\u2018Creative juices\u2019 in its literal and metaphorical sense was what inspired Anabelle Co-Martinent to start her own business. In 2013, the Manila-born iron lady, who moved to Malaysia, left a high flying corporate career in favour of a dream \u2013 making health-giving cold-pressed juices out of fresh fruits, herbs, and vegetables, in order to give Malaysians the option of making healthier food and beverage choices. Anabelle has her own story to tell of the transformation she saw when she incorporated a plant-based juice in her daily diet. I had more energy, lost weight, and just generally, felt fantastic. I also recovered faster from my second caesarean section delivery than the first one. Inspired by his now fitter and trimmer wife, her husband who had been gaining weight and always feeling tired, joined in on the juice journey. He lost more than 8 kg in three weeks, and then another 18 kg and became a marathon runner to boot \u2013 all thanks to choosing a healthier diet and lifestyle. In her story above, she also mentioned about her recovery from a second caesarean section. Yes, Anabelle is a mother of two children and the founder and managing director of La Juiceria Superfoods \u2013 the purveyor of detox and health-boosting juices, smoothies, shots, and more. But her beginnings were humble enough. She began her home business by tinkering with juicing in her tiny apartment kitchen and then, delivering them to customers. She dreamt of one day owning her own caf\u00e9, where people would come to enjoy these juices. But being an expatriate here in Malaysia, and a mother of two young children who demanded all of her attention, her dream was made that much harder to attain. \u201cOn International Women\u2019s Day, I really hope that all the women out there start to think of doing something of their own, whether it is personal pursuits like painting, exercising, or just getting out there to do something you are not comfortable with because that allows you to grow.\u201d ~ Anabelle Co-Martinent Yet attain she did, and her dream came true. Multiple times. Today, eight years since the day she started her company and sold her first juice, Anabelle has a string of juice bars, caf\u00e9s, and eateries serving the La Juiceria standard of quality juices and beverages, as well as healthy handcrafted food all over the trendiest places in the Klang Valley. How did she do it? Perhaps, it is best she tells you her story herself. Motherhood asks Anabelle to recount her business journey and to offer some words of encouragement to would-be mumpreneurs who might want to follow suit on International Women\u2019s Day. From Creative Juices to Handcrafted Designer Foods, Anabelle Co-Martinent Talks about Health, Business, Motherhood & Growing into a Total Woman 1. Motherhood: Tell us a little bit about yourself and why you decided to start your entrepreneurship journey in the healthy and natural food and beverage line From living a corporate life at a multinational technology company in KLCC, Anabelle now dials back to being an advocate of all things healthy. Anabelle Co-Martinent: I am from Manila and I moved to Singapore when I got married there and then, moved to Malaysia. I watched a lot of films about health and detoxification and that really got me interested. When I was pregnant with my second child, I started to plan out my juice recipes and the company. That is how it all started. I was in corporate working with Microsoft at the Twin Towers for about four and a half years and it was always hard to eat healthy because I was always feeling stressed out because of work, so the easier option was to eat anything that was available. It made me reflect how badly I ate despite having a good stable job in a beautiful building and having the opportunity to eat healthy and yet, I did not. That was also the time when I was pregnant with my daughter and at the height of my career. So, that made me reflect on how hard it is for Malaysians to eat healthy despite being at the Twin Towers and despite being at the City Centre. So, that made me think I should make a brand that makes healthy food accessible to everyone. 2. Motherhood: Tell us about the concept of your brand and how attaining health through juicing works Anabelle Co-Martinent: Juices are all made fresh at the factories, so we have a central kitchen and a lot of it at the beginning was experimenting and researching. Eventually, when it was possible for me to hire my own nutritionists, we hired several of them to help us create more juices. After a couple of years, we branched out from juices to healthy food. So, this is how I kind of start on my own and eventually, have experts and laboratories helping me to make it better and make it right. 3. Motherhood: What are the ingredients in your juices? Could you share with us? Some of the cold-pressed juices Anabelle Co-Martinent: My favourite is the Immunity Shots, and the Defender is the most highly recommended and also, one of our highest sales because basically, we need ginger and turmeric as part of our diet, and these are freshly juiced out without adding anything to it. These two ingredients are superfoods and we rarely eat them raw. Most of the time it is cooked in curry or chicken rice, but ginger and turmeric that are taken raw have a lot of benefits, so these are definitely some of the things I would recommend for people who are coming down with a flu or have a sore throat, or who just want to boost their immunity. 