An Interview with MOMTREPRENEUR MARY LOUISE M. SANDIKO of LIL MISS BELLE HAIR ACCESSORIES

I’m a full time mom for a two year old girl. I’m five years married to Engr. Christopher Sandiko. I could say that I am an organized person. I love a little of photography, which I use for my hobby/business and scrapbooking. I was in a semiconductor company for 4 years as my first job then I transferred to a cable company, a very demanding yet exciting job since I was in marketing and advertising for almost another 4 years. My last corporate job was in Honda.

 

MOMTREPRENEUR MARY LOUISE M. SANDIKO of LIL MISS BELLE HAIR ACCESSORIES

 

MOMTREPRENEUR MARY LOUISE M. SANDIKO 2

MOMTREPRENEUR MARY LOUISE M. SANDIKO 3

I had a hard time of becoming pregnant. My husband & I encountered many challenges of becoming pregnant and when the time I became pregnant; it was an ectopic one. But God is Good, because after 6 months God blessed us with another pregnancy. This time we put our full trust in HIM, and sure enough, HE never failed. My baby, Elliana Faith was born on February 13, 2011 via normal delivery and in all natural way with no medication involved in ‘The Birthing Clinic of The Cathedral of the King’ under the care of a very anointed woman, Sis. Charito Flores. I was gifted with a baby girl, which made me so excited to dress her up and to doll her up with hair accessories. But she was so fragile & I was afraid to try anything on her head. Each time we would go out, I always looked for something beautiful & elegant to put on her head to make her more prettier, but I couldn’t find one. I didn’t like some of the boutique displays, since their garters were not ‘baby-friendly’. What I did was I just grabbed only one headpiece which I thought was the best and most comfortable for her to wear on her baptism.

 

LIL MISS BELLE HAIR ACCESSORIES

LIL MISS BELLE HAIR ACCESSORIES

After that I became so interested in hair accessories for babies. I researched different designs on internet and I fell in-love with the couture baby designs— very elegant, very chic, just a little formal for babies but very stunning. Since I have been doing scrap-booking for a long time, I told myself that maybe I create ribbons, too.

This became my hobby; I create when my baby sleeps. During that time, I was not active on Facebook, because I was busy. I didn’t know that there were available shops of hair accessories, too. I didn’t have any plans of selling my creations on Facebook. I just loved making her different hair pieces. But every time we would go to the mall, sales ladies, mommies & children would notice my daughter’s headpiece. They would approach me and ask me on where I bought my daughter’s accessory, since they haven’t seen anything like that in dept stores. I told them that I made it myself. They would then ask me where my shop was. I would answer gracefully that this is just my hobby, and they would tell me that I should have one.
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With these kind words, I was encouraged and I started to buy some materials (P5,000.00 worth). I began making designs for babies. I launched LIL MISS BELLE HAIR ACCESSORIES on my private account first on Facebook last July of 2012. My brand “Belle” was derived from the French word which means beautiful, because for me, all little girls & all little misses are beautiful on their own special way, and they become prettier when accented with beautiful hair accessories. LIL MISS BELLE HAIR ACCESSORIES can make or create simple bows to elegant headpieces.

I was not ready to create an account or page because of my limited time. I just made few designs and after a week, all my stocks were sold-out, so I had to replicate them again, because many were still wanting to buy. I was really surprised because my target market were for infants only. The funny thing was, I didn’t have hard headbands or clips that time, because my thinking was infants do not wear clips or headbands because their heads are very delicate. Then I had my initial purchase of headbands & different clips to cater the little girls, teens & moms. And now, I’m into creating of formal headpieces for weddings, too! Currently, I have hats, maternity sashes & clips and headband organizers, but these are custom-made. I started supplying my creations to some boutiques here in the Philippines last November of 2012 and started accepting re-sellers in Facebook.

Right now, i’m a one-woman team. I wish I could have more time and more people to help me. If I have bulk and mall orders, I consign some people to help me. I have limited time to make creations because my baby is so active now & demands much of my time, so I make my creations and orders during the night. I always advise my clients of the delivery lead time because most of my creations are meticulously handmade so it takes time. I’m a very detailed person and I want to make sure that everything is in good condition.

