Mahsa Arbabi, Hidden Garden and Canadian Co-Packing, Burnaby
Mahsa Arbabi is the Co-owner of two businesses, Hidden Garden and Canadian Co-packing, alongside her husband, Hamid.
Hidden Garden Foods manufactures Gluten-Free and Nut-Free cookies made of vegetables, which are available in four different flavours. These cookies have been marketed in Canada, the US and Japan since 2015, and are distributed through many major outlets, such as Sobeys, Amazon and TJX Canada.
Canadian Co-Packing is a company in Burnaby that provides complete food manufacturing solutions for food start-ups. Her company is Gluten-Free certified, which appeals to her co-packing clients who create healthy foods.
Mahsa immigrated to Canada from Iran two years before purchasing the companies in November 2019. Her husband supported her to start the business and they are business partners now. Mahsa’s mother also makes cookies and snacks in her own business, which helps her to use her baking ideas.
I never had a business in Canada, it was my first experience. My husband encouraged me to start it and also my advisor at WEC, who was the person who believed in me, so I started to be the best person in my business.
Giving Back During Covid-19
During the pandemic, Hidden Garden and other good brands got together and donated care packages to health care centers.
We keep sending cookies through other channels. I’d like other health brands and products to join us to have more options and more products to help our health workers, and also I can offer a 30% discount on my cookies. The money that we receive for selling the cookies will be donated to health care centers.
Q. What has your WEC loan enabled you to do in your business?
The day that I receive my loan was the best day of my business life. But at the same moment, I found that the Coronavirus was affecting all the businesses and probably mine. I had a phone call with my advisor and she encouraged us to be calm and focus on our goals.
My husband and I start planning to grow our business and we started sending cookies all over Canada to all the brokers. My husband launched cookies on Amazon and also I worked on the Hidden Garden Instagram page.
We purchased inventory to increase production and I also hired two new employees with good experience to help my team.
I received lots of good feedback, and almost every day I had a voicemail from my customers and the message was about how they liked the cookies.
We also added a photography studio to our facility, and we offer this new service to our customers.
Q. What other services has Women’s Enterprise Centre provided you with?
I believe I am still learning, and WEC is my first source to read and join the webinars, but the best part is Mentoring.
Q. What inspired you to take the leap and start your own business?
We think about how to build the future and to be beneficial for other people. It encourages my husband and I to use our talents and with the diligence we always have, we believe in ourselves.
Q. What is your greatest strength as an entrepreneur?
A. In my mind the greatest strength of being an entrepreneur is to see how the ideas you have are becoming real, and to lead the right people to the right position and achieve the right results.
Q. What are your goals for the business?
A. Goal A is to grow Hidden Garden and be in the global market by the end of 2020.
Goal B is to grow Canadian Co-Packing and build a professional team of marketing and sales and hire an expert baker, to support my current and future customers.
Q. Anything else you’d like to share?
A. I want to appreciate my husband who always has new business ideas and, with his support, I am at this level of my life.
I want to say to my Advisor, you are the person who believes in my business, and it makes me more responsible, to show others who didn’t believe it.
Where to Find Hidden Garden Foods and Canadian Co-Packing