4. Motherhood: Tell us about your food caf\u00e9s like Goodness Greens, La Juiceria Superfoods, Honest Treat, Super Saigon, and Hawker Hall. How is each one different from the other?\u00a0 Why did you see it necessary to evolve? How many outlets do you have in total today? Some of the servings at Goodness Greens caf\u00e9. The vegetarian Buddha Bowl (right) is interesting as it consists of Japanese turmeric pear rice, roasted pumpkins, roasted seasonal veggies, tortilla chips, tofu, saut\u00e9ed mushrooms, caramelised cashew brittles, lime wedge, and Thai coconut curry sauce. Anabelle Co-Martinent: The Goodness Greens caf\u00e9 was our very first juice bar and after having about fourteen juice bars in the Klang Valley, we decided to kind of venture into doing healthy food because people kept asking, "Do you have food?" We named it Goodness Greens after our top-selling green juice, which was Goodness Greens. At the time, we were not sure if it was going to be successful. We had questions like: Will people accept it? And so, we kind of hastily created something like our own small kitchen to satisfy ourselves, as well as to have a healthy food fix. It took many months to start working on it but eventually, it worked, and we decided to open a second, third, and fourth caf\u00e9. We thought Goodness Greens was a very common name and quite forgettable, and some people did come up to me and tell me that they did not like the word \u201cgreen\u201d, so we thought about it. After Goodness Greens, the second, third, and fourth openings were then called La Juiceria Superfoods and that is kind of how it all started. They have roughly all the same menus, which are all the healthy foods, all the healthy salads, all the healthy bowls like Rice Bowls, Quinoa Bowls, or Keto Bowls with cauliflower rice. Honest Treat is about healthy, baked items. We have granolas, we have bakery goods, banana cakes, and other food, while Super Saigon is a Vietnamese Melbourne-Style Pho place, where we use only the finest Australian Beef inspired by our trips to Ho Chi Minh and Melbourne. My business partners are Melbourne boys. They grew up eating really good Pho in Melbourne. So, we decided to create a brand, in order to replicate that experience here for Malaysians to enjoy. Hawker Hall is our newest baby, a new addition in 2019. It is really a hawker \u201ckopitiam\u201d for all Malaysians to come together to enjoy all their all-time Malaysian favourites like Char Kuay Teow, Nasi Lemak, and Curry Laksa at very affordable prices. The modern twist to Hawker Hall is that it is fully air-conditioned and features Instagrammable corners, neon lights, and statement walls, as well as a self-ordering kiosk. 5. Motherhood: I understand you have two children? How old are they now? Where are they in their education, schooling, and growing-up years? How are they coping with the pandemic and constant school closures? How are you coping with working from home and your children studying online? Anabelle and her family on holiday. Anabelle Co-Martinent: Yes, I have two children. They are seven and eleven at this point. They are currently home-schooling, while school is closed. It has been quite challenging to get them to learn remotely and it is very different because the learning environment is at home. And really I can understand that probably other families are going through the same difficulty. So in a way, I am thankful that schools are making all the efforts and providing all the materials, but also, it is a struggle trying to teach them at home, while also having to work and manage the many things at home. But in many ways, I am thankful because I get to see them, I get to have meals with them more often. So, it is really about being appreciative towards what I have in the present moment and just making the most out of it. They are still safe, they are at home, and when school reopens, and it recently has, I have to trust that they have put the SOPs in place and they can get to see their friends again. 6. Motherhood: I notice you paint as well. The artworks are lovely! Were you always an artist or did you just discover this talent? What is your chosen medium and why?\u00a0 Anabelle\u2019s artistic ventures. Anabelle Co-Martinent: Thanks to the pandemic, I started picking up my brushes again after a 10\u201311-year stop because, when you have children you simply do not have the time. My chosen medium is mostly acrylic. Recently, I took up watercolour as well. I am still in the exploring stage. Acrylic is very forgiving, very easy to handle, and it is something you can correct again and again. It is also very easy to handle in terms of drying time. You just use water. And it is very easy to clean up as well. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to start painting seriously or who just wants to dabble with it. But, please do not be afraid of acrylic paints. This is the most highly-recommended medium for beginners. I have always painted; I have always liked art classes. For me, it has always been an interest but never pursued as formal education or as a career. So yes, thanks to the pandemic last year, I started to paint again. Surprisingly, the world has changed. There are so many YouTube tutorials that have allowed me to advance my knowledge and I got to do many big pieces and thankfully, some people liked them and they have been buying my art, especially the seascape ones. So, getting back to painting has really been quite interesting and satisfying for me on a personal level. 