Silence That Nagging Voice Within - The Story of Mama Rosa's



· 7 min read

If you want to make a pound of flour tortillas or fry jacks, how much money do you need to spend? Five dollars? Ten dollars?

You will need to spend about 15 dollars to buy everything you need.

But you can get it done for about half that, with a bag of Mama Rosa's Flour tortilla and Fry-Jack Mix.

This is the story of how Mama Rosa's transformed something as simple as flour tortillas and fry jacks into a livelihood.

We Just See the Milestones

In January Mama Rosa's Flour Tortillas and Fry-Jack mix celebrated its 1st anniversary. The founder, Natali, explained that the journey to this milestone began many years ago when she was in school.

Early mornings with Grandma

Natali grew up in a very humble family in Corozal. She witnessed her mom and grandmother doing everything within their power to keep food on the table, a roof over their heads, and their kids in school.

Natali was not very gifted in school. She struggled to keep up, but was always determined to make the most of the opportunity to study. So she would often wake up in the wee hours of the morning to review in the calm and stillness of the morning.

Her grandmother Mama Rosa, would already be filling up the house with the lustful aroma of fresh bread, johnny cakes, and powder buns.

Every morning, before heading to school, Natali would head out to sell with her basin full of baked goods. Then, she would run home, shower and rush to school.

Since her grades were not the best, she knew that securing a scholarship would not be easy. Working her way through school seemed like the only viable option. So, she packed her things and headed for the city.

She wanted a bachelor's degree. Nothing would stop her from getting it.

Life in the Big City

Natali quickly learned that life in the city was not the easiest. She now had the responsibility of paying for her rent, utilities, school fees, and food.

These expenses cut deep into her salary. They slowly ate away at her dream of ever being able to afford her dream home.

But Natali would not accept this. So she brainstormed and tried different ways to supplement her income.

She began using her free time to make and sell appetizers to her friends in the city. Then, she teamed up with her aunt and started carrying paletas from Corozal to Belize City to earn extra cash.

Scared of the No's

Natali's little business was starting to do well. But she would not dare sell to someone outside of her friend group.

She dreaded the idea of people telling her no. She knew that she internalized them, so instead, she opted for avoidance.

Despite this, her clientele started growing, thanks to her friends.

As it grew, she began rebranding her products. Natali's mind went to the woman who had inspired her all her life, Mama Rosa.

New Ideas

At the end of 2021, Natali had the idea of making a fry jack and flour tortilla mix. She could envision it on the shelves of all the grocery stores in Belize. Natali thought it could help make life easier for busy parents. She also hoped to help foreigners take a piece of our jewel back home with them.

But there was a little voice in her head questioning if it would.

She gave in, listened to the voice, and decided that it was a bad idea.

Stick to your Convictions

In January, the idea wouldn't leave. She lay in bed, recovering from covid, with the mix idea replaying in her head. She could not stop thinking about it, so she picked up her phone and called one of her sisters to talk it through.

Natali began working silently, keeping her idea to herself. She researched packaging and shopped around for her ingredients. She told no one, not even her partner.

When she had her first batch ready, she showed him. He helped her launch it in her friend group.

Her friends were impressed! They loved the product.

A New Approach

This time around, Natali wanted to try something new. She was still scared of the 'no’s.' But she was also determined to give this idea her all.

She got an ice box, packed some of her mixes, boarded a crowded bus, and headed to other districts.

She stood by the corners of the busiest streets in towns where she knew no one. People would walk by, look at her product, and buy nothing. She did not give up. She would stand there shamelessly promoting it under the hot sun.

Then one day, they began to buy.

Natali continued pushing herself, even when she felt embarrassed. She kept going to different places even when a voice in her head kept screaming, telling her to stop. Then one day, stores started reaching out to her.

They understood her vision and wanted to grace their shelves with her product.

Doors began opening for her product. Businesses started to believe her vision. Her business ideas started standing out.

Her business was even selected from among thousands of small businesses in Belize and featured in the Belize JBC Coloring book. The second part of her dream was coming into play, and her mix now represented a proud Belizean product.

Natali could slowly begin to see her dream take shape.

Today, Natali still works a full-time job. She battles between sharing her time between her day-job and her business. It is inspiring to see how she managed to change an everyday product into a brand we as Belizeans, can be proud of.

A word to other Business owners from Natali:

Don’t focus on the Negative

In an era of social media, getting caught up in all the negative things people say about your business is easy. You need to ignore it. Fight for your product, believe in it, and allow the product to speak to those it was created for.

As a business owner, it is always important to remember that you are not there to serve everyone. So, do not let the people who are not in your target market cloud your judgment.

When you are Scared

If you are scared, reach out to someone close to you. Someone that will be honest but is also rooting for you to succeed. It is with them; you will find the strength to persevere when you are not sure you can.

Start Small

Don’t be scared to start your business small. Start it as a side gig, in your free time. Start with a small batch. Serve a small number of people. Just start!

You don’t need millions of dollars to start. You need to commit and be willing to make the sacrifices and give it a try.

How to buy her products

Today, you can find Natali's products on the shelves of the following stores:

If none of these places are accessible for you, give her a buzz on her social media here. She will get to you as soon as she can.

Follow her page, and show some love.

Thank her for making flour tortillas and fry jacks easier for us.

And for sharing her story with us.

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