We had the good fortune of connecting with Marianne Tissot and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Marianne, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Six years ago, when I moved to the US, I realized that all my certifications, training and work experience were effectively worthless. I was born and raised in Colombia and before I came here I was a therapist with my own practice. Instinctively I rejected the notion that I was somehow “invalid” as a professional because my career had not happened in America and I decided to rebuild my practice in a way that felt authentic. I went back to school and got certified as a Wellness Coach. I knew my calling was to provide a financially accessible, sex positive, trauma informed space to promote mental health and I had to find a way to financially support that project. Enter my vintage store, Found Fauna. Thanks to my Vintage store, I am now able to support myself and my practice , while providing extremely low cost services to folks who otherwise would not be able to access them. When folks purchase their goods at Found Fauna, they are also helping other humans heal and thrive.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
It was a long road full of strange turns to get to where I am today. A week before I started college, my then boyfriend was shot by a hitman. It was a freak coincidence: he had the same name and last name as the person the guy had been hired to kill. It was a matter of wrong place, wrong time. Thankfully he lived, but it was, needless to say, an extremely traumatic awakening to the harsh realities of the troubled country I grew up in. Six months after that I was in an extremely serious car accident. By the end of 2005 I was a completely different person to the proud idealist punk rock teenager I used to be, I was utterly lost and numb, full of guilt and self doubt. Trauma was not a thing we discussed back then, so I sort of carried it with me quietly, in the back of my head. It manifested in unexpected ways that I didn’t understand until much, much later. I studied psychology partly as a way to understand what was going on inside me. Training was very thorough and required hours upon hours of work experience. I started out working with displaced migrants in the slums of Bogota, then I got a job at a pediatric oncology ward. It changed me on a molecular level. When I graduated and completed the requirements to obtain my license I took a year to think of my next move. I wanted it to feel true to who I was. Eventually I obtained a scholarship from Boston university to get a Master’s Degree in Public Health. I concentrated on sexual and reproductive health. We talked about gender, sex, birth , porn , abortion, love, loss , feminism, white supremacy and I realized that this is was my calling. Boston itself was a life changing experience: I fell in love and out of love, I faced and experienced the raw wounds and hopelessness of my generation (so called “elder millennials”) , I discovered I was stronger and smarter and more open-minded than I ever thought possible, and I came home full of hope , excited to start my career in my country. When I went back home to Colombia I had a harsh reality check. Finding a job was almost impossible in a context where success depends more on who you know than what you know. Eventually I found work as a therapist in an NGO that was the Colombian equivalent of Planned Parenthood. My job was to hold a safe space for hundreds of women who were having abortions as well as to perform rapid HIV tests on folks and give them the results. I heard so many stories, saw so many different perspectives. Eventually my husband (who is an American) and I decided to come live in the US so he could get a graduate degree, but as soon as we arrived I realized I had effectively sacrificed my career because none of my experience, license and certifications as a psychologist were valid here and In order to be able to practice, I would have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and go back to school to start from scratch. Instinctively I rebelled against this idea, which seemed especially far fetched in a country that is facing such a huge crisis in terms of availability of trained professionals and access to mental health services. I found a workaround by joining a program at Georgetown University and getting certified as health and wellness coach. This way, I can still apply my skills and knowledge base to support humans in their mental health journey. I knew from the start that I wanted to offer easy access, low rate services to underserved , at-risk folks. I started my vintage business Found Fauna as a way to finance Juicyflower.me , my Wellness Coaching practice. Through this business model , I have been able to keep my rates accessible and my schedule flexible in order to meet the needs of an ever-growing and diverse client base. I am privileged to have a strong , supportive family that stood by me every step of the way. The key to overcoming every challenge was to let go of any ideas and preconceptions I had of how things “should” be and adapt to how they truly were. My mother always says , “ok, so plan A didn’t work , what is plan B, plan C , plan D…” Creativity , great customer service, high standards and attention to detail were key in building both my businesses. My brands reflect exactly who I am, and I am very proud of that.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live in Kensington MD, at the outskirts of DC. I am a huge enthusiast of Brutalist architecture and modern art . My all-time favorite spot in this area is the Hirshhorn museum. I have a fascination with the darker side of humanity AND with vintage books, so the next day we would take a day trip to Philly, eat at the Reading Terminal Market and explore Eastern State Penitentiary. As a lover of vintage and nostalgia I also love to visit Ellicott city MD and enjoy its variety of huge labyrinthine ,vintage stores. I also absolutely cherish driving to Annapolis and getting lost in her beautiful quaint streets.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
To my Mother, my Father and my Husband, for their relentless, fierce and unconditional support.

Website: https://www.etsy.com/shop/FoundFauna
Instagram: found_fauna
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marianne-tissot-52733811b
Other: www.juicyflower.me (my website for therapy and wellness coaching services)

Image Credits
Both Logos were designed and created by Illustrator Gel Jamlang

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