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My entrepreneurial journey

I wanted to talk to you about my entrepreneurial journey, in all transparency. And I'm going to get right to the heart of the matter. To you who are reading this, thank you for opening up about my journey. I want to break the silence. I am not a person who talks easily about my challenges, I shut myself away and try to find solutions. Sometimes I even feel that I isolate myself even if I am surrounded. I close myself off to what I am experiencing. Even though sometimes I am bathed in my anxieties, I still keep swimming. I like people to see me in my strong moments and not in my weak ones. I got used to being tough, because telling people about my challenges wouldn't have helped me grow in the marketplace anyway. I felt I had to be strong to keep my head up. That's what I believed and that was my idea. I need to talk to you who support me and my business, to you, a woman with a head, in fact, to you, a human being, simply.

I am a mom of two who started her business in 2014, but had the creative idea for this business in my head since 2012. It was the same year I was leaving the family nest, so I was separating. As a little girl, I used to say to my mother, one day I will have an idea and I will make a business out of it. I don't know why, but I also used to say that I would become a millionaire. I didn't understand why people worked so hard at jobs they didn't even like. So I wanted to choose my own path.

This journey, although it is my dream, has had its share of pitfalls and challenges, thrills and health repercussions. And the million dollars hasn't come yet. However, the challenges are related to my choices, I am learning on this journey and the fact that I am fulfilling myself overcomes all these challenges, because I know that I have the strength and the ability to achieve my vision. It's a matter of time and evolution. For me, this is not an option. I have the qualities to be a good entrepreneur and I am walking towards success. I have doubted it during some challenges, but deep down, I have the certainty that I will always find a way to get there. When the conviction shakes, I allow myself the opportunity to feel it again. It's a veil of doubt, but behind the veil, the real face is present.

Many times I have sat with people listening and watching with a tight throat, because I wanted to confide in them, but I was unable to. Many times I have sat with people to learn, to feel a presence and because I needed to come out of my isolation. Sometimes I was perfectly fine with people, sometimes not so much. I loved the simple moments when I would drop out because the complexity of my challenges had reached a high level and because I was trapping all my feelings in my body without releasing them.

I filed for personal bankruptcy for my business, I used culinary strategies to try to make food for my children with not much, I was not always able to give my children and myself everything I would have liked. I had support and friends who helped me a lot at times, but otherwise I dealt with what I had to deal with. I would take my kids to the store to see stuff, because they wanted to see a lot of things, but I would leave with something cheap each and often not what they really wanted. And if I say this, it's to open myself up and tell you: hey I understand you entrepreneur that you put everything on the table because you believe in your project. When to let go, when to continue... only you know.

I rebuilt my strategy and implemented a line around my initial concept of Hopalo detachable swimwear with simple and high demand products in the market that requires less education about the products. I continued for a long time to be strong, I visualized the logical fallout from the core of what I put into what I do and that it will result in great success in business. At this point, my inner self is also evolving tremendously, so for me it's a big learning curve. Although I've heard people say not to take our business as a path of evolution, I don't believe in that. Because, in fact, disassociating the entrepreneur from the person and putting the emotions aside may be helpful, but that's not how I want to experience it. I was turned down for a grant early on in the launch of my business, apparently because I didn't have the surf shirt and it was a popular design... and a week later I had created it. I pitched to the Dragons on Dans l'Œil du Dragon twice and didn't get an offer. My financial background was difficult, so that made it harder for an investor to present. However, I did have access to a lot of help elsewhere and private loans. I went about seeking my support differently.

In the summer of 2019, while I was going through an out of the ordinary situation, I allowed myself to be pulled away from my essence and lost connection with my values. I allowed judgment to shake me and resentment to build within me as a result of choices that were no longer aligned with me. I was leaving my apartment to spend a nomadic, yet organized summer and was struggling financially. I was repositioning my life. I didn't want to take a mediocre apartment, I was separating and I had little money. Over the summer, I was hospitalized for suicidal ideation because I had too much stress and was no longer aligned. I was having a hard time with the repercussions of everything that was happening, that was no longer my real choices and that was no longer harmonious for me. Being an anxious person by nature, I think I spoiled myself on real anxiety-provoking things. I continually put myself out of my comfort zone and have a great ability to do so. However, there have been some really hard peaks, a lot of judgment and larger than life events. My path was completely destabilized and reality appeared to be so far outside of my truth.

At the moment, I have come to live in Valcourt. My home is nice and clean here, and I feel good. I can be with my children and be efficient in my business. My mother lives nearby, so that's nice too. I'm able to move forward and run my business. I can build myself up in my own way and get back on my feet for myself and my kids.

I feel less passionate about what I am doing, but I know that it is a matter of time, of understanding everything that has happened to me. I need to externalize the feelings I have stored up, to forgive myself. I must also realign myself in my way of living through all this and especially through my right to educate my children harmoniously after so many judgments. I am told that I have sunshine in my eyes every time I talk about my project. I have a clear vision of becoming a major player in water wear products. I am confident in my ability to manage the growth of my business. Having a winning formula right now and a strong and winning repositioning I know I can be proud of what I am accomplishing. It is not without physical and emotional hurt. I am at the point of processing this information. We are a global being when we build a business and my personal life had an impact on my professional situation due to lack of focus. My professional life of course also had an impact on my personal life. My personal life being more emotional than my professional life, I was at a certain point overwhelmed because I stopped seeing myself as a global being. I bypassed my significant emotional difficulties at one point, no longer treating myself as a whole. I wanted to build more before opening up, to wait for success before talking about it. That's what most entrepreneurs do. We often hear from successful people that they didn't have it easy. But when it happens during the course it is very taboo. The experience is always a great tool for introspection to go even further.

Thank you for accepting in a non-judgmental way all that I have just confided in you. Thank you for the connection I am developing with you through my business. Thank you for being a Hopalo customer, but please know that you are much more than a customer or a partner in my eyes.


  • Bravo Marie-Jo ! Tu es une femme courageuse et exemplaire !

  • Je t’ai suivie et t’ai vue grandir au travers de ta compagnie je sais que tu es forte et que tu ne te laisse pas abattre par l’adversité. Tu es une grande entrepreneure car tu as la mentalité d’une rêveuse. Bravo pour avoir ouvert ton blog et je suis contente d’être la première à poster un commentaire je t’aime maman ❤.


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