Embracing Entrepreneurship

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Post by: Tammy Mason, Owner of Momma’s Best Homemade

Originally posted on the Military Spouse Business Association blog

 

They say there’s no “right time” to start a business. I started mine as a mom, full-time college student, and military spouse. There were a million reasons not to do it. But in the end, passion won out. I knew what I wanted to be doing, and I decided I’d work out the logistics as I went.

It’s been a wild and crazy trip, with highs, lows, and a lot of late nights … but I don’t for one moment regret it. And while being a military spouse certainly brings its own set of challenges to the table, it’s also drawn me into an amazing and supportive community, one I’m proud to be a part of. MSBA has been really helpful!

But let’s go back to the beginning…

In 2007, at the age of 18, I married the love of my life, James, who is in the Navy. We both knew we wanted kids, and we were pretty excited about starting a family.

Sometimes you think you know which way you’re going in life, and then life just picks you up, tosses you around, and tells you things aren’t going to turn out the way you hoped. The first miscarriage was devastating. There were seven more.

We saw doctors, of course. We found out that I was suffering from some pretty serious medical conditions. After four years, the doctors really had no answers as to if we would ever be able to have children as nothing they tried worked for us; it all ended in heartbreak.

My mom and grandma were big into the organic lifestyle. They suggested I try that. I can’t say I was terribly optimistic, but there was really nothing to lose. So I started reading ingredients labels on the food I was eating (ew!) and then, after that, on the skincare products I was using (double ew!). I pretty much just chucked the old stuff in the trash and started fresh. If I couldn’t find the products I wanted in stores, I figured out how to make them.

Bit by bit, I started feeling better. Eighteen months ago, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy.

It’s not magic. It’s chemistry. There’ve been studies linking phthalates and perfluorinated chemicals to health problems, including infertility. You’ll find those chemicals in beauty products, Teflon … it’s surprising how often they crop up, once you start looking.

By 2014, I’d been making my own skincare products for years, and I’d started making them for family and friends as well. The decision to make it a full-fledged business came pretty much overnight. It just made sense. I knew I had good products. And I also knew I wanted to reach out and spread the word and help other women who were struggling. Infertility is considered a kind of taboo topic in our society. It was easy for me to feel at times as though I was alone.

But of course, I wasn’t—and I’m not. I’m surrounded by a remarkable community of military spouses, the type of people where if everything goes wrong and you call just one friend to talk about it, the next thing you know, there’ll be four women on your doorstep to help out. When people see the MSBA logo on my banner—especially on base—it builds trust in an instant. And it’s great to know I have a whole community backing me, with resources ranging from business counseling to legal resources to tax advice.

Building my own business has been challenging, thrilling, delightful, and terrifying by turns, and the ride’s not over yet.

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