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Exploring Life and Business with Lilly Zen of COLORFEST

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lilly Zen.

Hi Lilly, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
In 2017, I was working for a large International company and making plans to get into management position. I was preparing myself when I found out I was pregnant of twins! Totally unexpected and this was about to change my plans for a while.

I had a complicated pregnancy and I lost one of my babies. In order to keep the other one, I had to temporarily leave work and take care of myself. After a complicated labor, I finally had my baby boy Ben and was thinking about my “return to work” in three months and getting everything back on track.

Unfortunately, a few weeks after labor I started having extreme pain on my body that got progressively worse after a few months. Without a diagnose and getting literally disable, I couldn’t go back to work and I ended up losing my dream job.

So after a few months, I was unemployed, with a newborn to take care of, with a debilitating pain and no money.

I had to do something to make money and because I have an artistic side and I knew how to make sweets, I decided to dive into the baking world. Everything was going well, I was getting more orders everyday. I started doing cake toppers and everything related to custom sweets. I was excited! But I had so much pain and standing for hours in the kitchen was really hard for me.

After nine months, I was diagnosed with Severe Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Those are autoimmune diseases that affect the entire body. My world collapsed. My doctor said: “your disease activity is severe and if untreated, you have aprox. ten years”

I started the treatments and kept moving on with my orders and making my custom sweets and toppers. I was fully booked and I was focused on making money to support my family. I was spending night after night awake standing in the kitchen until 6-7am in the morning to finish the orders and the hospitalizations started because my body couldn’t handle anymore. That’s when I realized… I need to find something else to do; otherwise I will transform ten years in five years. I have a son to take care.

I used to work with edible glitters and dusts on my sweets but I was always unhappy with them because they had horrible quality and I actually had a problem with some brands that were actually doing false advertising selling plastic glitter as edible… this started to grow on me and one day I realized ” That’s it. I’m gonna create a business focused on 100% edible FDA approved glitters and dusts.”

It took me a few months studying, reading and searching about the subject, chemistry, colorimetry and FDA compliance then I was ready to make my own. Everything was ready to start then I got very sick again and I literally abandoned the idea. I have never shared the idea with anyone.

A few months later in a brunch with friends a very religious friend got to me and said: “I have a message for you… God told me that you have a project. Don’t be afraid. Restart your project” – That got me and as soon as I got home I started working on the project again and came up with the name. COLORFEST (Festival of colors)

COLORFEST was born. Fresh and unexperienced but ready to learn and provide the best. We have been almost two years in the market now and to me feels like ten years because I have been learning so much! We are today a company that sells 100% edible FDA approved glitters, dusts and food coloring for confectionery needs. We have 100% customer satisfaction and we are proud to say that we offer an exclusive purchase experience to our customers from the time they access our website to the moment they receive their box and anytime they need us after that.

I’m 41 now, married, have a beautiful boy, six amazing cats and I’m dedicated full time to COLORFEST now. I love what I do!

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
It’s never a smooth road. I had and still have a lot of struggles:

– Health issues – to me this is one of the worst if not the worst… You need to do things… but you can’t move. RA and Lupus and very debilitating. Some days I can’t walk, of dress myself, take a fork to my mouth, hold a pen, hold a cup or anything similar… business requires discipline and on a certain pace.

– I’m American but I was born in Brazil and unfortunately we still see discrimination and have to deal with ignorant people. I don’t tolerate any form of racism.

– Lack of investment – I started COLORFEST with $300. Wasn’t easy but I was determined. Today when I look at the sales report, I can’t believe I started with so little.

We’ve been impressed with COLORFEST LLC, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
COLORFEST is proud to offer only 100% edible glitters and dusts for confectionery needs all FDA compliant. Every single ingredient in our products is approved by the FDA and safe for human consumption.

We offer a large variety of products and colors to give our customers many options to choose and give them a lot of room to create their pieces of art.

Our product have excellent coverage and the shimmer is like no other in the market.

I’m proud that I created a brand that the customer always comes first. Before any decision is made we put ourselves in the customer’s shoes and then the decisions are made. Money doesn’t come first, money is the result of customer satisfaction and that’s our main goal since day 1.

If you are reading this story, check our website! We have a special promo code for Orlando Voyager readers 🙂 VOYAGERGIFT and get a special gift from us with love.

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Image Credits
Blue cake with flowers on top: Manu Mesquita – Brigadeiro Go Little Ariel – Paula Pinheiro – Sweet Things by Paula P. Black and Gold cake – Renata Mello – Karamello Sweets

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