Juan Pablo de Anda
"Don’t linger in the past, live the present, but use your heritage to your advantage".
Juan Pablo de Anda
Country of Origin: Mexico.
State of Residency: VIC. Favourite place in Australia: Byron Bay. Upon arrival: Surprised by how dark it was at 4:30pm in a Melbourne winter day
By Cristy Abela
Juan Pablo is co founder of the first Mexican Paleteria in Australia ChillBro! Paletas. Despite being a new and novel business, ChillBro! Paletas has participated in renowned events and festivals such as the Australian Open through Mamasita Restaurant, Tennis Australia Christmas party, The Puma Flagship store launch at Melbourne Central, St Jemores Laneway Festival among others. To continue increasing the awareness of the Mexican food, they work with restaurants such as Mamasita, La tortilleria and Cantina Bendigo amongst others. Juan Pablo still works part time as a fashion consultant at Politix Menswear. During his time at Politix he has been in charge of project developments and has won awards such as sales leader and area manager.
Tell us your story
After I graduated from my degree in Marketing, I got a job as a visual merchandiser and sales manager at Sony Electronics in Guadalajara Mexico, which got me connected with people from a well-known advertising agency. I really wanted to work there to learn as much as I could from the advertising industry. I finally got the job and worked at that agency for 2.5 years. I have to admit, it was not an easy job. Working in that field can put a lot of pressure and require from you a lot of dedication and long hours. Eventually, I needed a break. I wanted to do a Master’s degree overseas, to experience another culture while studying. In 2005, I chose RMIT in Melbourne to study a degree in advertising. When I arrived to Melbourne, a couple from Mexico helped me a lot to settle in more smoothly. However, I have to admit that since my early years I had to learn to be adaptable to changes, moving houses, meet new people and make new friends as a kid I moved a lot within Mexico due to my dad’s job.
I got my very first job by walking in different shops and asking if they needed help. My first job was in a busy coffee shop in Elizabeth Street, Melbourne. Melbourne has amazing coffee and soon I realised that I knew very little about coffee compared to Melbournians and the people in the coffee shop. So, I had to refine my coffee skills straight away. Few months after I got the job, a Colombian friend invited me to his birthday dinner. That night I meet other Colombians; one of them suggested me to apply for a job at the company she was working for - Politix Menswear. She gave me tips on how to dress for an interview at a fashion retailer and the basics on what to say. I followed her recommendations and I went to talk to her boss which gave me my first trial. It wasn’t easy at the beginning, I had to step out of my comfort zone and learn to engage in quick conversations to customers and basically sell not just items of clothes but a full styling and outfitting service. I proved to be a valuable staff member and worked between intermittently during my time as student.
After completion of my studies I was ready to go back to Mexico. However, someone suggested me to approach my boss at Politix and ask for a sponsorship visa to stay and work in Australia. At that moment, I wasn’t too serious about the fact of staying in Australia, as that was not my original plan. However, something inside of me, made me reconsider it. So I decided to put together a presentation to the big boss. He not only gave me the opportunity but also offered me a job in marketing at head office. A year later, I was promoted to Regional Sales Manager.
While I was in the sponsorship visa process, I met a beautiful girl, at a community charity event from El Salvador. It took me a while to convince her to date me. After dating for about 4 years we got married in 2012. Around the same time, I decided I wanted to have my own business. Matt Liang one of my friends from work had the same interest, so we started to develop a few projects and it was until 2014 that we had the idea of opening a Mexican Paleteria. We chose this concept because we saw the opportunity to introduce “Paletas” - a popular Mexican style of ice treats on a stick. Despite, the idea being there, we had to learn first how to make them. So I went to Mexico to take an intensive course on Mexican artisan ice cream making and Paleta making, which was also an opportunity to see my family and friends. Once I came back, Matt, my wife, and myself worked for about 4 intensive months improving and developing our own recipes. We were presented with a huge opportunity to partner up with one of Matt’s friends as an investor. He is a restaurateur with lots of experience in the field, so together we opened up a shop in July 2015.
Today we make Paletas using the artisan method I learned in Mexico using fresh fruits, milk, cream and other delicious ingredients as dulce de leche, chocolate and nuts. Currently, ChillBro! Paletas is open to the public on ground level in Melbourne Central. We also operate 6 Paleta carts (Ice Cream carts) to cater for events and festivals in Melbourne and surroundings all year round.
Staying in Australia - An overwhelming challenge for me was to get my sponsor visa. While I had been working with the Politix for 1.5 years, I knew it would be a big challenge to sell myself to my boss. However, I was determined to give it a shot and stay in Australia, so I put all my effort to achieve it. I deliver a presentation to my boss on Marketing insight and the challenges and opportunities that I saw back then. The opportunity to be sponsored by my company to stay in Australia was huge.
Relationships – I struggle to convince my now-wife that I was serious about her. I was straight up to her, but she got a bit funny about me being so direct. That, the age difference (She is almost 8 years younger than me); and the possibility of me going back to Mexico made here hesitant. The challenge wasn’t terrible but it needed time and dedication.
Humour - I’ve always found a bit hard to fully understand the Aussie humour, and it’s funny because I actually enjoy it a lot, I wish I could be quicker at getting it and to crack a good Aussie joke. In some countries in Latin America we don’t always take the things lightly. I feel that in Australia I’ve learned that sometimes you have to relax and let it go. And that is how I see the Australians get by with life.
Piece of advice
Find your identity - Try to evaluate what do you like about being a Latino and what do you like about Australians. Try to make the best version of yourself with these two concepts.
Live in the present - I try to take my life in Australia as it is and just enjoy the everyday. Whatever you do when you come to Australia be yourself and never look back, you are who you are because what you inherited where you come from; but don’t linger in the past, live the present, use your heritage to your advantage.
Consider advice carefully - Listen to your parents and friends, as they want the best for you; however, form your own opinion from an Australian perspective. Be open minded, respect the country, its nature and beliefs.
In the next few years...
Juan Pablo plans to continue growing ChillBro! Paletas. They are aiming to explore different sides of the business. He believes that as long as he is alive and healthy, he can overcome the challenges that will present for him and the business.
He sees himself raising his family, living happily and enjoying life. He would also like to take his family to Mexico for a long period so they can experience and understand their father’s heritage and to practice their Spanish. He would love to do a road trip around Australia with his family so they can experience road trips as the ones he did with his parents when he was a kid. If you wish to contact Juan Pablo email us at firstname.lastname@example.org