On Having An Entrepreneur as a Mother | By Madison Letier

Mother entrepreneur & daughter

In honor of Entrepreneurship Day, Madison Letier, eldest daughter of Gardenuity CEO and Co-founder Donna Letier, reflects on her childhood as the daughter of a dedicated female entrepreneur.

Growing up, living under the same roof as my biggest role model was both a massive blessing and a curse. Having a Mother who is business savvy, smart as a whip, compassionate, and funny (if I didn’t say that she would be mad) is uniquely lucky. Anytime I needed advice or a shoulder to cry on, she was there (most of the time)— ready to offer whatever I needed — with sage advice and a joke to boot.

I quickly discovered that I wasn’t the only person who was impressed by my mother. As she received new opportunities and her business world expanded, there were moments my sister and I felt left behind. Then, she started her first business and, believe it or not, everything changed for the better.

As she began her new business in our dining room, she also spent more and more time with my sister and I. I vividly remember coming home from school, getting a Babybel cheese out of the fridge, and sitting down at the dining table next to my Mom to do my homework as she fervently worked.

I witnessed first hand with my Mom that entrepreneurship is no easy task. Late nights often turn into early mornings, self-doubt creeps in and upheaves entire visions, and customers become the priority, requiring round-the-clock attention. But I also witnessed that it’s all worth it because entrepreneurship affords you the opportunity to pursue your dreams.

Donna and Madison Letier

Watching my mother fearlessly embrace her new business was thrilling and inspiring to me. That time of our lives — however young I was — has a huge impact on me. It has forever changed the way I picture my future and understand my potential.

An entrepreneur in the family means it’s ‘all-hands-on-deck’ when a big order comes in. As a little kid, I was featured in one of my Mom’s catalogs. To this day, those pictures make me cringe. (I’ve ensured they will not be featured in this post because I have buried all the copies.)

Many of my favorite weeks leading up to Christmas were spent in warehouses packing boxes and belting Christmas carols. Typing this all out now, I can understand this is an atypical childhood. Although in the moment, I only remember being excited to be part of something bigger than me (…and to play on forklifts). It was thrilling to see my mother come into her own as an entrepreneur. She grew more confident with each meeting, and I loved getting to spend more time with her.

Now that she has Gardenuity, the process of building a business has started all over again. For a while, she moved back into the dining room, met with new investors, and we all pitched in with the grunt work. Now, with faith and hustle, the business is growing.

Yes, the road has not always been easy. Many late nights have turned into early mornings and self-doubt sometimes creeps in, but relentlessly and energetically, my mother perseveres — and succeeds. The most important thing about being an entrepreneur is to have a support system to get you another cup of coffee and to reaffirm “It’s going to work”. I’m so excited for her and I’m so happy that I got to grow up in a home that valued big visions, hard work, and group effort.

Why celebrate Entrepreneurship Day?

Since its inauguration in 2010, entrepreneurship day is a time to celebrate those who have taken the business world by storm and made a name for themselves out of practically nothing. It’s a chance I have to celebrate the stories of some of the greatest businessmen and women of our time — including my mom and her business partner Julie.

So today while I remember moms idea of finding balance did not always register for me, I love being able to watch my mom follow her dreams and showing me over and over again to never, ever give up.