#TeamMom: The Mompreneurs
As Expo Mom celebrates its tenth year, the longest running event of its kind pays tribute to #TeamMoms that have served as a lifeline for mothers all over the Philippines. Here is one such group initially brought together by Expo Mom but later on found solace and strength in one another as they tackled the challenges of mompreneurship. It was inevitable. Entrepreneurs all, Joy Astilla, Kim Dy, Meryll Dy, Minnie Jumaquio, Paola Loot-Bronfman, Geraldyn Perez-Chua, and Tiffany Tuazon found themselves bumping into each other, at one time or another, in Expo Mom. In the beginning, they merely exchanged smiles and glances. They were all in the same boat after all, manning their booths, engaging potential customers, and hoping to break more than even at the end of the day.
Joy recalls, “We didn't meet each other at the same time. But we all met each other in Expo Mom.”
Geraldyn says, "Because we were always together, we became friends."
Who first approached whom may not be all that clear anymore. What's important is that slowly, eventually the seven women started the beginning of a joyful and empowering friendship.
It was only a matter of time before this Team Mom opted for adjacent booth locations so they could spend even more time together. Business-wise, this move worked out well, too. Because their products were all somewhat related, Meryll observed that customers appreciated how they were bunched together in a comfy hub. Joy adds, “We all know each other's products well, so we would recommend each other's products.”
Minnie says, “Because we're small entrepreneurs, we're stronger together.”
They looked out for each another. They had each other's back. The mompreneurs who've been in the business for some time would give advice to the newbies on anything and everything, from merchandising to marketing. The newbies would throw in their ideas, too. Plus, it's not uncommon to see either one of the seven pitching a product that's not hers, and closing a sale. That's how much they love each other!
Tiffany says, “It's really important to have a Team Mom especially for mompreneurs. We help each other out in our businesses. The beauty of this group is that we're in different seasons of our lives.”
Some moms have small kids, others have teenagers. Some have businesses that are booming, some that are just starting out. Some business offer food, others offer accessories. The variety not just of their businesses but also of the very fabric of their lives gave each a peek into different stories and experiences, widening their perspectives further.
Paola says that mompowerment is what comes to her mind when she thinks of her #TeamMom. She explains, “Our team, we're composed of women who are empowering each other. It's really hard as mompreneurs to do things on a daily basis because you're not only an entrepreneur, you're also a mom. Your plate is super full. But when I'm with them, I feel like I can conquer the world.”
When either one of them feels down and out, she only needs to message the group, and she'll soon to be showered with words of comfort and encouragement.
Starting a business is tough. At times, Joy recalls, she would question why she started a business in the first place. She wanted to give up. But her Team Mom cheered her on and encouraged her not to give up.
She says, “If you don't have friends behind you, if you don't have friends encouraging you, if you're alone, you might want to give up. But they were there for me. They were there for us. They encouraged us until things became alright.”
“One of my dreams was to have our own house. But it just seemed impossible. It was just a dream. This April, we're moving into our own house. Without them, without my #TeamMom, I don't know if I would have been able to achieve the success I am now enjoying in my business,” Joy says.
Indeed, this is one Team Mom that's always encouraging each other to grow.
When Minnie moved to a bigger house, she recalls encouraging Joy to think of investing in her own house, too. Minnie says, “Since her business was doing okay, I told her that it might be a good time to invest while her kids were still young.”
Tiffany, who used to live with her parents, found her independence when she moved into her own place. Because she didn't know how to cook, she turned to Minnie for guidance and instruction.
But these same women would also tell a friend if she's not exactly going towards the right direction. They tell each other when things don't feel right, says Minnie. Paola adds, “We trust that we're real with each other.”
Which is what real friends are to each other, right?
But of course, it's not always all about business. They talk about love and life and clothes and traffic.
Geraldyn, who recently got married, says, “I have learned a lot from them so I feel that I have such a big advantage when I eventually become a mom.”
As their lives continue to grow and intertwine, Paola is proud to say: “We feel big when we're together."
Kim heartily agrees: “It's a win-win for everyone!”
Every mom has a #TeamMom cheering her on. Share your #TeamMom story on social media. Join Expo Mom #TeamMom at the Glorietta Activity Center from May 5 to 7, 2017. Bring your #TeamMom along and connect with other Team Moms.
Join the Mommy Mundo #TeamMom Grand Giveaway!
PHOTOGRAPHS BY THE PICTURE COMPANY