Honouring my grandmother Benita, my lineage of Entrepreneurship and the birth of the Mother/Founder.
Me packing Campfire Crates boxes in Dec 2019
When I made the move to be an entrepreneur, I was really struggling with not looking the part, not having the right education, background, and connections. And as a mother, I couldn't even imagine putting in the hours they did when they were building their businesses. In my mind, there was this whole mythology behind how if you were going to start a business, you were going to have to be like the Mark Zuckerburgs and Mark Cubans of this world.
But I realized that I was looking at it all wrong. And all I had to do was look at where I came from.
And where I come from is one of the strongest legacies of the OG entrepreneurs: Mother-led, grass root businesses.
These women, who may not have been called entrepreneurs in their time, were the original start-ups whose innate business sense helped them create their own opportunities and forge their own paths.
My lally (grandmother), entrepreneur
I think of my Great Grandmother, Balthazara Dycueco Go who ran a rice trading and merchandising store in the province of Nueva Ecija, in the Philippines. The revenue of which fed and educated her 7 children.
I think of her daughter, my Grandmother Lally, Benita Go Filamor, a resilient and resourceful woman who built her own business importing flour, the revenue of which she used to put her through Fashion school. She had to give up the business when she got married and had children but she used what she earned from this to invest in the stock market which she used to supplement my Grandfather's government servant salary of Php 300.
Benita Go Filamor, Gala Fashion Academy Graduation in 1930
I think of my Mother, Christina Filamor Faylona who ran her own psychology practice and a business exporting handcrafted crocheted fashion and home accessories way before Etsy was even a thing.
I think of my sister Donna whose own foray into business gave me my first taste of design, product photography, and sales.
I think of my sister Barbara who bequeathed her knowledge of label-making to me and unbeknownst to me, got me started on my first-ever business selling personalized sticker labels to my high school classmates.
Donna Faylona Marcelo, Reese Faylona Lambourne, Camille Filamor Faylona, Christina Filamor Faylona, Barbara Faylona Jesuele
I was so wrong in thinking I couldn't do this. I had it in me all along.
I am sure you have women and stories like this in your life too.
These women, and countless others like them, may not have had a formal education in business or entrepreneurship, but they had something much more valuable - a deep understanding of the value of hard work, perseverance, and the importance of relationships.
They knew how to create something out of nothing, how to take a small idea and turn it into a thriving business. They understood the importance of community and collaboration, and that success is not just about financial gain, but about creating a better life for oneself and one's family.
What a privilege it is to stand on their shoulders. And what a responsibility I have to continue their legacy.
I can only hope that in shining the light on our stories, we can stop making Mother's Work invisible and to change the narrative that what we Mothers do is just a side hustle, a passion project or something bored housewives do.
More and more women are realizing that business can be a vehicle for change. That not only can it help us financially, but it can have a positive impact on the world and set a good example for our kids.
This is the new frontier of business.
And this is why the Mother/Founder Movement was born, to celebrate our lineage of strong, resilient and courageous women who have built their own businesses and created their own opportunities. To show our gratitude for the guidance and wisdom, and for the example that they have set for us and for future generations of women to come.
Me with four of Campfire Crates Activity Books: My Filipino Story, My Visit to the Philippine, My Filipino Christmas, Spark Activity Book Philippines in Oct 2022
It is in this spirit of generosity, appreciation and legacy that we plant our Mother/Founder flag for ourselves and all our fellow Mother/Founders.
And to all of you out there we say:
You are seen. You are supported. What you do matters. What you do makes an impact.
Let's do this together.