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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.