An Interview with Mompreneur Jacqueline ‘Jacq’ Cua So, Proprietor of Sparkle Accessories Galore

Jacqueline So has been married for 7 years and blessed with 2 lovely kids (one is 6 years old and other one is 1 year old). She is a full time mom and never really worked in a corporate environment. She is used to focus all her attention and energy to her family, but of course, she realized that she also needed to do something during her free time. Because of her prayers, God made her realize that she can turn her passion for designing and creating accessories into something profitable.

Jacq So with her husband, Brad, her eldest daughter Breanna Katelyn and her son Brennan Marcus

Jacq So with her husband, Brad, her eldest daughter Breanna Katelyn and her son Brennan Marcus

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Ginger: Hi Jacq! Tell us more about Sparkle Accessories Galore.
Jacq: My business, Sparkle Accessories Galore, officially started last December 2012. I make one of a kind, luxe and handcrafted headpieces that would make any girl feel like a true princess. I consider my headbands as modern day tiaras. I want the girls wearing them to feel extra special knowing what they’re wearing is one of a kind.
Currently, they are available in Baby Fashionistas Eastwood City Mall and Lucky Chinatown Plaza in Manila. I am also planning to distribute my goods online.

Sparkle Accessories Galore

Sparkle Accessories Galore

Ginger: How cute! Who is your market for your products, Jacq?
Jacq: I target mothers who want their girls to standout and feel special. Mothers are not easy targets, they can be meticulous when it comes to their daughters. But I manage to satisfy their needs by giving them unique designs and prices that are reasonable.

Sparkle Accessories Galore products

Sparkle Accessories Galore products

Ginger: How did you come up with this idea? What made you decide to start this kind of business?
Jacq: I came up with this idea when my daughter wanted to buy a headband in a specific color and design. As a mom I don’t want her to get upset knowing that I won’t find the headband that she wanted, so I made one for her and thank God, she loved it.

I decided to start the business when friends and mothers from school started to notice the pieces and asked if I can make some for their daughters.

Cute Accessories from Sparkle Accessories Galore!

Cute Accessories from Sparkle Accessories Galore!

Ginger: Wow! That’s impressive! So it started with a need that your own daughter ‘presented’ to you. Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming a momtrepreneur? What are these?
Jacq: Focus is my biggest concern. My business is about producing the product myself, so when I am “in the zone”, I do not want to be disturbed. However, there are times when I have to stop because my children or husband demands for my attention, so instead of doing my craft in the morning, I do it at night, when my kids and husband are already sleeping.

Nice Necklaces!

Nice Necklaces!

Ginger: What are three traits that you think a mompreneur should have when starting their own business?
Jacq:
– You have to like what you are doing. Designing and creating is what I like to do and so I do not feel like it’s work when I am doing my accessories; it is my therapy and “Me” time.
– You need to explore. You have to find what works for the market in terms of price, product, place and promo. Don’t stop till everything works smoothly.
– Take prudent risks. Hollywood has romanticized entrepreneurship, that they are risk takers and get rich quick. In real life it is about hard work, determination and commitment to continuous improvement. Entrepreneurs don’t take risks, they avert risks, and that what makes them successful.

Cute Headbands! I can't wait for Baby Zeeka to wear them!

Cute Headbands! I can’t wait for Baby Zeeka to wear them!

Ginger: Is their any unforgettable lesson that you learned as a Momtrepreneur?
Jacq: I used to doubt my designs before. I was afraid the market will not like it or they will not buy my products, but I was wrong. During the first week of my release, around 50 pieces were sold. There are a couple of lessons here. You are better than you think and just do it, so do not doubt your capabilities.

Ginger: What advice can you give to other Momtrepreneurs?
Jacq: To all the mothers with businesses out there, this is my simple advice. Our priority should always be our family and not business, because we are called momtrepreneurs and not entrepmoms.:-)

Ginger: That’s good advice for the momtrepreneurs out there, Jacq. I will be sure to keep that in mind when my own baby is born. Thank you so much!

