In 2020, during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, mother-daughter duo MariChris Brown and Mazzi Nichols launched their business, The Brown Pecan, with a recipe given to them by a good friend.
"I tweaked the recipe to add my own flare and started making them just for family and friends," Brown said. "I didn't expect my family to enjoy them so much. Before I knew it, I was baking batches of pecans every weekend, mainly for my husband."
Brown then decided to start taking samples to her workplace, where her coworkers began praising her "crack nuts" — saying they'd even pay for more. So that's what exactly what she decided to do. Brown and her daughter sat down the next day to come up with a game plan.
"First the name: My last name is Brown, and so are we, so the Brown Pecan came to be," she said. "We were both very excited to be able to work together and create something people around us could enjoy."
The duo now sells candied pecans. But according to them, not just any kind of pecans. Theirs come with an added flavor most wouldn't expect, and they call it "sweet with a bit of heat." The goods are available for purchase online or can be found in multiple local stores around the Tacoma area, including Tacoma Boys and Tacoma Boys South Hill, H&L produce, Harbor Greens (University Place and Gig Harbor), Emish Market and La Pasta (Queen Ann Hill and Wedgwood).
They think their unique flavor is what makes the creations stand out, and you won't find anything on the market that tastes quite like what they offer. Their pecans come in 5 and 10-ounce bags.
No doubt, this experience has come with rewards and obstacles.
"Starting this business has allowed me to quit my full-time job and work alongside my daughter in creating something we were able to watch grow," Brown said. "The most challenging part is paperwork. Neither one of us likes doing it."
Their favorite part about selling at markets and events around town?
"It's fun," Brown said. "We enjoy seeing new and familiar faces who have supported us throughout this short amount of time. We also enjoy talking with people about our product and handing out samples. The smile on people's faces full of confusion and enjoyment is always a good time."
You can follow along with the pair's evolving journey on their Instagram page. You'll also learn about which farmers markets and community events they'll be rotating around in upcoming months.
Corinne Whiting is a freelance writer for Seattle Refined. Follow her work and adventures here.