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Name: Vivien Francis

Business: PilloveTalk

Location: La Jolla, California, U.S.

Industry: Consumer Goods 

Reason for starting? My passion for art and inspirational sayings began in childhood. Positive messages were a way of life at home as my mom, a single parent, relied upon them. At 15 my mom died. To cope I placed positive affirmations all over my room and read Bible scriptures daily. Later after getting married and having two girls, I painted murals of prayers, affirmations, and Bible scriptures in their rooms. I’d read these to them at bedtime. Integrating positive expressions into my living environment brought me joy and peace. After 12 years, my marriage ended.

This began a lengthy litigation process and battle for custody after my daughters were abducted from me by their dad. I didn’t have a relationship with them for 6 years. I again turned to uplifting messages, prayers, and affirmations to keep going. For much of my life, I have been passionate about integrating positive messages into my living environment. Now my life’s purpose is to design home products with uplifting and edifying messages.

How do you define success? Every time customers share their stories about how comforting my inspirational products have been, I know I’m doing what I came here for. By bringing others hope and helping to deepen their faith, self-love, and love for life, my heart feels full and that’s how I defined the highest level of success. After that, business success is also measured by achieving financial and impact goals.

Related: Read about another textile entrepreneur here. 

Biggest success: I am starting to sell my products in hospital gift shops. I have full displays in two hospital stores and the way my products have been received is extraordinary. Pillowcases with inspirational messages and affirmations are the perfect product to have in a hospital gift shops, as people visiting and patients can be inspired by the messages our products deliver. I think the biggest success so far is that the hospital gift shops continue to order our products as they sell really well. Our goal is to be in all the hospital’s gift shops of the nation.

What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? Top challenge is managing my time and resources to perform all the tasks on my own. I have taken many courses on performance and how to maximize my productivity while still fundraising and building a team to help achieve my goals.

In terms of personal challenges, my daughters were taken without my knowledge or consent by their dad to Guatemala. This began a lengthy litigation process and battle for custody. For five years I didn’t have any contact with my daughters. During the fifth year, I found an opportunity to see them for two weeks. Altogether we were apart for six years before they moved back to live with me. During the six most challenging years of my life, I turned to uplifting messages, prayers, and affirmations to keep going. While we were apart I painted affirmations and prayers on the walls of my home in every room and corridor including the garage. I created a faith box to put quotes, prayers, Bible scriptures− anything that offered hope. Whenever doubt crept in, I read them. I imagined wrapping my daughters in words of love and blessings on pillowcases. This is how PilloveTalk began. This personal situation propels me every day, gives me the passion and strength to keep going to reach my goals to reach as many people as possible.

Related: Bianca Thomas: A Purposeful Life After Trauma 

Who is your most important role model? My grandfather. He was a pioneer in the textile industry in Guatemala. He started the industrial revolution of Guatemala and transformed the textile industry creating thousands of jobs and innovating with his products and ideas. I always think of him and realized that the entrepreneurial spirit is in my blood and that we can achieve everything we can set up our minds to do, just as my grandfather did. My grandfather is the source of my inspiration, diligence, and discipline. I remember going with him to his factories as a little girl and the passion, love, generosity, and discipline he displayed with his family, friends, and employees were not only very consistent but truly remarkable.

Twitter @PilloveTalk
Instagram  @pillovetalk

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Edited by The Story Exchange