Umber Ahmad gives the American saying ‘you go girl’ a whole new meaning. This MIT and University of Pennsylvania graduate had a successful career as an investment banker at Wall Street with her own firm, Specialized Capital Management, before one of her celebrity clients Tom Colicchio implored her to start her own business after eating her baked cookies, brownies, and cakes. Umber’s parents hail from Pakistan and her sister was born in their home country.
Meet the Mah-Ze-Dar (Mazedar) Bakery:
Leaving the comfort and security of being a part of a large, established firm was terrifying – Umber
You quite literally must stand on your laurels. There is no Plan B, there is no rescue or out
She said that her former client’s encouraging words eventually convinced her to start her own business, selling her baking online at first.
I wanted to build something for myself. I had spent my whole career finding ways to position, develop and expand others’ luxury brands
There comes a point where you find the fire to do it for yourself
Umber wanted to be happy. It was just not about making money for her. For her, it was doing something that she was passionate about, that she enjoyed and that she could do while money in the process.
The magic of spices was first taught to her in Pakistan, where as a very young girl she learned that food had a language all its own.
She slowly built her bakery from online selling and creating a brand and image for herself and her products, and then expanded to a physical location in the West Village of Manhattan in 2014.
Her treats certainly look delicious:
Umber spent her childhood in Michigan where she was surrounded by families of immigrants from Sweden, Finland, and Norway. She says that the diversity strengthened their identity as people.
She has certainly set a precedent for Pakistanis all around the world to do something to look up to. She left a successful money-making career to pursue what she loved and it has certainly worked out very well for her. She is an inspiration to us all.
The Bakery is Located in New York.