Co-Founder of De Las Mías, Sada Naegelin

Incubating a Baby and Business: The Beginning of De Las Mías

The following is an article written by design strategist & De Las Mías co-founder, Sada Naegelin. A story of cultural purpose, entrepreneurship & motherhood.

 

In the Spring of 2016, I took the plunge, quit my 9-to-5, and started working with my mom, Ana Consuelo Matiella, to found De Las Mías. During this same period, I got engaged and eloped! 2016 was a big year for new beginnings.

My mom and I founded De Las Mías to help positively impact the lives of Latinas and our community. De Las Mías is a bilingual healthy lifestyle community built for Latinas by Latinas. We provide evidence-based information and a proven behavior change model to help Latinas help themselves, their comadres, friends and family lead healthier lives. We are body positive, food positive and love being Latinas at any size.

We all know the prevalence of diabetes, heart disease and other chronic conditions among the Latino community. We see first hand how these lifestyle diseases negatively impact our families. My mom and I want to change that story.

With my mom’s expertise in bilingual and bicultural health communications and my business know-how, we are determined to create the go-to community for Latinas, where we find like-minded women, striving for healthier, more joyful lives for ourselves and our families.

Many people comment on how difficult it would be for them to work with their mothers. But I didn’t think twice. De Las Mías presented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from and work with one of the wisest women I know. And I knew that with our powers combined my mom and I could accomplish something truly special and create a lasting impact for Latinas.

I was also eager to break out on my own and ditch the traditional 9-to-5. After more than a decade in a traditional job, I saw people around me having to sacrifice time with family, ignoring self-care, being overworked and overbusy, and I wanted to do it differently.

Growing up I had a different example of how to be a working parent. For as long as I can remember, my mom had her own business and worked from home and my dad for many years was self-employed. I know this approach to work came with other challenges and sacrifices, but looking back I remember one of my parents always being there.

As I embarked on a new chapter with my husband, and we talked about starting a family, I knew I had to find my own unique way to pursue my ambition to have a family and a career.

A year and a half into starting De Las Mías, I found out I was pregnant with our first child (thus incubating a baby and a business at the same time). We were over the moon excited! And in April of 2018, our Little Coconut entered the world with gusto!

I took two months of maternity leave and stepped away from the day-to-day operations of the business. I got to spend quality time with my little girl and learned a lot about myself along the way.

Now, as a mom, the stakes feel even higher. De Las Mías was always important but now even more so. Beyond impacting the greater community, there is now a third generation affected by our endeavor.

My mom and I have built something we’re truly proud of. We conducted a randomized control trial of the De Las Mías app with 200 Latinas in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As a result of the study, in January 2018 we launched an Android app and bilingual website to help Latinas be their healthiest, most fulfilled selves. We have participated in two different incubators: HealthSprint through the Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, and PIE (Portland Incubator Experiment) in Portland, Oregon.

We have now embarked on the harrowing journey to find investors so that we can continue to grow De Las Mías and achieve lasting impact for Latinas.

We’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way (some more expensive than others) and I’m sure there are more to come, but we have learned so much that we are propelled to keep going. And we have learned a lot about each other. While we are mother and daughter and definitely have our mother-daughter moments (some are better than others) we always return to why we’re doing this…

I hope someday when my daughter is pursuing and achieving her dreams that she’ll look back and be inspired by what I saw: a badass #chingona woman, being her own boss, following her passion and applying her skills to help her community, all while creating a better life for herself, and the next generation.

To keep up with Sada and the amazing work happening with De Las Mías, follow her on Twitter and Linkedin and the company’s Instagram account.