By Abigail Kor
If you are a parent on social media, chances are you would have come across Momiji Kids’ distinctive rattan bassinets or mini prams adorning the nurseries of your favourite mummy influencers. These handcrafted vintage-style rattan pieces have become increasingly popular, with parents being drawn to their design, functionality and the brand’s social mission. We speak to Ying, one-half of the husband and wife team behind Momiji Kids, to find out more about the company and how she juggles being a mom of two young children and a full-time entrepreneur.
Q: Hi, Ying! Tell us more about Momiji kids and its social mission.
At Momiji Kids, sustainability is a principle that we hold close to our hearts.
Working with rattan has taught us that, when cultivated sustainably, its usage vis-à-vis conventional wood does more good to the planet.
From a social standpoint, our partnership with craftsmen communities in Indonesia serves two purposes – firstly, the preservation of a craft that has been mastered over generations, and secondly, the provision of equal employment opportunities, regardless of gender, disability or social status.
As we scale up our operations and enter the next chapter of our business, we hope to remain true to being sustainable from a values perspective and as a commercial enterprise.
Q: What inspired you to start Momiji kids?
As cliché as it sounds, our children gave us the impetus to start Momiji Kids. Back when I was a new mom to my firstborn, we bought plenty of plastic toys and accessories that didn’t last long. By the time I was pregnant with our second child (Layla), I wanted something more sustainable. We wanted our children to appreciate quality over quantity by limiting purchases to a few naturally made toys. We also wanted to set an example for our children by being gentle on the environment. With this in mind, I started actively sourcing for sustainable kids’ toys and furniture.
During our babymoon, we stumbled upon an opportunity to meet up with a local craftsmen community in Indonesia. We liked what we saw and decided to take the plunge. The rest as you may know, is history. :)
Q: Tell us more about yourself and your husband. Do you guys run Momiji kids full-time?
We started out juggling our full-time jobs, alongside our business and family commitments. I started running Momiji Kids full-time last November; whereas Darren remains in Finance and helps me out with the administration, finance and logistics of Momiji Kids' fledgling operations.
We are blessed with two children, Luke (3.5 years) and Layla (11 months), who have been with us throughout our journey with Momiji Kids and are a constant source of inspiration. In fact, when Layla just turned 3 months, we brought them over to Indonesia to visit our craftsmen for the very first time!
Q: Please share some tips for managing your business as a mom. How do you carve out time for your kids while running your business?
Honestly, it hasn’t been easy juggling business and kids, and mom guilt doesn't make it easier.
Having a schedule and sticking to it helps - weekdays 6 to 10pm is the time I designate for being with the kids. I also do my best to put my phone/laptop down so that I can be fully present during that time.
Q: How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected your business and what have you done to tackle these issues?
It has been a difficult time for all and we are very thankful for the support of our friends, family and customers. Our shipment and new launches that were originally slated for Boutique Fairs and other events arrived during the circuit breaker, but we managed to shoot the product images from home and market them online and on our retailers’ websites. To keep our overheads low during this period, we manage most of our business activities in-house including our deliveries - which have been undertaken by Darren.
Q: What has been Momiji Kids' biggest success to date?
As a small local business, being recognized by established retailers such as Tangs, Motherswork, Boutiques Fair and Kris Shop means a lot to us. Seeing little ones happy with our pieces and hearing parents, grandparents and moms-to-be, tell us how much they love it, gives us great joy.
Q: What are your short-term and long-terms plans for the business?
We started as a husband and wife team serving a handful of customers, which has racked up to more than 500 as we speak. In the near future, we will focus our energies on our mission to deliver quality handcrafted toys and furniture sustainably while scaling up the business. Both Darren and I believe that if we keep our heads down and work on what we had set out in the beginning, there are no limits to where the long term holds!
Q: What's your best advice for a fellow mom looking to start her own business?
Take the plunge! It is no walk in the park but we want to inspire our kids to pursue their dreams and that being a mother doesn’t stop us from pursuing our passion.
More information about Momiji Kids