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A Better Bakery in Bethel

Career Entrepreneur Aims to “Put a Pie on Every Table”

From fitness guru to home chef, Mubarakah Ibrahim has the entrepreneurial bug. A pie posted to social media marked the start of her newest business, Mmm Pies & Gourmet Desserts.
Mubarakah Ibrahim, Owner of Mmm Pies and Gourmet Desserts
Meet Mubarakah Ibrahim
 

Owner, Mmm Pies and Gourmet Desserts

The Backstory

Mubarakah Ibrahim of New Haven is quick to tell anyone that she was “born with an entrepreneurial spirit.” It’s a claim validated by the many businesses she’s launched ranging from the herbal tea and supplement venture she started at only 21 years old, to the popular New Haven fitness studio she ran for eight years.

More recently, Mubarakah is known around the world as “Fit Muslimah”, the name of her wildly-popular web site and social media channels where she offers free wellness information and paid-subscription access to personal training and healthy eating plans. Her work as an African-American Muslim woman entrepreneur and fitness sensation has attracted the attention of the Oprah Winfrey Show and brought her to the White House twice as the dinner guest of then-President Barack Obama.

Life was going well for Mubarakah until a cancer scare stopped her in her tracks. The fitness guru began reflecting on the things she most loved in her life. “One of my thoughts was, ‘What if I never get to eat a piece of bean pie again?’” she recalled.

Despite being declared cancer-free, the thought of the delicious navy bean-based pies that she grew up eating (a traditional comfort food heralding back to her Muslim and African-American roots) never wandered far from her mind. “I’d have to drive to Brooklyn to find an authentic bean pie,” she said. “I considered doing it, but I figured it couldn’t be too hard to make my own. It took me about a dozen tries to recreate the taste and custardy texture I remember from my youth.”

She posted a picture of her successful pie on social media. In addition to plenty of likes she also received more than 60 requests to purchase a pie. “My entrepreneurial instincts kicked in,” she said. “I thought maybe there’s a business here!”

One year later, Mmm Pies & Gourmet Desserts has sold nearly 5,000 pies to wholesale resellers such as Stop & Shop, Whole Foods and ShopRite as well as locally owned markets. She also sells direct to consumers on her web site.

 

How Women's Business Development Council Helped

Despite soaking up as much advice as she could from local chefs and bakers, Mubarakah quickly realized that calculating the profit margin and taxes for a pie business differed vastly from doing so for a fitness business.

“I had known about the Women’s Business Development Council for years. I realized I needed help, so I met with their financial advisor who showed me how to set up my QuickBooks for a food business, and how to allocate certain items. That’s when I realized that I had been paying taxes on things I didn’t need to!” she said.

“I learned a lot I never would have figured out on my own. And that’s the value of the WBDC,” she said. “It’s helping women navigate the technical, financial and foundational aspects of running a business. I learned early on that just because you start a business doesn’t mean that customers are going to come. Even if you do get customers at your door, your business isn’t going to succeed if you’re not making a return on your investment. WBDC makes that happen.”

With the continued guidance of the Women’s Business Development Council, Mubarakah hopes to open a brick and mortar storefront where she will sell bean pies and other varieties of pies in the New Haven area in time for the holiday season. Her end-goal for her business? “To put a pie on every table.”

“It’s been an exciting journey so far, I can’t wait to see what’s ahead.”

 

Find Out More About Mmm Pies and Gourmet Desserts

For more information on Mmm Pies and Gourmet Desserts, visit ilovebeanpies.com.