I still need to do more improvements here in LIL MISS BELLE HAIR ACCESSORIES (LMB). Bigger plans & dreams are in store for my shop and clients in the near future, like I want to focus more on promoting my creations to some boutiques, joining bazaars & sourcing different materials. While my team is doing the production, I am still on the top of it. I just need to teach, trust and learn how to delegate work, so that I can focus more on marketing & advertising. I pray that God will grant the desires of my heart and guide me in everything I do. I just want to give GOD all the glory for giving me this new talent.

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If you want to start your own business, think of what makes you happy while doing it. When you love your work and become passionate, this “PASSION” can make you a successful mompreneur. You need also to have a good talk with your partner about your plans. Good communication with God is very important, too. Ask Him to give you wisdom in everything that you do. Keep your family intact and in good health while doing your own thing. Don’t forget that you’re a wife and a mom first.

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For the stay-at-home moms out there, taking care of our babies & family is our first priority. But doing our own thing that brings us into another form of happiness is what makes us complete and fulfilled as a person, too! We just need good time management, a cooperative and supportive hubby and put GOD at the center. Always be reminded that apart from GOD WE CAN DO NOTHING.

Facebook Page Account – www.facebook.com/LMBHairAccessories
Facebook Private Account – www.facebook.com/lilmiss.belle

Daddy Ej went to the States last Sunday to go on a business trip, and he’ll be gone for 1 week. I’m not a sentimental person, but last night (Tuesday), I found myself waiting for him. It was 6:00 pm and I was just sitting on our bed and realizing that he wasn’t coming home tonight. Then I found myself counting the days until Sunday, the day he arrives. As of today, I have to wait four more days.

I think Zeeka also feels that her daddy isn’t home. She usually doesn’t mind Ej, because daddy Ej always bugs her and she gets pissed off, but earlier today, when Ej called via Skype, she opened her eyes and awakened from her deep slumber.

I hate it that my husband is gone. I usually do all of my stuff with him. It’s hard when your partner-in-crime isn’t home. It gets boring, since you don’t have anyone to talk to. It’s a good thing that we had a few visitors today who came by to see Zeeka. Today was better.

During noon, Angelo, Zeeka’s godfather-to-be (since the baptism will still be on May), dropped by. He and his wife Gretchen have such a cutiepie 9-month-old son named Matteo. Our conversation was about Matteo and Zeeka, mostly about their “baby milestones”. I had fun talking about our pregnancy and the sleepless nights that we had to go through, which they too experienced.

In the afternoon, I was excited to meet little Colin, the son of my friends, Candice and Chris. Who wouldn’t be excited to meet this little guy?!

Baby Colin in his Bumble Bee attire

Baby Colin in his Bumble Bee attire

Zeeka's first "baby-date" with Colin

Zeeka’s first “baby-date” with Colin

Aside from seeing this little stunner, I had fun exchanging stories with my friend Candice. Both of us are exclusively breastfeeding our babies. It was so nice to have a ‘kabarkada’ who is also in the same situation as you are. You can easily exchange notes and help each other out.

We, Chris and Candice and I, also talked about baby milestones. Colin is already four months old and can already carry his head without support and hold on to things. He’s really cute, too, when he talks to stickers on the wall and when he attempts to talk to adults. He has a cute laugh, too! Zeeka, who is only 1 month old, also attempts to carry her head, by our yaya and I are scared to have her do whatever she wants since she’s still too young. She sleeps and eats, but has this really endearing smile that I know will break hearts in the future. She’s a strong girl, and loves kicking people and things. She’s really tall, too, and had really long legs. The only sound I hear from her right now are “eeehs”.

Our fun day had to end when both our babies had to sleep already.

Today was really better. It helps to keep yourself busy and preoccupied when you feel a bit down, lonely and restless.

But, I still miss Ej.

Love lots,

Mommy Ginger

Mommy Ginger

Baby Z is still a little jaundiced. During her last check up, her pediatrician suggested that we have her blood tested just to be sure. In that blood test, you will be able to find out if its direct or indirect. If it’s direct, it’s the liver causing it and that’s a problem. If it’s indirect, then, we do not have to worry and we just have to keep on feeding the baby (continue breastfeeding). Thankfully, although her bilirubin levels were still high, it was not caused by any liver problems. All we need to do now is continue breastfeeding and exposing her to sunlight.

I came across this mini aviators for babies. They are called Babiators. I saw this first in the facebook page of a friend and I immediately thought of Zeeka and her sunbathing escapades to the the 5th floor of our condominium building.