7. Motherhood: As mentioned, we are in our second year of COVID-19, what have you learnt so far about being a wife, a mother, and an entrepreneur in these unpredictable times? Anabelle Co-Martinent: In this pandemic, it is not easy to run a business and be a mum at the same time. Suddenly, there are breakfasts, lunches, and dinners to think about at home. But, we are all going through this together. And I am sure that in our own ways, we are making it work. There is really no gold standard to how we should do it. Nobody knows how to handle this pandemic. Nobody knows how to balance everything like home-schooling, plus your job, plus being the woman of the house. I think we do what we can. Do not blame yourself or push yourself too hard. We just take what we can daily and be grateful for what we have accomplished in the day. We will have frustrating moments, we will have our heated moments, and we will have our failures. But, that is all part of the experience. We just have to take one day at a time. That is what we are doing, whether it is in business, or at home, or while trying to homeschool. Take one day at a time. Then, it would not feel so overwhelming because we will not know what is going to happen tomorrow, but we can be sure of what we can decide for today. So, that would be my thoughts for those who are facing this struggle, alongside everybody else in this pandemic. 8. Motherhood: What do you wish to see for women on International Women\u2019s Day? \u201cJust do what you can because you have this one life to live. You have this one moment to make the best of it. When you see yourself taking small steps and having small successes, these should be the things you celebrate every day. So, please get out there and try something new, especially on International Women\u2019s Day.\u201d ~ Anabelle Co-Martinent On International Women\u2019s Day, I really hope that all the women out there start to think of doing something of their own \u2013 whether it is personal pursuits like painting, exercising, or just getting out there to do something you are not comfortable with because that allows you to grow. And for the women who are thinking of starting a business, never compare yourself with others. Do not feel down when things do not work out or feel that what you are doing is small and insignificant. When I first started out, I was in my small kitchen in my apartment. At that time, I had just delivered my baby and I had just started La Juiceria. I still felt very bloated; I felt big. I was not at my best moment. But I had big dreams and I wanted to become \u201cStarbucks\u201d. You know, it sounded silly back then. It is fine if people laugh at your dreams or if people do not believe that you can make it. But, dare to dream and take small baby steps one at a time. So, if you are about to start something, I really highly encourage it. Please do not be discouraged by those who put you down. Just do what you can because you have this one life to live. You have this one moment to make the best of it. When you see yourself taking small steps and having small successes, these should be the things you celebrate every day. So, please get out there and try something new, especially on International Women\u2019s Day. Yes, we love our family; we love our kids \u2013 but that should not be the be-all and end-all to our 24 hours. 9. Motherhood: Finally, what are your thoughts about the future and about women (mothers especially) taking the leap into entrepreneurship and making a difference in shaping the world we live in today? How important is their role?\u00a0\u00a0 \u201cIn leadership and entrepreneurship, I have much to learn from men. But equally, they also have things to learn from us.\u201d ~ Anabelle Co-Martinent Anabelle Co-Martinent: The role of women in corporate or even in entrepreneurship is very important because we are part of a whole society. If only men run all the companies and head everything, there would not be a woman\u2019s perspective in the way they design, plan, or create. I think it is important that there is the voice of women in these leadership roles. I find that most companies are run by men. There are very few women heading companies because we women tend to drop out when we start families. But, the world is still changing even as we speak. It is important that there are women to give insights and input. Men are more objective about things, in terms of moving forward and sometimes, they forget the smaller details. Women are very detail-oriented. It is not about who is wrong or who is right. It is about complementing each other. To be honest, I enjoy working with men. And I enjoy making decisions with my business partners who are men because they are very objective-driven. There is no drama. Decision-making is done fast and well, and I have much to learn from men. But equally, they also have things to learn from us. So, I do not find that it is "women who have to rule" or "men who have to rule" but more like, let\u2019s work together to complement each other to move the company forward. This way, it becomes a more balanced company that covers all bases. Motherhood IWD Special: Be sure to read all the other stories on inspiring mothers who have made a name for themselves, created a niche, and shone in leadership roles in their own different spheres of interests.