Sparkle Accessories Galore Contact information:
a. Email address: sparkleag@hotmail.com
b. Mobile Number: +63917-5639781 or +63906-4084513
c. Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sparkle-Accessories-Galore/467763563273710
* Products are currently available in Baby Fashionistas Eastwood City Mall and Lucky Chinatown Plaza in Manila

For a middle income class couple, I can say we pretty much are doing okay financially. Are we where we want to be financially? Of course, we are contented with what we have but just like any couple, we want to be in a place where we can provide a secure future for our children and save up for our retirement. That’s why we continuously seek for effective methods on managing finances for our home.

What have I learned from the past three years of marriage? What are the tips that I’d like to share with you which helps us one way or the other to keep us on track in terms of achieving our financial goals.

1. Talk about Money with your Partner
For some couples, the thinking may be that this is a sensitive topic so might as well not talk about it. But sometimes, when you already need to talk about it, that’s where the fight and the arguments begin. EJ and I, even before we got married, have been talking about finances. I guess we were ‘that’ comfortable with talking about it and that it wasn’t a big deal (even in our Discovery Weekend, we HAD to talk about it, which I think helped us).

So how do we ‘talk’ about it? First of all, both of us know what bank accounts and investments we each or both have. Since Ej is the provider of the family (and I don’t have a steady source of income), all the bills and the loan payments have to come from his pay. If we have something to save up for, we both find means and ways to build up cash for that ‘something’. This can be done through the ‘work’ that I do (either from workshops or from blogs). For example, before taking in a yaya (which is mind you very costly), we discussed on how we will be able to pay her. We decided that her pay will really be from what I earn through my mompreneur business.

You can do something like this with your partner. You can discuss on how both of you want things to be done.

2. Have clear financial goals.
Only by having clear financial goals will you be able to create clear financial methods that will help you achieve these goals. When I was still in college, it was enough for me to have a goal of becoming a millionaire when I reached the age of 30. I did not create clear ‘mini’ goals that would help me achieve my major goal. My 30th birthday came and I was not a millionaire. Boo! to me, actually!

Then I realized, if I wanted something I should have created clear goals in my head (better if you write it down on paper though). I should have said every month, I will set aside Php 5000 and not touch it (or something like that). I should have been smart enough to keep it in any form of investment. But then again, we learn from mistakes from actual experiences of managing finances. Now, my husband and I (as you have probably read in past posts) keep an excel sheet of what we want to achieve financially for the year. There are specific amounts that we need to attain. For example, by hook or by crook, we need to have Php 250,000 for the birth of Zeeka. Php 60,000 is for the down payment of the Cord Blood Banking service that we got and the Php 190,000 is for the actual delivery of Zeeka (we saved up for the Cesarean rate, just in case).

So, it is important to know what you want in building that wealth that you want to have.

3. Separate money for your business and money for the home.
My dad early on taught me this. He became an entrepreneur in his early thirties. I believed and followed this advice since I knew he had more experiences on being a businessman and a family man at the same time. First of all, it is hard to reconcile when the inflows from your business go to your personal bank account. In any business, you will also have outflows. What happens if you need to make a big expense for your business? It will be hard for you now to track what is for the business and what is for the home.

I advise mompreneurs to always, always have a separate account. This will keep you on track with your budget for your business and on track for your budget for the home.

4. Continue to learn about finances.
Managing finances can be tricky. You think you know it all, but you actually don’t. I was a banker for 7 years, but even if I have been exposed to handling money, cash flows, bank terms, etc. I know that I still have a lot to learn in managing finances. Here is a workshop that you can join, and I think you and your family will benefit from it. It’s called Clean Bill of Wealth.

Clean Bill of Wealth Workshop

Clean Bill of Wealth Workshop

To register, please fill out the form below:

I highly recommend this workshop so that you and your husband will be able to learn more about investments and even the attitude that you need to have in order to make things happen!

I hope that these tips that I have shared will help you and your family manage your expenses. I do have more tips, but I’ll just share more in the future. 🙂 Hope you liked this article!

