Cathy Brand-Beere

Cathy Brand-Beere

Owner and Founder, DeBrand Fine Chocolate

2024 Category Winner - Brand Champion

Video Transcript

Cathy Brand-Beere: My name is Cathy Brand-Beere and I’m the founder and president of DeBrand Fine Chocolates. I started making chocolates as a young child and I’ve always loved it so it’s been a really fun experience turning into a business and watching it grow. 


I grew up in Fort Wayne. My parents had a candy-making, cake-decorating, wedding supply business, and I used to go to work with them. So, at a very young age I started decorating cakes, making candies and I actually made little chokers and necklaces and I would take them to school to sell them to my friends. In high school, I did wedding cakes one summer, which is surprising anyone let a kid do their wedding cake, but a few people did. Chocolate has always been my favorite of all of those things that I’ve done so that’s why I turned it into a business. 


 I started in Fort Wayne because that’s where I lived. Of course, there were times when I thought, “Oh, too bad we’re not in a bigger market” or… I soon learned that no, we’re right where we should be. And the more I’ve traveled, and I’ve traveled a lot, the more I’ve appreciated living here. I was fortunate to grow up in a small family business, so I really got to watch how my parents dealt with other people, and everything they did was with the highest of integrity and I feel like that just really helped shape me. I just wanted to make the best product that we could make. You can’t compete in every category, so from the very beginning I decided I don’t even want to try to compete on price because that would mean we’d have to skimp on ingredients or on the beauty of the product. I was more concerned about just having fun and creating the products that I wanted to create more so than competing with anybody else. 


I have always had self-doubt. I still do. I think that’s normal but when you love what you’re doing and you want to achieve certain goals, I didn’t really look at this as some insurmountable mountain to achieve. I looked at it as one day at a time. I would tell my younger self to think big from the beginning for one thing. Also, when confronting employees or having to confront anybody, you shouldn’t stress about it. You should just be kind, confident and logical. That’s what I tell our managers as they’re learning to manage people. I had artwork designed for my office that quotes Socrates saying strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people. Another thing I love about Fort Wayne is I love this community, I love the people and I so appreciate how much they seem to appreciate DeBrand. When they tell me that they give it to all of their incoming guests or they take it when they travel to different countries to give us gifts, that just makes me feel very happy to be a part of this community.


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Tod Minnich: Pioneer Educates Here.

Cathy Brand-Beere: Pioneer Chocolatiers Here.

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