Check out these Babiators!
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beach baby blue 3-7

nighthawk navy 3-7

limelight lime 3-7

blue angels blue 3-7

black ops black 3-7

princess pink 3-7

rockstar red 3-7

sneak attack pink black 3-7

superstar silver 3-7

wicked white 3-7

I wanted so much to buy her something to protect her eyes. What our yaya does is she covers Baby Z’s eyes, but I know that this isn’t enough. These Babiators offer 100% protection against UVA and UVB rays. These mini sunglasses are also very durable and are made out of pliable rubber and shatter-resistant lenses. The Babiators do not contain any BPA, phthalates or lead-based paint.

These are perfect for babies in the Philippines, since we are a tropical country and the sun is almost always out. According to Dr. Mark S. Borchert, Pediatric Neuro Ophthalmologist at CHLA, “the lens of a child allows 70% more UV rays to reach the delicate retina than in an adult.” As moms, we need to see that their eyes are protected from UV rays and these shades are great for both protecting their sight and for fashionably dressing our babies up!

The Babiators come in these colors: Black Ops Black, Blue Angels Blue, Rockstar Red and Princess Pink, Limelight Lime, Sneak Attack Pink, Beach Baby Blue, Nighthawk Navy & Wicket White. These are available in size 0-3 and 3+ with a retail price of P950 (0-3 years old) and P995 (3-7 years old).

To get your Babiators, the are available in Nurture Nook, Quirks, Rustan’s, ROX and Taste Central. I have already included this in our gift registry for Zeeka’s baptism!

An Interview with Helene Marie Sonza, Owner/Proprietor of Baby Chic Boutique

I got to interview miss Helene Marie Sonza. Momtrepreneur Helene is happily married to her loving husband Rogel, and mom of 2 wonderful kids – Mari, her 4-year old son, and Haley, her 15-month old daughter. She used to work as a registered nurse before she decided to quit her job when her part-time earnings as a freelance writer exceeded her salary. She opened Baby Chic Boutique February of last year. She loves to read and write and travel, and she just absolutely loves being a mom to her kids. She is currently a part-time writer, part-time momtrepreneur, and full-time mom. She promotes cloth nappying and breastfeeding to family, friends, and whoever would listen! She has been happily breastfeeding for 15 months and counting!

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Ginger: Hi Helene! Can you tell us more about Baby Chic Boutique?
Helene: My shop is Baby Chic Boutique, and for me, it’s “Where Chic Babies Make Happy Mommies.” Basically it’s about offering adorable, useful and “chic” items in the market for babies. I’ve been in the business for more than a year now – I just celebrated the anniversary of my shop this February.

Ginger: Who is your market?
Helene: My target market is moms with babies and toddlers who are looking for chic, adorable and useful items that they can use in their everyday life.

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Ginger: How did you come up with this idea? What made you decide to start this kind of business?
Helene: Well, after I had my daughter Haley – I had already quit my nursing job and was working part-time as a freelance writer – I started thinking about going into business, since I had some time in my hands. I first wanted to offer pretty and chic items such as ribbons and clips since I thought there was still a lack of these items in the market, and moms like me with baby girls are always on the lookout for cute items to dress up our kids. But then I discovered cloth diapers, and I immediately fell in love. These oh so cute diapers are useful, eco-friendly, and absolutely chic and adorable… And now it’s become the main item that I sell in my shop. It’s because I truly believe in using them – my daughter is exclusively using cloth diapers – and I think they’re truly the better alternative to using disposables. I also offer many other baby items in addition to cloth diapers such as legwarmers, shoes and skidders, healthy baby snacks, Melissa & Doug toys and books, and I’ll soon have more baby and toddler clothing as well.

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Ginger: Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming a momtrepreneur? What are these?
Helene: Well, money was the first issue – but because of the savings I had from my freelance writing gigs, I was able to put up my online business. There were some other hurdles – I like to think of them as hurdles, and not really obstacles – such as wondering whom should I target, how do I promote my business, should I give up or not… Yes, there were times before when I almost gave up, but the hard work paid off, and slowly I was able to find my niche and now I continue to have a growing number of new and regular customers.

Ginger: What are three traits that you think a momtrepreneur should have when starting their own business?
Helene: Being willing to take a risk, being patient, and being able to balance work and life effectively. Business is always a risk – there’s a chance that you fail or succeed. And it’s really important that you be patient and persevere, since it can take a while to become established and build up your consumer base. And add the fact that you have kids to take care of – so you really need to know how to balance everything so that you can give your kids the time and attention they need as well as ensure that your customers are given the attention that they need.
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Ginger: Are there any unforgettable lessons that you learned as a Momtrepreneur?
Helene: That it’s not easy… that success really takes time, and it’s really important to maintain balance in everything. 