Mommy Ginger

Mommy Ginger

Ej and I are taking a Birthing Class with Miss Rome Kanapi. I will blog about it after we are done with all the 6 sessions. One of the things that she mentioned was to be sure to check out the delivery center and labor rooms of our chosen hospital. I am giving birth at Asian Hospital and Medical Center, so last week, EJ and I decided to visit their labor rooms and facilities.

Our appointment with our doctor was last Thursday, so we decided to call Asian Hospital to ask if we could tour their labor and delivery area. I was connected to the Genesis Center. Apparently, they call their labor and delivery area Genesis. How cool! The person on the other line just told me to come anytime so that they can show us the facilities.

We went there at around 10 am in the morning of Thursday (I was exactly 33 Weeks Pregnant). Genesis is located at the 3rd Floor of the building on the right (the left building of Asian Hospital are for the clinics of the doctors). When we got there, there was a nurse station and immediately told them that we would like to see the rooms and facilities of Genesis since I was 33 weeks pregnant and would like to deliver my baby at Asian Hospital. The nurses were very accommodating and one nurse wasn’t hesitant to give us a tour. She immediately jumped out of her seat! Again, very impressive. There was no looking at each other and waiting for one to answer our questions and show us around.

Okay, I decided to take you through the rooms as you might in an actual delivery. So during early labor, you might still be at home. When contractions get to become more frequent and you are already dilating at least 4cm, you may be brought to this area of Genesis (BTW, don’t forget to give your Birth plan to the nurse in charge). This is the Triage Room. While still in active labor, mommy-to-be can wait here. You will have to stay in this area until you have dilated until 8 cm.

Triage Room: While waiting for the baby

Triage Room: While waiting for the baby

Only one person is allowed to accompany mommy in this room. There are curtains for privacy. The mom can walk around in this area if she wishes.

Asian Hospital 0005

If you are already dilating at 8cm, you will be brought to one of the birthing rooms. The nurse showed us that there were four birthing rooms at the Genesis center of Asian Hospital. Sorry for the pictures, but I had to take it from the door. They disinfect the area so you really can’t go in. This is where you will wait to be fully dilated (10cm). This is also where you will have to deliver your baby in a normal pregnancy. For C-section delivery, they have a separate operating room (which I did not get to see anymore).

Birthing room at Asian Hospital Genesis Center

Birthing room at Asian Hospital Genesis Center

Birthing room: Pretty Spacious!

Birthing room: Pretty Spacious!

Birthing room at Asian Hospital

Birthing room at Asian Hospital

After you deliver, you will be transferred to your room for recovery and rooming-in (where your baby will stay with you). Although, Asian Hospital also has the Huggery section or their baby nursery. We got to visit this section, too. They have seats where you can lounge around and wait.

Huggery Viewing time

Huggery Viewing time

Huggery Viewing Time is at:
10:00am – 12:0nn
6:00pm – 8:00pm

There is a coffee vending machine also near the waiting area.

Genesis Waiting Area

Genesis Waiting Area

You can call Huggery staff if you want to see your baby (during viewing time)

You can call Huggery staff if you want to see your baby (during viewing time)

We also got to ask the nurses a lot of questions and they were all happy to answer them. We asked them if they place tags for the mom and baby after delivery. They said they have around 4-5 tags that they place. It’s a standard process that they follow to ensure security of the baby and to avoid baby switching.

We also asked them about “Unang Yakap”. They said that they really do that whether the baby was born normal or through a cesarean delivery. For those who do not know what Unang Yakap is, here is a video from the the Department of Health.

Also, I asked them if they give baby formula or sugar water. I was very pleased that they answered that they really promote breastfeeding and will do everything they can to help the mother breastfeed the baby. This is the type of encouragement that we expecting moms need!

Other things to note:
– We got the room rates for Asian Hospital. If you want a copy, just leave a comment below and I will gladly email it to you.
– Booking of the room is best done after your doctor has seen mommy-to-be. Your doctor can tell you if it’s time to book already. If you are advised to book a room already, just go down to the Upper ground floor and the admissions area is there (near the Philhealth office). Be sure to bring your Philhealth documents, too.
– We also got to talk to the Cost Counselor of Asian Hospital. I have attached copies of the expected cost quotation for Normal and for a Cesarean Delivery.

