10 Powerhouse Mompreneurs Inspire You To Finally Start Your Own Business
Thinking of starting your own business but feeling a little hesitant? Here are 10 women who turned their passion into financially fulfilling endeavors
Surely there are women who once declared “I’m not the type to have kids,” then became a mom can attest that being one is the best thing that happened to them. Isn’t it a rewarding role that’s more than just raising a human being? It’s helped us boost fortitude, understand better, and expand our hearts, which we perhaps didn’t even think is possible.
But the mom label has its downside, too. For one, it can wash out the identity behind the term. We’re now ultimately known as mother first, and with that comes the character judgement directly linked to our ability to parent. And only with hyphens and portmanteaus can we stretch that identity—working mom, stay-at-home-mom, single mom, the list goes on.
Despite the way labels box us in, you can work it to your advantage and push their positive definitions to the forefront. “Mompreneur” is one label that encompasses your true capabilities, creativity, and ingenuity. It also encourages those who can’t see themselves as anything but a parent: you too can chase that dream you’ve been meaning to pursue. We interviewed 10 accomplished mompreneurs who can show you how to do just that. Read their empowering stories of success and challenges that’ll compel you to declare, “I am mother, hear me roar.”
Embracing Time And Its Phases
You’ve set out a career path you thought was crystal clear, then motherhood hits and time stops. You put life on hold but as days and months (sometimes, even years) progress, it seems there’s no time left to bleed for the things you once loved. But know that this is one phase you have to completely immerse in, learn from, and embrace. It’s the way to grow to the next phase.
“I was working at Senator Manny Villar’s retail group and managing [my business] when we learned we were having twins,” shared Ingrid Chavez-Hernandez of Haute Home Manila, a line of intricate and customizable handmade dining items. “Our doctor said it was going to be a high risk pregnancy and discouraged me to travel and work long hours. This led me and my husband to decide that I go on a sabbatical for a while. I never got to go back to work as having the twins kept me busy.”
It was a trying decision for the brand manager turned division head of the country’s top retail companies, who never saw herself as a stay-at-home parent. But she wanted to be there for her children full time, and soon realized that motherhood itself is the driver that helped her further her passion project. “Through motherhood I saw a strength and power in me I never knew existed.”
Mia Villanueva, bag designer and owner of MCV Designs, worked in a bank but had to leave the corporate world when her daughter was diagnosed dyslexic. Her interest in bags and jewelry, despite no formal background in designing, pushed her to capitalize on pure passion. “I just learned through experience,” she said, and is thankful for the shift that allows her to work from home and be with the kids. Her example shows that lack of formal studies isn’t a barrier to success, and you can still find the time to learn at your own pace.
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Changing careers can happen and is often for the better. “I worked in media for 12 years,” explained Apol Massebieau, creative director of Good Luck, Humans. But her knack for making stuff and working with her hands eventually brought her to France sewing in a mobile home in Provence. That later flourished into the clothing, accessories, and home objects business it is today.
Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez, founder and president of TdLG, a collection of accessories, bags, and swimwear, also added, “I’m basically self-taught, which was the most encouraging, exciting and fulfilling part of my earliest days. I continue to learn each day – techniques, manipulation, marketing, gem identification, and much more. It is never easy but persistence and motivation make everything better.”
You may find yourself in hiatus, exploring a new hobby, or reviving an old interest. Whatever phase you are in now, know that you can always pick up where you left off as you allow life’s seasons to pass through.
Business Deserves Nurturing, Too
Business is obviously hard work, but it is work that should fulfill. Despite challenges and trying moments, your will to persevere sprouts from your love of the craft. “I was only 19 then but I already knew that fashion was the path I wanted to take. At such a young age, I already saw that this was something I could actually be doing for a long time. I saw potential in it, I did my thing, I put in the work, and more importantly, I was happy. I didn’t see it as an actual job and that was a good thing,” fashion designer and esteemed bridal couturier Mich Araullo-Razon shared.
Find a passion project that makes you feel that, and it will complete your sense of being. “It's a privilege to be able to do something I love and call it work. For that I am grateful and thankful. It's a passion that nurtures my soul, and I'm a better mom to my children because of that,” added Erica Concepcion-Reyes, who, before becoming a self-taught jewelry designer known for her antique, vintage, and estate pieces under the Riqueza line, worked for the family business in RFM Corp.
Loving what you do doesn’t mean it should be smooth sailing every single day. There are frustrations and problems, and then working on solutions. It deserves care as much as anything we wish to see progress. Much like parenting, isn’t it? Amina Aranaz-Alunan, lead designer of the famed Aranaz brand has 20 years of business experience yet never rests on her laurels. From inciting brand love for local fashion goods when it wasn’t the trend to introducing Aranaz to an international market, she’s willing to push the brand’s limits. “It was also about taking risks ourselves. We had a dream and we followed it… And it seems that there is no formula to success.”
As you take on the challenges, you also grow as a parent, as Anne Marie Saguil of Amarie shared how her children are finding their own goals and passions through her example. The designer, who uses hand-embroidered techniques and indigenous materials in her wearable current pieces, added, “Having a business that fulfills me and keeps me active is definitely an advantage, as it keeps me always on my toes, always learning, and always striving to be a better person. When a person is fulfilled on their own, I think it follows that they also become better people to those around them.”
The Juggling Act
It’s possible to love your work and your family, and provide attention and priority to both. “Of course, ‘making time’ has its sacrifices—having to wake up extra early and sacrifice hours of sleep to be able to perform my duties as a mom and a business woman. I am very hands on doing both, and as a business owner, my work does not stop after eight hours. I am willing to sacrifice these things so I can experience the things that do matter,” said jewelry designer Tim Tam Ong who creates beautiful pieces that value nature and promote nationalism.
We often hear stories of working moms perfectly balancing life and work, when it’s really more about attending to what deserves attention now, then counterbalancing that as we go. This is a pill we swallow as we become mompreneurs. Sacrifices take place, and if we’re disciplined enough, we create routine and a sense of normalcy. Make your own rules and know what works best for your family. Lally Dizon, the only exotic skin bag and accessories designer in the country, believes that having an outlet for your creativity is advantageous, building confident women that children can look up to. “Having your ‘me time’ and having a business to take care of also means you are giving some space to your children to grow up on their own because your attention is not just focused on them, which for me is a good thing.”
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The example we set today plays a bigger part in our kids’ lives later on. “Children learn from what they see, not hear. Witnessing their parents being involved in careers, enterprises, projects, advocacies promotes a sense of commitment, industry and responsibility. These are qualities I aspire for my children not only for when they are of working age but even as early as now. Hopefully, I have in some ways, inspired my kids to live with inherent mindfulness,” shared Tweetie. Tim Tam also added, “ At an early age, my sons have learned the values of hard work, camaraderie, and time management. In fact, they are working for me now that they are on summer vacation… All my collections also promote nationalism and love of country, things that I want my children to learn at an early age.”
Having a business and its creative process intertwine with motherhood. You experience labor pains, milestones, new challenges, and growth. Believe that you’re definitely ready to rear this new “baby,” because motherhood and entrepreneurship aren’t compartmentalized but flowing and learning from each other. They form you into a strong, creative, and nurturing woman. And there’s a perfect word for it: Mompreneur.
Need to jumpstart your creative juices for your entrepreneurial adventure? Meet these powerhouse mompreneurs at the MaArte Fair from August 16 to 19 at the Peninsula Manila.
Photos courtesy of MaArte Fair.