Academic journal article International Journal of Entrepreneurship

Denise Mendiola Hertslet: A Woman Entrepreneur's Journey to Coffee, Just the Beginning

Academic journal article International Journal of Entrepreneurship

Denise Mendiola Hertslet: A Woman Entrepreneur's Journey to Coffee, Just the Beginning

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

On October 16, 2009, a rainy afternoon in Mangilao, Guam, I waited outside I.P. Coffee Co., for the opportune time to dart out of my car into the coffee shop. I had a 3:30 pm meeting with the owner and my goal was to be prompt, but to stay as dry as possible. As I made my brisk entrance to the coffee shop, it seemed I disrupted a staff meeting as Ms. Denise Mendiola Hertslet welcomes me to the shop and the staff knowingly disburses. The coffee shop is bright, decorated with local artwork and exudes an ambiance of diverse ethnic themes. I sat at a table by the coffee bar and was offered a house specialty drink, a skinny green tea smoothie. With a clean notepad and pen in hand, I was geared up to listen. Excitement overcomes me as Mendiola Hertslet tells her story and shares her experiences of being a young woman entrepreneur on Guam.

ABOUT THE WOMAN ENTREPRENEUR

Mendiola Hertslet was born on March 5, 1973 in Tamuning, Guam. Her father, now retired, worked as a department supervisor at the Guam Power Authority. Her mother, also retired, was employed as a secretary at the Department of Education. She has three younger brothers. Mendiola Hertslet attended public school in elementary and middle school, an all-girl Catholic high school for two years, moved to the state of Washington in her junior year and then moved back home to Guam for senior year and graduated from Guam Adventist Academy in Talofofo. She attended college at Chaminade University in Hawaii, University of Southern Colorado, Guam Community College and University of Guam. She lives on Guam with her husband, Boris, and daughters, Alexandria Margarite and Christiana Maria.

THE RIGAMAROLE OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP

On August 13, 1994, Mendiola Hertslet married a young man in the air force and they relocated to his new base assignment in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The move was not an easy one, Mendiola Hertslet had to make some major adjustments having moved from an island whose entire population of 149,620 (1994 est.) would be the same size as the new town she would now have to call home. Without her family and friends, Mendiola Hertslet was in a whirlwind of change surrounded by unfamiliar faces, having to adapt to variable weather, a new lifestyle of marriage, and simply trying to fit in. The move alone was a major adjustment and was accompanied by feelings of being homesick further exacerbated by the difficulties of finding a job. It was a complete shock to her to find out that it was not easy finding employment, especially once the potential employer finds out that you are a military dependent. Military dependents are transient and employers tend to look for long term employees. Being the resilient person that she is, Mendiola Hertslet looked inward for guidance. She found that during her very-lonely days at home, she would watch videos of her cultural dance group and practice the dance skills she learned. She also created new dances and developed dance lessons. She was not one to easily give up. She looked at her strengths and thought that she could use her skills to help others. One day she decided to call around to different dance studios and found one that she could rent for a reasonable cost. She advertised her "hula" dance classes and was able to begin teaching children and women to dance hula. She also included Chamorro (Guam native) cultural dances into her course offerings. This led her to her first self-started venture, teaching Chamorro style dancing to children in Colorado Springs. Excited at this prospective business, Mendiola Hertslet's energy was recharged and she was on her way to starting up her new business. She had to learn the basics of owning her own business such as obtaining a business license, purchasing supplies from Hawaii and advertising. She did not realize the steps she would have to take to get a business started, the processes involved and the costs to start her dance company. …

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