Asian Hospital Cost Counselor Cesarean Delivery

Asian Hospital Cost Counselor Normal Delivery
*Note that these costs are just “approximate costs” and do not include certain costs like the professional fees of your obstetrician, the anesthesiologist fee, the pediatrician fees, etc. (costs not covered are seen in the document).

For mommies-to-be, I suggest that you also go and check your own hospitals. Do create a blog post about it and I will gladly link to your post. For those planning to give birth at Asian Hospital (Phone number: +632-771-9000), do visit and share your thoughts, too! I’d love to hear from moms who have already given birth, too!

Mommy Ginger

Mommy Ginger

PS. Hope you can join our What to Expect during OB Checkups, pain management and pregnancy nutrition (WHAT TO EXPECT BEFORE GIVING BIRTH) on Jan. 25, 2014 at Medela House in 1st Street, New Manila QC. Our guest speaker is Dra. Sarmiento from Asian Hospital.

PPS. For those who want to share with me their experience in the other hospitals, please feel free to email me your article so you can be a guest contributor. Hope you can make it as detailed as possible 🙂 Thanks! ginger@mommyginger.com

Dear Zeeka,

Mommy is now 33 weeks pregnant with you. I have been feeling sick these past two days. I think it’s my tummy. I have been having an upset stomach for two days now. I hope that you are not bothered by it. Oohh, I hope you are also not bothered by the paracetamol that I took the other day. Mommy will have her check up today with her doctor at Asian Hospital. Don’t worry and of course, i’ll ask her about you.

Despite the fact that mommy has been a little under the weather these pass days, I’m so glad that I still feel you tumble, kick and do that weird waving motion that you do. Your kicks are actually getting stronger, Zeeka. Daddy talked to you last night (or was it the other night) to temper it a bit, since I wasn’t feeling too good. But, it’s okay, Zeeka. I love feeling you kick. I think you’re going to be a good dancer like mommy!

People have been asking about you. They already know your name. Even your new born cousin, Kiel, knows your name. I know that in the future, you will ask mommy and daddy how your name came to be. Well, this is the story of your name.

Mommy had a hard time with her first pregnancy. She lost the baby brother/sister that came ahead of you. Mommy was sick after that and so, Mommy and Daddy prayed so hard through the intercession of Padre Pio. With prayers, God healed Mommy from her sickness.

After a year and a half, Daddy and Mommy wanted to have a child again. This time, they prayed to the Lord God through the intercession of St. Joseph. After just a few months, Mommy and Daddy found out that they were going to have a baby, and that baby was you. Mommy and Daddy promised to name you after St. Joseph and St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Francesco Forgione was his real name).

Before we could find the perfect name, we tried different combinations and variations of these saints’ names in different languages. We took a picture of how many names we came up with before we found a name that was perfect for you.
Looking for Baby Names

photo

Did you see daddy’s suggestions? They are all too funny! He even had icons and characters the he drew for some. Those are for inspiration, he says.

Finally, your Mamu Annie and Tita Kinney suggested two names that were perfect for you. Zefina is an Albanian female variation of the name Joseph and Franceska is also Albanian for St. Pio’s name (although we decided to keep the ‘c’ instead of the ‘k’ in your name). So there you go, we decided to name you Zefina Francesca or Zeeka for short 🙂

I hope you like your name, Zeeka!

Love lots,

Mommy Ginger

Mommy Ginger

An Interview with Jenny Ong, the owner of Mama.Baby.Love

Jenny with husband Stanley and their 2 kids

Jenny with husband Stanley and their 2 kids

 

Jenny is the wife to a fantastic photographer, Stanley Ong and mom to 2 adorable kids, Naima and Erik. She’s also a government employee and a lawyer licensed in the Philippines and New York State. She loves bargain hunting and online shopping. She also enjoys holding talks and meeting like-minded families, discussing natural parenting topics with them.

