May is here! It is the month that we celebrate the extraordinary beings who have birthed us, cared for us, nurtured us, and loved us.
Mother's Day is celebrated on the first sunday of May in the United States, and the last in Haiti. In honor of Mother's Day I dedicate this Mompreneur series to all mothers, especially the ones who on top of wearing the many different hats, have found the courage to be an entrepreneur. I will feature several Mompreneurs throughout the month, and I hope that you will enjoy getting to know these ladies, and also support their crafts.
As a woman, (not yet a mother), I am always in awe at what mothers are able to do and accomplish on a daily! In my work of field, where I spend my days around children, I am so drained when I get home, that can hardly imagine the fate of those who go home to help with homework, get clothes ready for the next day, spend the night monitoring a fever, and reading bedtime stories, all the while having to care for themselves, and for some their husbands. Who else can handle all that other than superheroes? Real life superheroes!
This week I bring to you someone really dear to me. We spent lots of times inside and out of each others homes when we were little. We have witnessed each other's growth, and I am so proud of having her part of my family.
Francoise Hazel is has started her own company, based on her passion for art and nature. She has always been very artistic and creative. Somehow she has found a way to turn her passion into her flourishing business. Today she shares with us how she started her company, and how she finds the balance between running a self made business, and raising a son.
1-First things first, tell us a little bit about your family.
I am the mother of an amazing 6 year old boy. I grew up in an aesthetically inventive universe with an artistic mother. She inspired me as a child, and still does so today.
2- Would you mind sharing a little about your business with our readers ?
I create eco-friendly furnitures and utilities out of recycled corrugated cardboard. I collaborate with local warehouses and stores to gather waste materials that I later on recycle into furnitures. My selective line of product are climate friendly, occupational and uniquely authentic. In the wake of mounting evidences of climate change, I take immense pride in my mission to reduce waste, and its implication in the community. From the smallest office supplies, to the largest living room furnitures, and everything in between, I deliver quality in hopes that it will influence the outlook in protecting the environment that we live in.
3- What made you decide to be an entrepreneur ?
I have been privileged to have had multiple entrepreneurs in my family. For me, it was an obvious path, which did not come about as easily as I had thought and expected.
The idea of Ça Cartoone came when I was looking for non-toxic, eco friendly furnitures for my son's nursery, when I came across a book shelf made out of recycled card box, I was immediately hooked!
I knew since that day that this was what I wanted to do. Moving back to Haiti made me realize that it was more important than just making furnitures for children, but about protecting our environment, a very serious crisis that we are facing all over the world today. I knew then that I had to spread awareness to my community, so my passion became my source of income.
4- What does your morning routine looks like ? What’s the first thing you do in the morning ?
I usually wake up around 6:30 am. I send out my affirmations to the universe and write down three gratitudes. I take a moment to soak up the sun and drink my coffee. I then get my son ready for school and drop him off. On days where I have some extra time I do some intensive meditation and exercise, in order to keep my body healthy and oxygenated.
5- What challenges do you encounter with your business and how do you overcome them ?
Ça Cartoone runs on manual labor, everything is carefully crafted and handmade. As our products get more exposure, and demand rises, keeping up with the demand has been our biggest challenge, due to limited manpower.
Also, the fact that the craft is new in Haiti, I also have to do the training for my staff, which takes up additional time that could be spend in production.
6-What is your best strategy for promoting your business ?
My most effective strategy has been social media and word of mouth. I participate regularly in local fairs where I also get to showcase my work and network. People get to take a closer look of the material and test the products, ask questions, and even a live demonstration of my work.
7- How do you manage and balance your time as a mom and business woman ?
Being a single mother and an entrepreneur is not easy. I am still carefully trying to find the balance between the two. I will always be a mother first! Working from home is an advantage. I decide what my day will look like, and I am pretty flexible for the most part. Most importantly, I try to involve my son as much as possible.
8- How do you make room for personal time to yourself ? What do you do to relax, refresh, or get inspired ?
Mommy time is when she does Capoeira! Two times a week, I meet up with my capoeira tribe and I zone out completely for a good part of my afternoon. I usually bring a book and my mala beads to do my mantras, or to meditate. I particularly enjoy listening to inspiring and instructional podcasts when I drive or when I am working on my craft.
9- What are your future plans and vision for your business ?
My mission is to positively impact the community through the promotion of environmental protection. I want to inspire individuals to put their communities and environmental health first by spreading awareness regarding ecological foot print when it comes to the use of occupational utilities.
10- What would be your advice to aspiring women who plan to start a new business ?
Know your why, it will help you stay focus and motivated through the process when things get tough.
Thank you for sharing your secrets with us, Francoise.
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