Photos: Instagram/tjinlee, jaim, lepetitsociety
It’s never easy being a mother. Ask any mother (or even your own) and they’ll tell you that it’s all an intricate juggling act involving a ton of responsibilities, sleepless nights and sacrifice.
But being a mother and an entrepreneur is even more difficult. As the adage goes, creating a business is easy but keeping a business alive is hard — in fact, some might say it’s a gruelling, unpredictable uphill battle. That is why we are giving a shout out to local mothers who have successful crafted a business of their own and who are also a strong powerful woman, both in their homes and out. Plus, these women create (or are involved in creating) fashionable clothing for other mothers and children, to empower them with style and confidence so they can conquer life. How can we say no to that?
Read on to find out more about these six amazing women.
1. Robyn Liang of Le Petit Society
Noticing a lack in the market for affordable and well-made apparel for children, Robyn Liang and her then-boyfriend, now-husband Dylan Ong quit their high paying jobs in the finance sector — Robyn was at Goldman Sachs while Dylan dealt with equities — and founded Le Petit Society in 2012. It was quite a big risk, considering it was an area that they had zero expertise in.
Their tenacity eventually paid off: The baby and kids clothing brand continued to grow in its size and clothing offerings, thanks to the couple holding steadfast to their ethos on producing well-crafted and thoughtful designs. A self-confessed workaholic and perfectionist, Robyn still manages to set aside Fridays to spend quality time with her family.
Le Petit Society now caters to children from newborn to 12-years old and has expanded into physical retail with their flagship located in Paragon Shopping Centre. They are also stocked in Maggie & Rose in Hong Kong.
Shop here: https://lepetitsociety.com/
2. Dr Fock Ee-ling of I Want The Missing Piece
Juggling three kids and a thriving fashion label is no mean feat, but Dr Fock Ee-ling (she has a doctorate in medicine) seems to be managing just fine. Despite having no design background, Ee-ling’s I Want The Missing Piece came as a result of her sourcing for fabrics to fuel her childhood passion for sewing while she was at home caring for her children.
She had felt a little lost without a full-time career, and she started making little collections for friends and family in order to fill the void and explore her creativity and passion. Now celebrating its third year anniversary, the brand has grown from strength to strengthm and countssinger Joanna Dong, PR maven Tjin Lee and influencer Andrea Chong as fans.
What sets her label apart are her thoughtful designs that include handpicked fabrics that are suitable for Singapore’s climate and cut-out designs that help conceal the tummy area while flattering the feminine body.
Shop here: https://iwantthemissingpiece.com/
3. Tjin Lee of Singapore Fashion Week
You might recognise Tjin Lee for spearheading a social campaign Life Beyond Grades that champions the importance of holistic development beyond academic grades. But besides having her own PR and events company Mercury Marketing & Communications, Tjin was also the organiser behind the Singapore Fashion Week till 2017. The Fashion Week served as a platform for local and international designers, such as Jason Wu and Lai Chan, to showcase their creations, much like similar events held around the world.
A mum to two young sons, her start into the fashion world began when she worked at local multi-label boutique Club 21 under owner Christina Ong and later discovered that Singapore’s fashion scene had much room for growth. Driven by her passion for fashion, she went on to start Mercury, and the rest is history.
Mercury has handled multiple projects for fashion brands, including Burberry, Michael Kors and Victoria’s Secret, as well as for lifestyle and F&B brands too. Moreover, Tjin also gives back to society by supporting female entrepreneurship through social enterprise Crib that creates a network of support and opportunities for fellow entrepreneurs.
4. Jaime Lee of The Paper Bunny
If you’re in the mood for shopping for a new notebook, framed prints sporting inspirational quotes, or perhaps a tote or a pair of new earrings to complete your look, The Paper Bunny is a place for you. Founded by former lawyer Jaime Lee in 2013, The Paper Bunny offers lifestyle products made with contemporary designs and positivity.
Jaime, who has a son, first discovered graphic design and started dabbling with wedding stationery. The brand started after she took the plunge to set up her own label to create products that she felt had a greater impact on people’s lives. She also credits her law training for helping her navigate tricky contractual details and to be more meticulous and clear in her work and communication.
Jaime’s quirky vantage point and sleek aesthetic has earned her a fan base and she has even collaborated with brands including Starbucks, W Hotels and Sephora. Now, The Paper Bunny has grown and counts international locations in Australia, Vietnam and South Africa as stockists.
Shop here: https://www.thepaperbunny.com/
5. Carol Ng of Elly
Photo: The Straits Times
When her sister Audrey Ng (right) was living overseas in Britain, Carol Ng (far left) would ask Audrey to buy children’s clothing from labels there, so she could bring them home for her nieces.
Prompted by the lack of stylish apparel for kids, the sisters, who were both former lawyers, decided to pool their savings, quit their jobs and start Elly in 2010. The sisters also take a hands-on approach, designing the products they sell as well as sourcing and designing the prints and fabrics they use.
Their hard work soon paid off as they broke even two years after the brand started. While they began with only four designs for girls, the label has since expanded and now retails clothings for boys as well. They have also opened a physical store in Cluny Court since 2012 and sells toys, artwork and footwear for kids too.
Shop here: https://www.theellystore.com/
6. Suhana Ab of Maison Q
Children grow up fast, which means that their clothing quickly gets replaced after just a few wears. Former journalist Suhana Ab realised this fact because while she loved playing dress up with her children, she found that her kids hardly wore their new clothes before not being able to fit into them anymore.
To remedy this costly phenomenon, Suhana created Maison Q with an ingenious method to allow more wears per piece: Reversible clothing. The mother of two has created onesies, dresses and other outfits for both boys and girls that can be flipped to show off a different pattern.
For example, this Hilary dress from the S/S’19 collection features a striped print on one side and a floral print on the other. Your kid got a stain? Flip the dress over and hide it till you can get home to wash it off. Genius.
Shop here: https://maison-q.com/