This year’s International Women’s Day, theme is #EmbraceEquity. And one of the best ways to do so is by creating opportunities and by giving tools to women to be able to rise above and beyond where they started from.
To mark this momentous day and embrace the spirit of #EmbraceEquity; Parents World spoke to 4 gritty risers, 4 inspiring mumpreneurs who have claimed their place under the sun and are eager to inspire other mothers to do the same.
These enterprising women have been supported by Her Rise Above, a Singapore-based non-profit organization which empowers women from low-income backgrounds to start home-based businesses, thus enabling them to contribute to their family income and gain financial independence.
Meet Our 4 Inspiring Mums:
- Tiwik Indriaty Ismadi – Tiwik Home Spa, Instagram: Tiwik_homespa
Tiwik, started her own beauty spa in Woodlands offering facials, lash lifting, and other beauty services – Tiwik Spa to look after her family and manage her time better.
Lonnie who moved to Singapore from Denmark is a single mother. She started her home business to sustain her family, while being present for her daughters. Her venture, Danish Delights specializes in Danish-style gluten-free cakes and brownies.
- Esther Moushmi Chandralal – Shanalicious, Instagram: : shana_licious
Esther, a single mum started her business to support her family. Her venture Shanalicious specialises in an array of sweets and savoury treats. Esther hopes to open her own cafe one day.
- Rafidah Kamarudin- Kam’s Kitchen, Instagram: Kam_skitchen
Through her venture, Kam’s Kitchen, Rafidah sells affordable bento boxes and party platters for workers and offices. Rafidah is also a single mum who fought tenaciously against all odds to set up her business.
Q1. What is your business’s USP?
- Tiwik: Our cosy and homey environment. When I set up my home spa, my top priority was to make sure that my customers feel at home and relaxed as soon as they arrive. A few customers have even told me they forget that they are in my home and not in an actual spa as soon as they’re on the facial table! We also use spa-grade devices and all-natural products to ensure the best experience. We are additionally conveniently located near public transport.
- Lonnie: I bake cakes inspired by my Danish heritage adapted to Singaporeans’ taste as well as gluten free cakes. What is unique is the fusion between cultures, as well as the high-quality ingredients and the high degree of customisation in terms of flavour, appearance, and my bakes can also be personalised to suit different dietary needs.
- Esther: Shanalicious focuses on fusion tea time snacks and traditional tarts with unique twists such as ondeh ondeh tarts, red velvet tarts.
- Rafidah: We specialise In Malay, Traditional, and Local Food. We also do customised orders for our customers. Our food is quality, tasty and affordable.
Q2. How did you successfully balance motherhood and running a business?
- Tiwik: Having a supportive family is the most important when running your own business. I am grateful that my husband and 2 children have been incredibly encouraging since I decided to do this full-time and have graciously welcomed my customers into our home. I also set clear boundaries and keep my evenings and Sundays free to spend with my family, especially after a busy week.
- Lonnie: The most important thing is to have determination to help the business grow no matter how taxing the daily work may be and despite the potential setbacks. My love for baking and love for my children are both incredibly empowering to me and help me to persevere and give my all for both of them.
- Esther: I have been a sole breadwinner for the past five years and still going on, it is challenging yet fulfilling. “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you” is the motto of my life. Sometimes it gets hard but being resilient on bad days and having faith that everything turns out better than my imagination helps me to provide and simply bless my children. Every mother wants the best for her kids. My passion is baking so I have had to master the art of multitasking and proper time management to successfully balance my family and business.
- Rafidah: Always be positive. My children have been very thoughtful and helpful so I can focus on my business. We also make sure to spend time together after each order is completed.
Q3. What (or who) helped you overcome the biggest challenge in your entrepreneurial journey?
- Tiwik: My family, Hope, Daughters of Tomorrow and Her Rise Above. They have supported me in so many ways during my entrepreneurial journey, which made it easier for me to overcome the challenges I initially faced with setting up my own business.
- Lonnie: As a single mother I want to support my children and they are my biggest motivators. In addition to my own determination to power my business forward, the Daughters of Tomorrow programme and Her Rise Above, including my mentor, encouraged me to develop the willpower to strive on whenever I faced any difficulties.
- Esther: Challenges of knowing nothing. The Her Rise Above team which includes Sapna, Dimple, Abigail, and Daughters of Tomorrow guided me step by step with their knowledge and experience. Samantha was my encouraging cheerleader and helped me clear my self doubt. I had to overcome the fear of failure to start believing that my bakes would be appreciated by people.
- Rafidah: Her Rise Above has been the biggest support to me. They are always there to support Kam’s Kitchen. Additionally, my family, especially my two kids who have Been really understanding of my passion for and commitment to cooking. My friends have also been very supportive through my journey.
Q4. What is the one piece of advice you would give to fellow mums setting up their own ventures?
- Tiwik: It is never too late to follow your dreams. Always believe in yourself and surround yourself with positive people. Grow your connections and never give up.
- Lorrie: You are capable of much more than you can imagine.
- Esther: The Motherhood journey touches every mom in a unique way. Some may feel profoundly altered, as if they were shaken up and have to settle back into place in a brand new way. Others have described this transition as a rebirth, while some have been stunned by the complete shift in focus from self to other. The possibilities are endless, but none of us emerges unaffected, and the changes continue throughout this beautiful journey. Through this remarkable Motherhood journey, I discovered my passion, realised what I was capable of, stopped overthinking, and pursued what I love to do. Anywhere passion is, it will never fail you.
- Rafidah: Follow your dreams, always be positive, and be happy.
Q5. What does International Women’s Day theme for the year #EmbraceEquity mean to you?
- Tiwik: To me, equity is fairness. It is the action of giving individuals what they need to be successful. There are people who do not have the same opportunities as others. People may be starting at different places in their life. Hence, to #EmbraceEquity, is to shed light that we should be giving and doing more to help individuals who do not have the same access and have to start further behind, instead of giving everyone the same amount resources to reach their goal.
- Lonnie: It is a great message that means more people, like your readers, are caring about people who might not have the same opportunities as others. This also means more people supporting small home based businesses!
- Esther: It means a lot of things but being able to speak up when needed, speak against sensitive comments, give everyone a voice. Particularly to women as we all go through different things and that is what makes us unique women in the finest way.
- Rafidah: We have the right to defend and speak up, not just for ourselves, but (for others). It is important to be respectful and not judge others by what or who they are.
Let’s support our tenacious and inspiring mums by giving a thumbs up to their ventures and take our turn at #EmbracingEquity!