For some, the world of makeup is overwhelming. For Mariah Wagman, it’s always been a passion. After earning her Professional Makeup Artist diploma through Blanche Macdonald, Mariah returned home to the Sunshine Coast and decided to further her love of makeup by launching Mirage Handcrafted Makeup out of her tiny studio. Her goal was to create high quality, yet versatile makeup products for all makeup lovers—young or old, experienced or novice.

A blank canvas

After meeting success in her own community, Mariah began considering ways to grow Mirage outside of the province and outside of Canada. “Exporting is such a huge opportunity, but it’s also incredibly daunting!” she exclaims.

Although she had no prior knowledge of exporting, Mariah was keen to access the many advantages of entering new key markets, particularly in L.A., New York, London, Paris, Seoul, and Tokyo.

Through another Export Navigator client, Christopher Norman Chocolates, Mariah was referred to her Export Advisor, Nick Maclennan. “Nick has helped us understand the importance of planning things out effectively so that we export right the first time,” noted Mariah. “As a fellow entrepreneur and start-up owner, he really understands our needs.”

Learning through wisdom

While Mirage is still in the pre-export phase, Nick’s guidance has helped Mariah to build an effective and adaptable export plan. “Nick provided us advice on how to tailor our marketing, including enhancing our website, to attract international markets,” Mariah explains. “He’s also connected us with resources like the Digital Marketing Bootcamp.”

After a recent website launch, Mariah can see the impact already. “As we grow, we’ll potentially bring in a staff member to assist,” she says. “Rather than learning from our mistakes, we’re working with Nick to ensure we grow in such a way that we export right the first time.”

A good-looking future

Mariah notes that exporting planning is a massive undertaking for a start-up, but also incredibly rewarding. The learning curve is made smoother by working with Export Advisors like Nick.

“He does a wonderful job of teaching, as well as answering our hundreds of questions in a patient and kind manner,” says Mariah.

Just as she was referred to Export Navigator by a fellow entrepreneur, Mariah strongly recommends the program for other businesses. “It is by far one of the best programs and support systems out there,” she exclaims. “Working with passionate and like-minded people helps you stay on the ball while you learn about the global landscape and build an effective plan for success.”

Nick Maclennan