“Individually we are one drop, together we are an ocean”
I don’t remember where I read that quote, but it is somehow so perfectly fitting for the woman you are about to meet.
Vanessa, a fierce, beautiful, bright, young woman who left her corporate career in marketing determined to become an entrepreneur. Sometimes you don’t need a definitive plan to put both feet in a canoe and see where the paddles take you. This mom of 2 did just that! She knew she wanted something more and went for it. Now she runs the Mommunity Market; a first of its kind, monthly market for female entrepreneurs to showcase and sell their products to over 1000 shoppers a month . How amazing is she!
We sat down with Vanessa to get to know her a little better and find out whats next for her and the Mommunity Market
5 words that describe you best?
Goal digger, Extroverted introvert, Serial Entrepreneur, MOM, Indecisive
“Mommunity” was there a pivotal moment that made you start it? What made you pursue this idea/dream?
The pivotal moment was the birth of my first born. I would spend my days breastfeeding my (very) colicky baby and dreaming up business ideas. When Gabriel was 6 months old (January 2016), I approached 2 friends of mine with the idea of starting a Facebook Group called “The Mommunity”
Tip– If your friends don’t share your passion- it will be tough to work on the same project. A few months in, one friend decided the Facebook group wasn’t for her – thankfully, that was a smooth transition and our friendship was unaltered.
Mommunity was now run by myself and one other friend. I had an idea to start a monthly market and she was not into the idea but I was so afraid to fail alone that I offered to financially back the entire thing as long as she would do it with me. I really believed in the concept, but my partner wasn’t sold on the idea that people would come out every month. Truthfully, no one was sold on the idea except me- not even my family. Everyone gently warned me that people would not come out month and suggested quarterly events instead.
October, 2016 was our first event and I’ll be brutally honest, the first few markets did not have a high turnout, but I focused on switching up the marketing strategy from talking about all the “stuff” at the event to talking about the vendors. The vendors became my marketing strategy. I knew I needed to sell the idea to Vaughan that shopping small was cool and trendy so I focused on promoting all the amazing finds at the market. That’s when things really picked up. It took 4 markets for traffic to really amp up and once it did, there was no turning back. In August, 2017 my partner decided she wanted to focus on her family (she was pregnant with her first born) so we parted ways and I took it on all by myself.
Wow, that answer was probably way longer than you were hoping for but I’ve never publicly shared the history behind the brand and couldn’t stop once I started, haha!
You have put on so many amazing markets with each one bringing something uniquely different- is there one market that you are most proud of?
It seems the Holiday markets always throw me the greatest challenges but I walk away with the best lessons. At the November and December markets in 2017 I was on bed-rest while pregnant with my youngest son, while being home with my 2 year old and running this business. I spent both markets sitting on a chair and watching from a birds eye view- If you’ve ever seen me at a market, I don’t stop moving! I love greeting all our guests, meeting new people and chatting with the vendors. In December 2018, the City of Vaughan changed their bylaw and I was unable to host our markets in the home we had been in for the last 2 years. With less than 4 weeks notice I had to find a new venue and properly advertise so shoppers would know where to find us. And convince the vendors that I would still put on a successful market.
So why am I proud of events that seem like they threw me the greatest challenge? Being on bed-rest forced me to take a step back. It was like the universe saying “Work smarter not harder” and I did. Now, almost 3 years in business, I can confidently say I have systems and processes in place that allow me so much balance and freedom in my life.
I’m Definitely most proud of my December, 2018 market because it showed me my success was not based on a venue and even if I had to change, people would still come and support. We had the highest turnout, EVER!
What is the one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you first started?
Know your worth and own it. Never let anyone tell you otherwise!
When organizing your markets and working with brands, what is one thing you will never compromise on?
Every single vendor that is approved for the markets carries products I would personally purchase. I spend a lot of time curating markets that I feel appeal to the modern mom.
What one piece of advice would you give an aspiring entrepreneur who is just starting out?
JUST START!!! If you don’t know where to start; buy a domain name! Take tiny steps if you feel overwhelmed and reach out to friends or people you admire and ask questions. Remember that everyone started with nothing and learned along the way. You will figure it out. But most importantly, VISUALIZE IT! Visualize the ultimate goal and keep that image top of mind every time you make a decision. If the decision your making doesn’t feel aligned with that end goal, don’t do it.
Favorite quote or words to live by?
If you can see it, you can be it.
I spend a lot of time envisioning the life I chose to live; I don’t believe in the glass ceiling; I believe I can achieve anything I really want in this life.
What’s next? What can we expect to see with Mommunity?
Fit in the Now is officially the first place I’m announcing this publicly! I’m super excited to share that Mommunity will be collaborating with 2 fierce lady bosses to bring an empowering and unique event to TO this fall. Stay tuned!
Be sure to follow Vanessa
Mommunity Market: @mommunity_market