This week’s #WonderWomanWednesday takes us to the calm, wooden interiors of La Juiceria Superfoods, where we were greeted with a fridge full of cold-pressed juices and the warm smile of the woman behind it all, Anabelle Co-Martinent.
Anabelle in the Madolen Bridal Gown in Burgundy
Having moved to Kuala Lumpur as a Chinese-Filipino expat in 2006 with her then newlywed husband, Anabelle has since become not only the founder of one of the most successful cold-pressed juice and health food stores in Malaysia, but also, a mother of 2 beautiful children.
Today, as we tell of La Juiceria’s founding story, we share Anabelle’s many words of wisdom and advice for mothers, and aspiring entrepreneurs alike.
A Newborn Baby, And A Newborn Business
It started in September 2013, when Anabelle was heavily pregnant with her second child. Months into her health journey, Anabelle discovered the simple act of eating better gave her more energy. With this, a vision to bring healthy eating in a convenient way to Malaysians was formed.
As her pregnancy came to an end, Anabelle created the first La Juiceria logo and juice formulas, with plans to start a business after her son’s delivery.
“I didn’t know how I was going to do it,” she recalled.
“I was alone, a foreigner and I had always been in corporate.”
These thoughts could have very well stopped Anabelle from pursuing her business, but with a nagging feeling inside her, she knew she had to do it.
Anabelle in the 3-Way Remy Shift Dress in Black
In the week of her son’s birth, Anaballe ordered organic vegetables online and from a conversation with the delivery guy, she had found her first business partner. He brought on his best friend and together, the three became the first of the La Juiceria team, which has since grown to close to a 100 members, operating an online store, 12 juice bars and two health food cafes.
On Entrepreneurship: Where There’s A Will, There’s A Way
This is a statement Anabelle stands strong by.
With a newborn baby in her arms and a determination to make this business a reality, Anabelle set on to build the La Juiceria website. From photoshoots using her own camera to writing product descriptions while breastfeeding, to replying customers in the middle of the night, Anabelle, together with her team, made it happen.
Having worked as a producer for BFM before founding La Juiceria, Anabelle had interviewed over 100 entrepreneurs, all of whom shared a common story:
“It is a hard climb at the beginning but it so fulfilling when you get there.”
Despite the innevitable hard work, loneliness and setbacks of the entrepreneurial journey, Anabelle encourages us to go for it.
“You live once. People fear of many things but if you have the heart, find the right time and do it. Of course, don’t just jump in. There’s a reality behind it and you have to be able to sustain and survive. So if you are able to sustain for a year, take a year to try it out. If you fail, you fail. You learn. It’s a life experience.”
On Motherhood: Nothing Compares To Being A Mother
Despite her many achievements in her career and entrepreneurial journey, Anabelle shared that no number of awards and no number of new outlets can compare to being a mother.
“Being a mother is the most rewarding, miraculous thing a woman can ever have and that’s a blessing. It’s something money can’t buy. It’s something that can never be replaced,” she expressed.
Anabelle with her family at her daughter's 7th birthday party
Having met so many mothers, from mothers with young children to mothers with children all grown up and who have left home, the most important thing that Anabelle’s learned is, “Don’t lose yourself in the process.”
We know of many women, including our own mothers, perhaps, who have taken a step back for their children, moving from “power meetings to power laundry” and in so doing, losing direction.
“You have to plan something for yourself,” Anabelle emphasised.
“Keep yourself abreast with what’s happening and what you want to do in life because there will come a time when your children will grow up and leave home.”
Whether it is part-time, charity work, baking, sewing or starting an online business, Anabelle urges mothers to keep busy, doing something not just for the family, but for themselves.
On Balancing It All: You Have To Be The Best Of Yourself
“Wake up early, fill up calendars, have discipline. If you want to achieve many things, it is not impossible. Just keep going every day and when you look back, you’ll go ‘WOW! I’ve done that’ and now, you can reach even more people and make an even bigger difference.”
Working in the health food industry, Anabelle too has to find time to maintain physical health and fitness. She exercises and chooses healthy as often as she can and despite her love of chocolates and desserts (as every other woman out there), she said, “If you eat right, it is easy to stay in shape.”
Anabelle's favourite item on the La Juiceria Superfoods menu is the
Soft Boiled Kampung Egg (with Avocado)!
In balancing all of being a wife, a mother, handling her business and staying fit, Anabelle shared, “You just do it. You just make it happen.”
We Need More Women Entrepreneurs
"Men are everywhere, at the top of the ladder, dominating entrepreneurship awards, because women always take a step back when they have children," she said.
More than telling us, Anabelle has shown that just as she can, you can do it. You can be a mother. You can be an entrepreneur.
“Deciding to do it is already a first move. Whether you are successful or you fail, you take it as a life experience.”
To mothers, women and all dreamers, do something today.