Just 6 months from the first idea, Laura, Alejandra and Lorena (in the picture from the left) are now accepting orders for their journals from all across the world. Read how they jumped into the water to learn to swim.
Meet Alejandra from Mexico, Laura from Colombia and Lorena from Brazil – three amazing ladies who brought their entrepreneurial visions to life, whilst managing full-time careers and raising families (and one really dependent dog).
Their shared story traces back almost 5 years, beginning with a chance meeting between Alejandra and Lorena (do you remember Couchsurfing meetings?). Later, at a different event, Laura heard her native language spoken, and tracked the sound down to Alejandra. They became fast friends. But it was only last December when the idea of a journaling business came up, or rather, a creative business of any kind. At the very beginning, Laura simply liked the idea of being creative for her second income. She took a day-long course on how to publish books on Amazon, inviting Alejandra along. A week later, Lorena joined them with the idea of journals.
When we met for this interview, short five months later, they had published 8 different guided journals (including pregnancy, postpartum, gratitude, teen, travel, or wine journals) and two Brno-inspired notebooks, with a Moravian word of the day on each page. In the month it took us to publish this interview, they released another guided journal, for seniors. They’re selling them across the world, from Japan to the USA.
Brno Expat Centre: That was an incredibly fast start. How did you manage to publish your first journals so quickly?
Laura: After a week of talking, we defined what we wanted to start with, and then we simply started creating. We didn’t investigate the market much and we just kind of jumped into the water.
Alejandra: It was pretty good timing because Lorena already had some content that she had been playing with for years and that she wanted to publish. It was just a matter of “let’s make it pretty and let’s publish.”
(Author’s note: The ladies are using Amazon’s print-on-demand program, which helped them publish and sell without high initial investment.)
And why journals?
Lorena: I’ve been journaling for 10 years. It’s been connected to many different journeys of my life, but the most important moment when I realised how much it changed me was after my miscarriage. I usually tend to talk things out, but the miscarriage I couldn’t. My therapist told me to write instead – all these emotions have to come out somehow. So, I started writing everything out. Now, I start my day by writing down 3 things that I am grateful for, and it literally reprograms my brain to see the beauty in things, to see the world differently.
Alejandra: The first journal we designed was the gratitude journal. It doesn’t mean that everything that is bad in your life is going to magically disappear, but it means that you can focus on the positive.
Do you have a business plan you’re following?
Laura: Not really, we’re just rolling with it, enjoying the flow.
Lorena: We don’t have a short-term plan defined, but we’ve just discussed our 10-year plan, during our last monthly wellness session.
Alejandra: These are our team-building sessions, where we always come up with new ideas.
Lorena: Yes. And this is not really a business plan, but more like a wild idea. The dream is to have this lounge café that would work as a workshop space during the day, and then at night, it would turn into a winery. There, we could share experiences that are connected to our journals and other products.
Isn’t journaling mostly solitary activity?
Alejandra: Yes, but so is reading. And still, you have book clubs. People read the same book and then discuss it, to keep you motivated. When it comes to journaling, many people don’t know how to start, so our workshops would teach how to get into it. We want to start organizing some workshops where we could also discuss specific topics, not just journaling as the activity. Our journals are linked to different chapters of your life, like pregnancy or postpartum, or different hobbies, like wine or traveling. In our workshops, people could come together to share their experiences, and it would become more of a communal rather than a lonesome activity. Our very first workshop will focus on pregnancy and it’s coming up very soon – 20 September 2023!
And in your plans, is this community café based in Brno?
Everyone: Yes, absolutely!
(from the left: Lorena Torsani, Alejandra Rossell, Laura Maldonado)
What do you love about doing business so far?
Alejandra: For me, it has been the realisation that I can actually create things on my own. When we started, I had some real doubts about how I would contribute to the creation process. But then I created my first journal, the teen journal, and I learned that I can be creative, too.
Lorena: For me, the best part is when I touch the journals and I look at what we managed to create together. The feeling is very difficult to describe. It is like our baby. As a doula, I am really focused on birthing babies, but now I realise that we are also bringing dreams and projects to life.
Laura: For me, it has been great to see that if I want something, I can actually make it happen. There’s a lot to it. I discovered I can learn to design, and even have an eye for it. We managed to build a community around Margarida Blossom; it’s been really great how much support we have received from our families and friends. Another thing is how great of a match Margarida Blossom is; the three of us all have different things we bring to the team. Every day we learn something which will be valuable for us in the future.
What advice would you give to other starting entrepreneurs?
Alejandra: My advice would be just go for it. Don’t overthink it.
Lorena: Yes. Sometimes you think you need to be an expert before you start, but we realised that we are writing for people like us. We can connect with them better as we are now, on a personal level, than if we were experts. If you cater to people as you would to yourself, you already have your product.
Laura: I’d also say, do read the fine print! We had financial failures with journals that were purchased in currency we couldn’t accept. We actually had to pay to get paid! Just because we didn’t do our research and didn’t read all the terms and conditions properly. Lesson learned.
We thank Margarida Blossom for sharing their inspiring journey with us. They are a joy to watch and talk to, and we wish them the very best of luck along the next chapters of their wonderful (ad)venture.
Written by Alexandra Sisková and Marie Lungová from the Brno Expat Centre. Photos courtesy of Margarida Blossom.