It’s no secret that new mothers experience all sorts of new challenges, but shortly after delivering her first child in 2018, Ester Voon also found herself in a fashion dilemma: She had to choose between “dowdy” nursing clothing that makes breastfeeding easy and stylish clothing that makes breastfeeding tricky.
“As a business leader, I needed clothes that would empower me—this seemingly small detail can make a huge difference to women who have given so much of themselves for pregnancy and motherhood. One of the reasons why I suffered from mild postpartum depression then was due to the change of identity, which in turn greatly affected my milk supply,” she explains.
As such, the 32-year-old decided to launch her own line of maternity and nursing clothing. She started working on Alexiz full-time in August 2019 and at present handles the marketing, product design and operations while her husband takes care of the accounts.
Although the couple now has a team of five employees, Ester still makes it a point to personally try on each and every sample.
“This allows me to share end-user centric feedback with my designer, which helps us improve the functionality and thoughtfulness of our designs,” says the soon-to-be mother of three. She also prides herself on the versatility of the clothing.
“Many of our customers do not notice the zippers or access points in our designs until we point it out to them! We do not believe in fast fashion, so we come up with quality and timeless pieces that can give our customers more mileage. Our clothing can still be worn well after breastfeeding, and even by women who are not nursing at all.”
But while she has found success, she has had to navigate few bumps along the way.
“It wasn’t easy finding the right people for our team. We wanted to disrupt the current market and offer mothers better clothing alternatives that they didn’t even know exist yet! It can be overwhelming both mentally and physically.”
Worth every effort
Launching Alexiz took a leap of faith: Ester and her husband have poured more than $200,000 of their savings into the business so far and have had to make changes to their financial goals along the way.
“He intended to retire at 40 initially, but that plan got pushed back because we wanted to give the business the best shot we can. However, he has always given me full support to pursue what I envisioned,” she says.
But she has no regrets embarking on an entrepreneurial journey has taught her to better manage her time and celebrate the small wins.
“As a mother, you need to know how to steal time from the baby naps, feeds and playtime to reply to emails, write business plans, read reports and hop onto calls. I also make sure to carve out time with my kids every day, and on the weekends have date nights with my husband.”
“A message I’d share with fellow mothers is ‘your best is enough’. I strongly believe that our children do not need a perfect mummy, but a happy one. We can only take care of everything, including our family and business, if we take care of ourselves first. This revelation has brought so much hope, positivity and empowerment back to my life since becoming a mum.”