More than Entrepreneurship
Being an entrepreneur can mean so many different things for different people & as well can evolve within its manifestation.
Maison May has had many different iterations in the past 20 years that I have owned & run this business.
Located in the heart of Fort Greene, Brooklyn, it is a quaint event space nestled in a gorgeous historical brownstone in its latest form.
At heart, Maison May has been my ethical entrepreneurial atelier of some sort.
There, I have poured out my soul & visions and so much sweat & heartache while it provided revenues to sustain me & my children.
I learned to balance dreams with reality. It became a model of resilience, financial ingenuity & creativity.
As a business, it helped foster growth & transformation for countless people who came through its doors as employees & clients while maintaining integrity & equity.
Maison means “Home” in French
I have created a place where people feel that they are coming home, a place that is familiar & inviting, where, along with their guests, they feel welcome & at ease to gather & share meaningful life moments with honesty & integrity.
It is also where I gather people for retreats, circles & discussions.
It is a true extension of my home as much as it can be an extension of yours.
The initial principle was simple: I would not serve food to my clients that I would not feed my children. That was 20 years ago. Soon into the process, I detangled the power of food, its legacy, and how it comes to our tables in America. More than a healthy principle, it became an ethical one of tracing provenance to ensure that people who had produced that food along the way had been cared for.
Yet true sustainability for me became an exploration of the ability to sustain what was closer to me on all fronts: what is the point of serving “morally ethically produced food” if the business is not able to care equitably for its people (here, the staff – not the costumers).
The pandemic only furthered this belief: small businesses were asked to reopen before any vaccination was in place, and all the sudden, along with nurses & ICU personnel, restaurant workers were deemed essential workers, contained in thralled for the economy to “restart” & costumers to get their “entertainment.”
20 years later: Beyond a Classic Success
At every step over the past two decades, I have explored, shifted, and experimented with what it means to be an ethical entrepreneur, how to balance one’s vision & dream against the demands of the market, the financial realities I was facing in NYC as a solo entrepreneur & single parent & the profound transformations that the industry I knew required.
Defining success became a philosophical question most of the time, a concept I learned to never, ever measure by the amount of money in my bank account; instead, I grew to appreciate the humanity in all decisions & and how it fosters growth, transformations, contractions, abyssal losses & exponential gains on so many different fronts.
Maison May has had many different cycles, personalities & manifestations like a woman’s life, or at least mine.
Some 20 years later, its latest iteration is one of maturity, wisdom, and, ultimately, one immovable spirit & grace.
And even one of success in the most pedestrian way of looking at it.