New Yorker Maribel Lieberman has set out to conquer the European market with her superstylish, high-quality chocolates. In the seven years since Lieberman, 43, launched MarieBelle New York, sales have increased 67 percent. But success stateside wasn't enough for Lieberman.
Two years ago, while staying at the ritzy George V hotel in Paris, Lieberman approached the food and beverage manager and the chef about serving her products. One sip and they were sold on Lieberman's signature creamy hot chocolate; that day, MarieBelle chocolate drinks became part of the hotel's menu. "I knew my chocolate was different than what the French were used to," she says. "Their chocolate is traditional. Mine is modern in both design and flavor since I infuse MarieBelle chocolate with exotic ingredients like saffron and passion fruit."
Lieberman, whose business has two New York City locations, has subsequently snagged outlets at French giants like Le Bon Marche and Galleries Lafayette and is currently in talks with an Italian retailer. "Everyone in the world wants to sell in the U.S.," she says. "I knew if I could make it here, I'd make it anywhere."