Ginger: What advice can you give to other Momtrepreneurs?
Helene: Going into business is not for the fainthearted, so make sure that you’re up for the challenge.

Ginger: Thank you, Helene! You’ve shared wonderful insights! I wish you more success in your endeavors.

Baby Chic Boutique Contact information
a. Website: https://www.facebook.com/babychicboutiquephils/
b. Multiply site: http://multiply.com/babychicboutique (still under construction since multiply upgraded their site)
c. Email address: babychicphils@gmail.com
d. Mobile Number: 0932-9787278
e. Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/babychicboutiquephils/

I fully support Filipino momtrepreneurs. I admire their passion and ingenuity in coming up with different unique products. I also admire those those who sell natural and organic products and those that have their own advocacy, much like my friend Armi from Mayumi & Me.

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Mayumi & Me, chic choices for nurturing parents, is an online store where you can get great products for babywearing, breastfeeding and cloth diapering. They also sell fashion items for kids and mommies. They also have Natural Bath and Body products that you can choose from.

For a nurturing mom like me, I want what’s best for my Baby Zeeka. I choose quality over price. I’m also a sucker for anything natural and organic. While browsing through Mayumi & Me’s site, I find that all of the items in the Natural Bath and Body section of the online store very appealing. These are the products that Mayumi & Me have:

Human Nature Baby Wash
Baby Wash with Lavender, Rosemary & Chamomile, 99.3% Natural
The natural Baby Wash will cleanse your baby’s skin and hair completely harmful chemical-free. Made with mild scents like lavender, rosemary and chamomile, it will calm and soothe your baby during every bath time. So now you can be sure your baby’s sensitive skin is getting only the gentlest of nature’s goodness.
Click here to check out the product

Human Nature Baby Oil
Studies show that massaging your baby with sunflower oil lessens the risk of developing skin infections by 41%*. As nature’s wonder oil, it also helps soothe diaper rash, itchiness, irritation and little boo-boos. It’s dermatologist tested, so you can be sure to keep your little angel’s skin soft and supple with every gentle rub.
(*Source: Dr. Leslie Baumann, Cosmoceutical Critique: Sunflower Oil www.skinandallergynews.com)
Click here to check out the product

Moonshine Baby Bottom Spray (by IndigoBaby)
The only spray perfect for little bums. Lavender soothes, heals, and protects your baby’s delicate skin. Spritz directly onto baby’s bottom and wipe to dry or wash with water. Use at every nappy change to avoid nappy rash. This is a MUST when traveling. Imagine an explosive poop session and nowhere near a clean, baby friendly restroom?! This just saves you all the hassle!
Click here to check out the product

By Nature Baby Salve
Use this salve for most baby concerns – diaper rash, insect bites, eczema, dry patches, and even small cuts and boo-boos. Simply apply on affected area. May also use all over your baby’s body instead of lotion. It is easy to bring along everywhere your baby goes.
Click here to check out the product

By Nature Handmade Soaps Special Bars Baby Blue variant.
100% NATURAL, Unscented. This soap is especially made for kids with sensitive skin. It contains chamomile essential oil, calendula extract, goat’s milk, honey, aloe vera gel, oatmeal, and vitamin E – all wonderful ingredients for babies! A wonderful bar for adults, too!
Click here to check out the product

Great news for all my readers! Mayumi & Me is giving away Natural Bath and Body Goodies.

Natural Bath and Body Goodies from Mayumi & Me

Natural Bath and Body Goodies from Mayumi & Me

This gift pack includes the following:
Human Nature Baby Wash (200mL)
Human Nature Baby Oil (100mL)
Moonshine Baby Bottom Spray (100mL)
By Nature Baby Salve (20g)
By Nature Handmade Soaps (4 sampler half bars of Baby Blue variant)

All you have to do is follow the steps in the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway starts today and ends on May 10, 2013.

Calling all nurturing and caring moms! Join now and win this great gift pack!

Love lots,

Mommy Ginger

Mommy Ginger

 

P.S. Here are the contact details of Mayumi & Me
Website: http://www.mayumiandme.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mayumiandme
Instagram: https://instagram.com/mayumiandme