We are so excited to bring you a new feature . We are announcing our new weekly series- West Island MomPreneur. Every week we will feature a local west island mommy that has her own business and lives in the west island. It’s so important to support local and after the year we have had, we need to support our community more than ever. The month of April features, is sponsored by Time Events & Marketing.
We are so excited to introduce you to our seventh MomPreneur : Julia Chiarella- Genoni of AskMamaMOE.com, a local mom blogger that shows you the positive side of parenting with humour and love. Ideas for Memory Making, Healthy Living and Hope & Healing.
- What is the name of your business and what is it about?
I am the founder of AskMamaMOE.com , a blog dedicated to family-friendly living. I have run my blog for over ten years now and I love it as much as the day I started. My pieces focus on making memories, healthy living and hope & healing. The blog has grown with my family and I have covered everything from easy DIY projects for your toddlers and yummy recipes to heavy subjects like talking to your kids about racism, online safety and drugs. I love that I have been able to provide a place on the internet for mamas to feel understood and know they are not alone.
I also developed a charity event called Shopping From The Heart, thanks to the connections I made with my blog. The annual event celebrates local women in business and raises money for local hospitals. The event is loads of fun, has tons of prizes and takes place around Mother’s Day. Right now, I am working on a virtual event to replace what we usually do because of the pandemic.
And finally, I work as a social media specialist for brands and businesses starting out. I coach them on the ins and out of social media, and provide content writing for them, should they need it.
2. How long have you been an entrepreneur and why did you become one?
Before my own blog, I was a freelance writer for years in Italy, so working for myself has practically been my whole adult career after university. Originally, freelance writing was a perfect way to connect with other areas I loved. Fashion and lifestyle writing was something I enjoyed while living in Italy and working for myself allowed me to pick and choose what I wrote about. That also opened the door to travel writing, and while living in Europe we travelled a lot.
After my husband and I moved back to Montreal and started a family, I still wanted to write but my niche was not as interesting to me anymore. Creating a blog about family happened naturally, as friends were asking me my take on baby products and activities. While I was pregnant with my twins, I realized that blogging was a great way to continue my passion on my own terms while raising my family. Working from home had all the benefits I needed to be there for my three boys at a young age.
3.What advice would you give to a Mom considering opening their own business?
My biggest piece of advice has always been one that is not popular: Don’t try to have it all. What I mean by that is when you want to have it all, something will suffer. People, especially women don’t want to believe this, but deep down, we know it’s true. Just look at this past year! If you have small children and are starting an entrepreneurial business, you will not have all the time to devote to your children or conversely, your business. So, if you can accept that your business will be smaller or grow slower because you are devoting time to your family, you will be the happiest. It is really hard to see influencers seemingly grow overnight, but we all have a backstory, and they are all different. I chose to work for myself, but I am always reminding myself WHY I did it. It was never for fame or a six-figure income. My “why” was for my little babies – I wanted to be there for them as much as possible.
I am definitely not suggesting to not go for it, just simply to understand why you are doing it. If you understand your “why”, you will be successful in your business, guaranteed! Everyone’s version of success is different and comparing is the worst thing you can do, so don’t do it.
4.Seeing we are all about our West Island Community, where are your Go to places?
Oh my goodness! There are so many wonderful businesses in the West Island it would be impossible to name them all. That is one reason why I love social media, so I can share the best things I find as I find them. I have to be honest, this year has been a whole lot of not going out, and some of my go-to places have either shut down or are temporarily closed. I know the West Island will dust itself off and get back to their success when it is safe, and we can all enjoy things again.
Currently, I have been appreciating the shift that some businesses have taken to help their customers in this strange time. For example, Moda Elle has offered excellent costumer service and has been on top of helping me choose fashion pieces from home like no one else. Chaussures Ole-Ole has been outstanding with their help for shoes for my boys over the phone and online. Babar Books has been invaluable when it has come to choosing books for my boys. Lufa Farms has been my go-to before the pandemic but my true source for healthy and locally grown produce during this year. I am incredibly thankful with the service from my local Walmart, Loblaws and Rona. The people in my community working day in and day out are helping me take care of my family in the safest way possible. I really appreciate their pickup services right now.
5. The past year has been a struggle for everyone, what has helped you the most get through it?
Mental health has been a top priority for me. I remind myself that we are in a global pandemic and to keep checking in with my boys, my husband and myself (as well as my friends and family). For us, watching movies and shows regularly is our thing. We are into 90s family and teen shows right now. Baking family favourites is something I do weekly, we have family pizza night every Friday and make our own pizza. Fresh air has been our godsend, and now that the weather is getting nicer, I feel so much happier! Getting outside for walks, playing with our puppy, and gardening has been huge for my family. My friends have been my support system, and I am so grateful for them. Whether is has been a quick check in, a one-hour conversation or just sharing funny tik-toks back and forth, it all helps! Oh, also podcasts and audible books with earbuds throughout the day help me immensely.
6. To wrap up, what are your must have items that you use or need everyday….
In no particular order:
- Birkenstocks – always. Especially now that we are at home all the time
- Comfort clothes – Quebec owned businesses: Raffinalla, Moda Elle, Artizan, and Lilianne
- My earbuds – they are life changing while working at home and doing chores.
- Weleda facial and body creams – the best, hands down.
- Sunscreen (especially now since we haven’t seen the light of day for a while!)
- Pen and notepad (I always have something to write ideas down)
- Do I even have to mention my phone? It is everything these days and I am an Android user for life.
- Disney + & Netflix – it’s all we have and it is plenty. Lots of family viewing choices.
- Sanitizer – I use Attitude Disinfectant.
- Comfortable masks – I got mine from Ley and Co., On Masque and Haltmask.
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