Not Just Juice
Rachel Ng Annabelle Co-martinent
We all have the same 365 days in a year and 24 hours per day. It’s all about priorities and what you really believe in,” Annabelle Co-martinent states with a dazzling smile as she sips her chai latte. Seated in the spacious La Juiceria outlet in Bangsar, Annabelle is animated as she regales us with the tale of how her health food business came to be, but what is truly inspiring is how she is so hands-on with all her enterprises yet still manages to find time for herself and her family. From waiting tables when she first opened Super Saigon to being on her hands and knees scrubbing floors at her newly opened outlets, Annabelle is not above getting down and dirty alongside her staff to ensure that everything is perfect. “I always knew being a mum-preneur isn’t easy, I watched my own mom run a factory and business as I was growing up. Because I saw how she did it, the struggles and the achievements, it inspired me to be the same,” she explains. Transitioning from a high flying corporate career to opening her own business was challenging, but she attributes her confidence in taking the leap of faith to her husband, Jerome. “It’s really important to have your spouse’s support to maintain peace in the family, to be your rock to hold on to in challenging times, and someone who will forever have your back through thick and thin. He believed in me and gave me confidence to leave my previous life. It was a leap of faith. And I dared to jump because Jerome was beside me the whole time,” she expounds. Her children are also understanding of mummy’s career demands. “I do try to dedicate weekends to my family, but as an entrepreneur, the reality is that work is a 24/7 type of thing, so I teach my kids to understand that by owning a business, you will need to be flexible. One of the hardest moments is when you’re about to walk out of the door and they give their cutest faces asking ‘why you have to go to work?’” Annabelle laughs wryly. Despite the numerous other juicing outlets and health food competitors mushrooming, Annabelle is unfazed. “Change is constant. You have to invent and reinvent, again and again. With this in mind, we keep forcing ourselves to get better, improve our offerings, and make things exciting every time we can, so that customers will be delighted,” she states with conviction. With La Juiceria, La Juiceria Superfoods, Super Saigon and Soxial Status (a boutique social media creative agency) under her belt, Annabelle shows no signs of stopping and has something to tell other mums out there who are looking to venture into owning their own business. “Life is short, live it!
“Change is constant. You have to invent and reinvent, again and again”
Plan what you can—financially, emotionally and psychologically, plus be prepared for hard work. Then take the leap. There is no perfect moment. There is only NOW. Don’t wait for the perfect place, partner, product or anything perfect at that. As a boss, you can control some elements of the business, which means you can control the outcome. Why remain an employee if you can contribute to a better society, to make a difference in other people’s lives. And the icing on the cake? Having your kids look up to you and say, ‘You’re the boss, mummy, I want to be just like you when I grow up!’”