Being a mom in Switzerland has been a very different experience than being a mom in the UK. When our family moved to Switzerland in 2013, I had the opportunity to reinvent myself.
I left behind an exhausted full time working corporate mother, who wished for more time to spend with her daughter and immersed myself into being a full time mom that focused all her time and energy in her daughter's needs. During that time and through this change in lifestyle alegria was born.
I merged my period of discovering Basel, learning German, being a full time mom, meeting new people, participating in activities and play groups that benefited my daughter's integration, with market research for my company. My social circle as a full time mom was fertile ground for developing a children's products company. Many Swiss and expat parents helped me test the alegria products, and better understand the consumer market, among other aspects of founding alegria.
In September 2015 alegria's e-commerce website was launched. Now am I one-woman band with big plans, which is very different from my corporate architectural life. Running a business and being a mom are both full time jobs. While the melody I dance to is different - the juggling act remains the same - but I do have more time with my daughter.
What I have learnt from my experience in Basel is that to become an entrepreneurial expat in a new country one takes same steps as when getting to know a new culture for the first time. Take time and become familiar with the local language, explore the local culture, build new relationships with locals and foreigners, do not be afraid to ask for help – and above all keep an open mind.
Running my own business presents a new challenge everyday. Some lessons learnt have to be revaluated, and willingness to learn is essential. But the same goes being a mother. So for the many professional expat moms out there considering venturing into entrepreneurship I would say: go for it! You are already half way there.
Photos: © Alegria