baked goods is my favorite thing.
And I prefer, like a nice middle sweetness.
I have had things I’m like, that is way too sweet for me. And I can’t even enjoy it because it’s so sweet. It hurts my teeth almost.
[00:23:19] Paulo Trindade: Yeah, I agree with you. And also it’s not tasteful. So it means sometimes you just have a spoon of sugar and put it in your mouth. Right. SEO, we need. Well, I appreciate when we have something tasteful, something that’s unique, it delivers something different to you. Right? So guava paste is so sweet in Brazil. So we ship right from there to here.
But here we do one process that we decrease the sugar level in the guava paste. This is why our cake is so tasteful. And it’s not sweet as in air.
[00:24:03] Calan Breckon: Perfect.
[00:24:04] Paulo Trindade: You make this adjustment.
[00:24:06] Calan Breckon: Nice.
I’m interested, did you have any help in regards to when you launched your business? Was there any grants or any programs that helped you kind of start and grow your business?
[00:24:17] Paulo Trindade: Yeah, we have several programs and grants here in Ontario. We are located and based in Toronto. Right. So actually the kitchen is in Mississauga, but still same, but different. Yeah.
In the beginning I use filterpreneur, so they are just great with their grants and their programs. So especially for minority, like, black people, LGBTQY plus community as well, they work in a really great way. And for the city and the government of Canada. City of Toronto and the government of Canada, we still have a few funds and grants that all the business owners can have access. I think if I’m not wrong, in that time I used two, I got two. One, it’s digital Mani street, right? For your digital marketing campaign or help if you need. So if your audience now has like a physical store or how they call here a brick and mortar store or space, you are able to submit your application. It’s really quick, guys. It’s really quick. So you just open digital man street, you do an application, someone will call you and you’re going to have 2500 as a grant in your business account.
So they will explain to you how it works. And it’s so easy, it’s fantastic. And especially in the beginning, when you reach out the market, you are doing several things. And sometimes you are not that good with marketing, you’re not that good with social media channels. They bring to you as a business owner a nice perspective how thing works.
And also the grant can help you to hire someone to do that. But you’re going to hire someone knowing what they would do it or what focus, you can do that. So we have several programs here that you can benefit your business or you.
And also I need to mention Enterprise Toronto. So it should be the first resource for your research in Ontario.
If you want to bring your business to a market, if you are bringing a service and you would like to know how or where your audience is, how you can do that in different levels, they have the resources, they have the numbers that they can share with you.
And Enterprise Toronto. It really helped me that time.
[00:27:29] Calan Breckon: Nice. Did they have any grant programs as well, or. That was more of a services. They help you kind of set things up and give you information.
[00:27:37] Paulo Trindade: They have grants I didn’t use in that time. I used only the service because I was in the starting stage of my business. So I was doing the business plan, and then I will see doing the research. So I baked the cakes and it was funny. I’ll put in the box in a backpack. And then I was, like, going to some places and markets and asking people to taste it and say how? From five to ten, someone told me, oh, even when it’s not available, it’s okay. It means that I need to change, that I need to adjust. And then I was moving forward, and this is how it worked. But they have it. They have funds, they have grants as well. And the most important thing, they have information.
When we are in the beginning of a business, we do not have any kind of information that you can use to help you, to guide you. Right. So when you go in there and you say, I want to open a cleaning services company in Toronto, how can I start? So they will connect you with the business mentoring there. So they will bring some numbers to the table, and they will explain to you how this market works. This is only one example how they work. They have several ways to bring you this kind of information.
[00:29:16] Calan Breckon: Awesome. So lots of different programs, lots of different grants, lots of different organizations that offer help to entrepreneurs in Canada. And also, I know there’s tons down in the states as well. Let’s finish off with what’s been one of your favorite parts about being an entrepreneur?
[00:29:35] Paulo Trindade: My favorite one is being an entrepreneur. Oh, it’s an interesting question, but it’s the connections that we are able to make in here. So I love to connect with people and listen to their entrepreneurial journey here in Canada. How was the beginning? How is it going?
Know, especially people from my community, my LGBTQI plus community. So I am in both sides, like Canada, in Brazil here, and I always try to bring information to know resources to them. And also, let me explain this because I think it’s important. I’m a certified diverse supplier as well, with CGLCC and we all are here, and I think it’s a really important resource that we can count on it, right? It’s an ecosystem support that we have.
And being a part of the community as a certified supplier is so insightful and helpful, in my opinion, because we make this kind of connection and support each other. I normally say to my friends, my other, not only the food business, because I’m trying to expand my network, always business owners in general, that CGLCC literally holds you, like, put you in your arms and say, hey, let’s walk together. Of course you still need to compete for your business, but we compete together. We help each other. The doors are open.
It’s the seating, the table, and the most important thing in there, being a part of CGLCC, the Canada’s to LGBTQY plus chamber of commerce, is that you can be who you are without prejudice, without disadvantage for your business. You just be you. So when I’m going to solve and talk to the director in there or the CEO, so they make these connections happens in one event that have been joined together.
And I was me in that event, and I was me in the meeting. So I don’t need to hide who I am to make my business happen.
So this is the most important thing that I need to share here because I think it matters, definitely.
[00:32:35] Calan Breckon: And I would actually say that’s where we met is at a, like, diverse, certified kind of suppliers meeting. There was other people there because I believe it was like the Suppliers Alliance Canada event that we were at, that we actually met at. But being both certified suppliers from the CGLCC has definitely been a huge blessing in my life and has brought know people from all over Canada and then also in Toronto just connected us. And even though some people in same industries are different industries, but when we’re together, it’s like, it’s the same as the community. It’s a lot more of a family vibe than it is a competition vibe. And so we all just get to hang out and have fun and enjoy being business people together, which is really awesome.
[00:33:21] Paulo Trindade: Absolutely. And then it’s exactly what I’m talking about.
I said exhausted in the beginning of our conversation today, and we are talking about the challenges that we face. Sometimes we are hard from being like, an LGBTQy plus or a queer business owner, and we suffer in some moments, right? So let’s not suffer because of our LGBTQ status. So let’s hold hands and walk together. So this is what it means.
Support matters and voice. We have this kind of voice in there so they listen to us. We can share our thoughts and share how we can improve, how we can go together and make our ecosystem even better.
So this is how it works and I love agree.
[00:34:21] Calan Breckon: I agree. Well Paulo, it has been absolutely magical having you on the podcast. I want to thank you so much for being here and sharing your insights on being an entrepreneur. I hope you have an absolutely magical day.
[00:34:34] Paulo Trindade: Thank you. Thank you so much. It was honor for me.
I was honorable to be here and thanks for having me today. I know you are busy too and it was a lovely conversation. I hope your audience enjoy and let’s walk together. Let’s do it.
[00:34:53] Calan Breckon: Thanks again for tuning into today’s episode. If you’d like to know more or order some cakes for yourself, you can head on over to Pauloscakeshop.com and get yourself some tasty treats. We will also make sure that that link is in the show notes for you so that you make sure to get to the right place. Don’t forget to hit that subscribe button. And if you really enjoyed today’s episode, you can give me a little love by giving me a star rating. The business gay podcast is written, produced and edited by me, Calan Breckon. And if you’re looking for some free SEO website audit advice, you can head on over to calanbreckon.com/audit or you can just click the link in the show notes. That’s it for today. Peace, love Rainbow.