This is part of a series of profiles showcasing the talented entrepreneurs of NCRC’s DC Women’s Business Center. Bamboo Beginnings Doula Services is a women-owned business started by L. Viviana de Jesús that provides reproductive self-empowerment.
What kind of product or service do you sell?
We offer reproductive self-empowerment through childbirth education (CBE). We center your BIPOC voice, lived experience and real-time ever-evolving body. Our tailored virtual CBE classes get down to the nitty-gritty of your unique physical, physiological (hormonal) and psychosocial changes (the happenings that affect your emotions/ thoughts) in pregnancy. Our interactive, easy-to-access multimedia classes allow you to track your maternity care in real-time so that you go into your prenatal appointments informed, confident to ask your questions and make sound decisions. Our English-Spanish bilingual catalog of classes offers knowledge tools to protect you against medically unnecessary unconsented drug testing, illegal reporting to family regulating/policing authorities, obstetrical racism and obstetrical violence, lapses in care and many other forms of discrimination.
What inspired you to start your business?
A burning desire to create my reality, walk in my purpose, my power and serve as a portal to empower other women. To create a District-based wombyn of color owned and operated, English-Spanish bilingual boutique business, that specializes in the art of overcoming – stereotypes, statistics and stigmas. Our mission is to eradicate the maternal-infant mortality and morbidity crisis in the United States by making evidence-based prenatal childbirth education classes, intra and postpartum support, and advocacy convenient, affordable and accessible to all wombyn.
How has DCWBC helped you through your journey?
If there is one thing reaching my fourth year in business has taught me is that as a majority/minority women-owned small business, having a village of professionals to guide and nurture our business and personal growth is fundamental to our viability in the marketplace but also to our personal wellbeing. Karina Liriano took the time to really listen, ask more in-depth questions about why and how I started my business and she stayed in touch. We felt valued. Most recently, we requested assistance with financial deliverables for the 1863 Ventures Grant. Karina, Daniella and one of their newest contractors, Stephanie, have been invaluable in helping us to meet our deadline. I now feel I have a tribe of badass, fearless bawse ladies in my corner to level the playing field for those of us that are willing to step up to the plate and hit the ball out of the park. We look forward to working closely with you on other strategic objectives fundamental to the growth of our business but also to our Bawse Lady ecosystem.
What advice would you give other women who want to start their own business?
As a single mother, with crushing college loan debt, I vacillated between unemployment and under-employment. My desire to start a business was met with entrenched sexist stereotypes about my ability to start a business and lift myself out of poverty. I had no entrepreneurial networks, no capital, and no qualified business acumen. All I had was a burning desire to create my reality, walk in my purpose, my power and serve as a portal to empower other women. Work on the parts of the business you can and let the Universe handle the rest. Don’t stop visioning. Don’t be afraid to side hustle while you build your business to the level where you are making enough income to cover your expenses and have surplus for an emergency fund. If you have children, have them vision with you. Our first website and logo were created by my daughter, Naa Anyele Sowah-de Jesús when she was 12! Our logo is registered with the USPTO. Many say, “Be careful.” I say, “Be dangerous.”