I call myself that because I have had to find the strongest, most ferocious side of me to simply survive at times. It is very hard raising a child on your own as many single parents can relate. It becomes even trickier when you have big dreams that take time and effort to pursue but first, you have to feed your kid. When I found myself a single mom, my background had always been entertainment and I didn't know much else. I was known as a costar on A Nickelodeon series called "Taina" and a singer. Online I was a celebrity but in real life I was a regular mom trying to make ends meet. I felt like two separate people at times but I never gave up on my goals. I knew I could find my way back to a life I had known but this time it was going to be bigger and better. I always had a desire to be in control of my own destiny and create on my own terms. I wanted to be able to create a real future for my son. Therefore no matter how hard it became I kept working, researching, and creating. Then I believed. Sometimes my dreams had to go on hold but I never let them go. While some of the odd jobs I had to work may have seemed daunting at the time they each taught me something that I apply to my business to this day. It was all for a reason. Experience has been my best and only teacher in some instances. Somewhere along the way I also managed to write an anti-cyberbullying children's book called Military Bratz, with my mother, and get published. I toured over 30 schools and even landed some good press.Then, back to the odd jobs I went.
One of the things I love to do is cook for my son and he loves to eat! Out of my own frustration, I started thinking about better ways to dispose used cooking oil. Living in a third floor apartment, the coffee cans full of grease were really piling up! I was paying for trash pick up at my door but no matter how I tried to contain it, the grease would always leak and make a major mess! I started getting complaints from the trash guys. I guess they were tired of getting splashed with grease everytime they through an enormous bag of trash down three flights of stairs. I guess I can't blame them. The leaking grease was also starting to attract rodents and that's where I draw the line! I really starting researching an answer. It had to be eco-friendly and help reduce waste. Those things were very important to me. I felt without those two elements I was not really solving the problem. Rather, I would be putting a band-aid over it or worse helping contribute to it. Collecting grease in containers that could be recycled is just adding waste to already overflowing landfills. Taking oil to drop off points for recycling sounds good and it is. However, drop off points are inconvenient for the average consumer. Old grease is such a nuisance! People often pour it down the toilet which will clog pipes as well. Others have a spot in their yard where they pour grease and where grass will probably never grow again. Needless to say, there had to be a better way! I wanted convenient, easy, eco-friendly disposable and compostable.
It seemed like magic when all the elements finally came together. I started from nothing, filed for a patent, auditioned for Shark Tank, kept working behind the scenes to build a business out of nothing, created prototypes, researched more, found manufacturers, worked more odd jobs, took my son to school everyday, attended football games, went to meetings, made phone calls, sent emails, asked questions, kicked the wall, cried my eyes out, got back up, kept going, got more calls from Shark Tank, kept doing something I had never done before but knew I could, found awesome team members and friends along the way and now you can see me swim with the Sharks on ABCs Shark Tank January 13th 2017...that's why I'm the "Monstapreneur". I am still learning and building to be better and develop a great product and business while being the best Mom I can be.
It has not been easy but I'm grateful for that. I now know what I am made of. Being on Shark Tank has been a dream of mine since season one. I always imagined bringing my solution for home grease disposal to the Sharks. It was not even a product then. It was just a desire to solve the problem. I have continued to be a fan and study the Sharks. When I found out they were in town I was super early in my business but took a chance and didn't let anything stop me. I said: "Self, if you don't make it, you can just try again." I attended the open call on a cold morning in March after a late drive from Austin (4 hr drive) after I worked South By Southwest for the past fews days. I was asleep standing up in that line that wrapped around the American Airlines Center in Dallas. I thought 2 hrs of sleep and getting up before the sun was early enough to get in line but apparently some people slept there. I was still number 434...which ended up very significant...another story. The line then started forming behind me and I could no longer see the end.
After months of an intense process, I was floored when I finally got the call that I had actually made the cut! I was to debut my product in front of the Sharks and millions of viewers!!!! It's still very surreal for me. I can't believe it happened! I am grateful and honored to be one of the entrepreneurs who has actually stood on the carpet and swam with the Sharks! Yep, little 'ol me...I did that...never stop believing and receiving...you never know what's next and it's and awesome ride!