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At Home with Mommy Treats Owner Paola Loot-Bronfman

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Photos by Kitkat Pajaro

Words by Margarita Buenaventura

When Paola Loot-Bronfman first moved into her Ortigas condo, she was met with more than just the task of packing boxes—she had to deal with heartbreak, too. “The dad of my first daughter broke up with me a month after we moved in,” shares Paola. “I was devastated.”

But the mom of two quickly turned things around, and soon saw the brighter side of having her own space. “I used it as an opportunity to make the space exactly my own,” says Paola. “I built it up with my business in mind. I knew that the maid’s room would be a utility and stock room, and I upgraded to a better oven.”

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The business that Paola speaks of is Mommy Treats, a largely online enterprise that creates lactation cookies to encourage the production of breast milk. From creating her own brownie recipe that includes fenugreek, Paola has turned her single mom condo into a successful business hub. She now bakes cookies, muffins, and macarons delivered to expecting and new moms.

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At the moment, Paola lives in Makati with her husband and their kids, while the business operates in her former home. But she still enjoys visiting her old condo once in a while, if only to enjoy the breathtaking view. “I really love this place because it’s so me,” says Paola as The Start took a tour of her bedroom. “I really put it all together myself. It’s just nice to come back and be reminded of that.”

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DOMESTIC DIVA

When Paola started putting her condo together, she was certain that it should have a distinct point of view. “At first I wanted a very clean, hotel-ish look,” says Paola of the decorating process. “But then I wanted a sort of manly but not so masculine abode, ‘cause I imagine his girlfriend moves in and adds plants or something!”

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Not much fond of synthetic plants, Paola would make it a point to bring in the real thing instead. “I had an herb garden there before. Oregano grows really well. It just grew and grew until it started crawling all over the place,” recalls Paola. “The rest… like the terragon and rosemary, they just died!”

“I realized that I can’t grow stuff,” she adds with a laugh. “Good thing my husband has a green thumb. Thanks to him, I know now what plants are suitable indoors. So we balance each other out.”

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BOSS WOMAN

What Paola does know a lot of is how to run a successful business—in fact, she admits that Mommy Treats may have surpassed her initial expectations. “I was just breastfeeding my first daughter then, and I read about how fenugreek is good for increasing milk supply,” explains Paola of her burgeoning business. “I was like one of those Martha Stewart people who give cookies as gifts (laughs). Then people started making orders!”

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“It’s still from home, it still has that homey touch,” says Paola of the growth of Mommy Treats. “But honestly, it still scares me. I have a feeling that I’m stunting the growth of Mommy Treats. I think it has to run in a different commissary on its own, with more people. But my husband is an expat from the States. What if we move? I don’t want to start something and leave it bigla.

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SUPER MOM

But if she would indeed set up shop somewhere, Paola would like to expand from simply baking lactation pastries. She plans on creating a café that would encourage moms to rest and relax for a few hours. “You know, moms have the most unhealthy lifestyle, because they tend to forget to take care of themselves when they’re caring for their family,” says Paola. “I really want a place where they can feel at home and comfortable despite their busy schedules.”

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WELLNESS SAGE

Juggling a full time business and raising a family certainly takes up a chunk of one’s day, and Paola is no exception. Still, she emphasizes that all moms should still enjoy Me Time, and in regularity. “I had a phase when I would just get an hour of Me Time a week, and I was happy. But then, life happens and you just have so many things to accomplish, so you binge on it. And you still feel super stressed, because it’s not consistent,” explains Paola. “You can reap the benefits of Me Time is if you do it consistently. Even if it’s just 30 minutes a day or a week, as long as you make it a part of your routine, I think you can really enjoy it.”

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