 

Jenny with Baby Erik

Jenny with Baby Erik

 

Stan and Jenny have been married for 5 years. They have been together since 1998. Jenny used to work in a big law firm. Now, she’s working for the government. She’s a part-time mompreneur as she has a day job. Through her blog, Chronicles of a Nursing Mom, she promotes and advocates principles of natural/attachment parenting such as breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering, baby led weaning and gentle discipline. “My goal is to see a society where these principles become the norm – to see Naima grow up and have her family in a setting where natural birth, breastfeeding, babywearing, etc. will be practiced and established,” says Jenny.

 

Ginger: Hi Jenny! Can you tell us more about your business?
Jenny: My business is Mama.Baby.Love. I carry fab fun finds for moms and babes to support the natural parenting lifestyle. I have been in business since May 2009.

Momtrepreneur Jenny's Mama.Baby.Love

Momtrepreneur Jenny’s Mama.Baby.Love

 

Ginger: Who is your market for Mama.Baby.Love?
Jenny: My market would be primarily women – moms who would like to adhere to a natural parenting lifestyle e.g. babywearing, cloth diapering, breastfeeding. I also carry cloth menstrual pads and menstrual cups to promote a green period.

Nursing bra available at Mama.Baby.Love

Nursing bra available at Mama.Baby.Love

 

Ginger: How did you come up with this idea and what made you decide to start this kind of business?
Jenny: I started this business because of dearth of affordable nursing bras and accessories locally available. My line has expanded and now includes different products that my family uses and enjoys.

Cool Pumping Band available at Mama.Baby.Love

Cool Pumping Band available at Mama.Baby.Love

Breast Milk Storage Bags available at Mama.Baby.Love

Breast Milk Storage Bags available at Mama.Baby.Love

 

Ginger: Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming a momtrepreneur? What are these?
Jenny: Time management. Since I’m juggling so many things, I needed to learn how to delegate. Happily, I was able to find help who understood what I needed and wanted.

Cloth Pads from Mama.Baby.Love

Cloth Pads from Mama.Baby.Love

Piggy Paint from Mama.Baby.Love

Piggy Paint from Mama.Baby.Love

Ginger: Do you have plans of being a full time momtrepreneur?
Jenny: As of this time, I have not decided whether I want to become a full-time mompreneur.  While I enjoy Mama.Baby.Love, the business-side is actually driven by my interest in the natural parenting advocacy.  I also miss being a lawyer and handling cases, especially my intellectual property practice. I am still deciding if I want to go back to a law firm or staying on with my government job or pursuing Mama.Baby.Love full time until the kids enter grade school.   I enjoy the challenges of being a work out of home mom and believe that each mom is different.  Not every mom wants to be a WAHM and being a WAHM is not the end-all or the best decision for every woman.

Each to her own and do whatever works for you and makes you happy

Ginger: What are three traits that you think a momtrepreneur should have when starting their own business?
Jenny: Perseverance, Openness and being ethical.

Ginger: Is there any unforgettable lesson that you learned as a Momtrepreneur?
Jenny: Time management is crucial.

Ginger: What advice can you give to other Momtrepreneurs?
Jenny: Choose a business that you are interested in and passionate about. Don’t just “go with the flow”. Know your business, know your market – understand their needs and address them. Choose a niche that you will excel in.

Ginger: Thank you Jenny for giving us insights on how it is to be a momtrepreneur while still working. I’m sure a lot of moms out there enjoyed and learned from your story especially those who still have a full time job, but are thinking of going into business.

Mama.Baby.Love Contact Information:
a. Website – www.mamababylove.com. Blog is www.chroniclesofanursingmom.com
b. Multiply site – fabnaima.multiply.com
c. Email address – jenny@mamababylove.com
d. Mobile Number – 09228982713
e. Facebook Page – www.facebook.com/MBLStore
f. Twitter account – @mamababylove
g. Pinterest, etc. – @mamababylove