Experience is the best teacher. So when three mompreneurs showed up at the Mommy Mundo Meet Ups, everyone knew that it was going to be an awesomely educational and wildly inspiring event.
Minnie Jumaquio of Snug-A-Hug, Sherrie Siy of Discovery Depot, and Denise Gonzales-Bernardo of Indigo Baby shared their thoughts and ideas on a range of subjects, from how they started to what inspires them.
What got them started
Minnie just wanted to sleep better, actually. Around 2012, Minnie and her family had set their sights on migrating to Canada. When their plans fell through, Minnie found herself depressed, sleeping her days away. Because she slept and slept and slept, she experienced body pains in no time. Snug-A-Hug, the all around pillow which you can use from when you’re pregnant until you’re breastfeeding and beyond, is actually the result of her need to sleep better. Because the pillows she found online were too expensive, she made one herself. When she posted her invention on Facebook, she got inquiries and then actual sales. Things moved on from there.
Sherrie found inspiration on another mom’s observation. When a mompreneur friend quipped that wooden toys are actually better than plastic ones, it was as if a light bulb suddenly switched on for Sherrie. She studied the market and found out that most wooden toys were unbranded, and thus their quality unchecked. With her experience in retail, she decided to test the waters, bringing in P150,000 worth of wooden toys in time for the Christmas season. Her instincts were proven correct, and today Discovery Depot is a popular pick for parents who want safe, sustainable, and education toys for their children.
The birth of her first son proved to be an eye-opener for Denise. She was an advertising professional then, but didn’t want to be stuck in the office while her son was home. With her friend Monica Manzano, who became a first-time mom at about the same time, they thought of a business they can start off from their homes. The young moms found themselves wanting a lot of imported products, but those were just too expensive. “Let’s just make our own stuff,” the two decided. Nursing covers came in black then, but they wanted prints, so they made them. As an afterthought, they placed their products on Multiply. Eventually, they would make products free from chemicals and other additives, and become one of the most dynamic mompreneurs in town.
What keeps them on their toes
Most mompreneurs would tell you that it’s not the money that keeps them on their toes. It is their commitment to a sacred purpose.
For Minnie, it was the goal of giving everyone a good night’s sleep. Because her product was new and non-traditional, it was a challenge to introduce customers to the pillow as a health and wellness tool concept. However, because it was a new product, it also meant that she was the pioneer in the field, and that her customer base was far and wide.
For Sherrie, it was to offer a better alternative to commercial toys, and to promote the benefits of creative play. The simpler the toy, the better for kids, she says. When toys are simple, the child is stimulated to think and create.
For her part, Denise believed that moms and dads can change the planet by taking better care of their children. “We forget how important time is with kids, specially in the first two years,” she says. Indigo Baby’s various advocacies point towards schools of thought that promote relationship-building between parents and their children, from breastfeeding to babywearing.
Of course, being committed to a purpose does not come without its fair share of challenges. Minnie, for instance, had to first breed dogs just so she could raise enough capital for her Snug-A-Hug business.
When Indigo Baby started to take off, Denise found the business eating into her family life, literally and figuratively. Because she kept her stocks at home, they inched their way into their living areas. Because she worked from home, her husband had to institute a no-phone rule in their bedroom just so she could focus on the family.
While mompreneurs are grateful for the opportunity to work from home, it is always a struggle to balance the needs of work and family. At times, one may have to give way to the other. When Sherrie found herself faced with a family issue, she focused first on her children, leaving her little energy to work on her business. But she has no regrets, because when all is said and done, family comes first.
What makes them grow
Certainly, there are many rewards to running your own business. A self-confessed home buddy, Minnie loves the fact that she can stay at home and still earn money. Whenever she does go out, she schedules a lot of appointments on the same day so she need not spend to much time in traffic.
Sherrie loves the fact that her business allows her to spend quality and quantity time with her children. She remembers, “I was happiest when I was breastfeeding. I wanted to have a lot of time with my children.” At the same time, she wanted to work to set a good example for her children. By working towards a goal, she hopes to inspire her children to work towards their own goals as well.
Indeed, Sherrie advises aspiring mompreneurs to work with a goal clearly in mind. In this way, you can track your progress. You must also be firm in your decisions. You have to learn to detach yourself from issues so you can move forward.
Minnie encourages moms to dream big, but appreciate every little success. Birth pains are normal, she says, but you just have to persevere.
Finally, Denise reminds mompreneurs to never forget to take care of themselves. In the busyness of their days, they may forget to eat healthy or keep to a fitness routine. But it is by nurturing one’s self physically, mentally, and spiritually that one may grow and blossom!