An Interview with Mariel Medina, Proprietor of Sitting Pretty Crafts Studio
The minute I met Mariel, I knew that she was a very strong willed and determined individual. Mommy Mariel is a mom to four kids, Cody (15 y.o.), Maki (13y.o.), Vigo (6 y.o.) and Rees (4 y.o.). Like some of the mompreneurs out there, Mariel worked in a corporate environment first for Sales and Marketing for quite sometime before going after her dream of putting up her own business. She married, her now husband, Louie last December 2011 and resigned from her job last February 2011.
It wasn’t easy starting out, Mariel says. She resigned during that time but had no business in mind yet. She started a Multiply business of selling garden planting kits. She also tried out selling children’s clothes for toddlers. For 6 months, she was trying to figure out what to do.
Finally, on August 2012, while watching her kids play in their room, she got this bright idea, which led her to start her own business!
Ginger: Hi Mariel! Can you tell us more about this business and this bright idea?
Mariel: My business is called Sitting Pretty Crafts Studio. We make fabric covered magnet boards, which are great for decorating nursery or kids’ rooms or even for placing on top of your office desk. I got the idea when I saw my kids stick tape and stickers on the walls of their rooms.
I make boards of different sizes: 18 x 24, 12 x 18 and 9 x 12. I sell my items via Multiply and advertise via Facebook and Twitter. I also tried and joined different bazaars such as the Ateneo Fair Bazaar last October 2012. It was such a learning experience. I then joined the Mommy Mundo Bazaar. I learned a lot from joining these bazaars.
Ginger: With all of these marketing efforts, who do you think your market is?
Mariel: I think my market are moms who are in-charge of the house. They buy these items for their house or for their kids. Some ‘kikay’ yuppies also buy from me. They use these
Ginger: Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming a momtrepreneur? What are these?
Mariel: Production is really a challenge for me. Under production, my main obstacles are quality control and manpower. You have to check that all items are of good quality. Since I only have two people helping with production, I, myself see to it that I get to check the items. For manpower, I only have 2 peope — one to create the frame and one to wrap.
Another obstacle is limiting my wastage. I need to further study how to lessen waste. Also, there are already competitors in creating magnetic boards. I know that this is a reality so I have to create new and innovative products in the future. Another challenge is educating the market. Since this is a unique product, I get a lot of questions from possible buyers on what the board is for. I then have to patiently explain what its function is.
Ginger: What are three traits that you think a momtrepreneur should have when starting their own business?
a. Must know how to Multi-task. A momtrepreneur must know when to switch hats from being a mom to the business woman that she is. She has to learn how to ‘compartamentalize’ and once already in the role, she must learn how to focus.
b. Support of your family. It is important that the people aroudn you truly believe in your business and support you in any way they can.
c. Must have that Entrepreneurial spirit. There are things na hindi natuturo sa school (isn’t taught in school). I believe that having that entrepreneurial spirit is a one of these skills.
Ginger: Any unforgettable lesson that you learned as a Momtrepreneur?
a. Never forget to spend time with your kids. They grow up so fast so cherish every moment with them.
b. Money is not the only reward that you get from being a mompreneur. It gives you time for your children. I’m happy that it allows me to pick up my kids from school.
c. Being a momtrepreneur gives you a clearer picture of what’s important
Ginger: What advice can you give to other Momtrepreneurs?
Mariel: Do your research before starting your own business, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. It is okay to make mistakes.
I think that it’s better, too, to think of your business while you are still employed. At least you have a fallback just in case you don’t push through with your business. Also, it helps to assess and know what you want. It will take time to get to know what you want, so just be patient.
Also, when already in business, it’s so easy to get consumed in your business and you forget about spending time with your family. Never forget that family should always be your top priority. Also, there should be no shame in asking people for help (approach family— siblings, cousins, etc.). It is okay to get help from family and friends. For me, as mompreneur, the concept of being a super woman means that at times, you have to learn to realize that you can’t do everything.
And lastly, look for like minded individuals. They will be your support group.
Ginger: Thank you, Mariel, for all your wonderful ideas and insights!
Sitting Pretty Crafts Studio Contact information:
a. Website/Multiply site: http://sittingpretty.multiply.com/
b. Email address: email@example.com
c. Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/sittingpretty.ph
d. Twitter account: @sittingprettyph