I’m really pleased to have Christine, founder of Human Nature Singapore, share her inspiring mumpreneur story with us. Christine was one of the first few mumpreneurs whom I connected with in the early days of this blog. She sent me a box of products including the kids’ natural shampoo and baby wash, and hand sanitizer, and I’ve been a loyal customer and fan of her products since then!
Read on to hear her story of how she transformed passion and opportunity into a socially-responsible and thriving business…
1. What gave you the courage or motivation to start your own business?
My kids are my greatest motivator. When I gave birth to my first daughter, I already knew that I would have to quit my job as an architect. As important as contributing to the household income in expensive Singapore and pursuing my career were, I suddenly felt these were not as important as spending time with my daughters and being there on their formative years. A mumpreneur friend nailed it when she said, “There is no replay button”.
I went part-time after the birth of my first daughter and then I went on extended maternity leave when I gave birth to my second daughter. This was when I chanced upon Human Nature, an affordable range of genuinely natural personal products. I believed then that I got ‘lucky’, which Oprah defines as “preparation meets opportunity”. I wasn’t tied up with work. I was on the lookout with an opportunity now to pursue.
Also, my older sister is a mumpreneur and so are a number of my friends. They inspired me that it’s possible. In this Internet age, you can definitely run a very successful business from home.
At the heart of it all, find your story.
2. What is your biggest setback so far and what lesson did you take away from it?
The biggest setback for me was losing a big chunk of start-up funds to ineffective marketing venues. It was a very expensive mistake and it took a lot of perseverance, optimism and creative juice to get us out of the pothole.
Lesson? Always do your research and any big decision deserves a good night sleep or two. I always say that passion and motivation alone won’t win the race. You have to clock in your mileage on research and learning new skills (whether in finance, marketing or networking) to stay relevant.
3. How did you balance managing a business and family?
In my experience, the word “balance” has become synonymous with “compromise”. I have this formula that out of 3 things – business, family and sleep, you can only add or do two at a time. So if I spend my time more on business and sleep for example, that means I’m not spending enough time with my family. And if I try to be a supermom and juggle both business and family, I’m definitely losing out on sleep!
This formula does not even include “me” time or social life. So you can be sure that’s almost non-existent! (Haha! Well, that’s how you get things done.) The good news is, they say the crazy juggling slows down after 3 years. When your kid is no longer attached to your breast (we are still nursing at 3 years old!) and your business has hopefully stabilized (with the help of a staff now).
If kids want to play, then they have to help so that mommy can finish up early.
4. Do you involve your children/spouse in the business? What have they learnt from it?
Oh yeah for sure. Any mumpreneur business is a family business by default. In fact, it is not voluntary but rather compulsory. Haha!
If kids want to play, then they have to help so that mommy can finish up early. If mommy needs to work extra hours, daddy has to look after the kids. Whatever dad is good at, he can use those skills in the business too. Every time and resource is valuable.
The main lesson here is that every member of the family helps. We are a team that works together.
Moms are indispensable at work. We are output-oriented, we can multi-task, and we mean business!
5. What would you say to a fellow mum who’s starting out on her own?
You can do it. I actually believe now that moms are indispensable at work. We are focused – we don’t waste time as every minute counts. We can achieve so much in a limited time. We are output-oriented, we can multi-task, and we mean business (excuse the pun)!
At the heart of it all, find your story. Everyone has a story to tell. Meaningful businesses have stories to tell, and a mother with a business is one of the most beautiful stories for me. It is a business born out of love and personal touch.
That’s the beginning. The beginning of sleepless nights and endless frustrations, but also the beginning of a happy and purposeful life.
Thank you, Christine, for inspiring us with your story!