Happy International Women’s Day! Today, we celebrate the incredible accomplishments and successes of women from all walks of life. Whether you are a stay-at-home mom, a working professional, or a boss-babe that juggles family and business, it's time to recognize and honor the hard work that has brought you to where you are today! In honor of this special day, we sat down with Amy Tang, co-founder of The Wee Bean, for a heart-to-heart conversation on her experiences as a momtrepreneur. Follow us through this article, where Amy recounts her childhood memories and shares valuable lessons gained from building her own brand.
1. What were your thoughts when you first started your business while being a mother?
Definitely not that I was going to give up my career in financial services and become a momtrepreneur! The journey really started with pure curiosity to understand our own daughter's severe eczema.
"Having no prior knowledge of running a business, I initially felt nervous and anxious being completely out of my comfort zone."
There was a lot of sweat and tears poured into the creation of The Wee Bean, but the amount of laughter, self-discovery, inspiration from our own kids, and wins as a team with my partner really helped push me forward to build the business as it is now.
2. What was your dream as a little girl?
To become a pastry chef or a teacher! I really enjoyed the therapeutic nature of baking and creating things that put a smile on everyone's faces.
And because I grew up in an immigrant family in Canada, my mom would have me come home to teach her everything I learned in school.
I now get to do both of these things with our own little family, so my childhood dreams did come true!
3. Who is the most inspiring woman to you?
My mom, for sure. As a child, I watched my mom constantly on the go, juggling work with 3 kids. Having immigrated to a new country, there was so much she had to navigate and learn, but she managed to tackle obstacle after obstacle, all while wearing a big smile on her face. No matter how much work she and my dad had, they always made time for us at dinners and family days. Thinking back as a parent now, the workload and pressures on them must be immense.
"My mom showed me what good work ethics look like. Through her, I learnt that nothing happens if you don't work for it."
My mom was the one who taught me that at the end of the day, putting effort and time into creating a strong family unit is the most important.
4. How have you been able to empower other women through your business?
Our brand was born from the need to create worry-free products for moms, so that they can have one less item in their diaper bags and ultimately one less thing to think about! Throughout our journey, we've been lucky to have come across some amazing organisations to partner with, such as Hathay Bunano P.S, and Refugee Union.
Through our fair-trade doll project with Hathay Bunano, women from rural Bangladesh are able to attain sustainable income streams by making handicraft.
We also started a new initiative with the Refugee Union, which supports refugee families in Hong Kong, a lot of which consist of women and young children who ran away from critical turmoil back home. Most people aren't aware that these refugees can’t work with their status, so we hope to spread awareness and drive for donations of necessities for their survival.
Aside from our charity partners, our business also comprises a group of amazing women around the world with different backgrounds. As a woman myself, I fully appreciate the constant juggling that's required. and our goal is really to have wonderful people with us on our growth journey and be able to support each other in other aspects of life.
5. What is something you're proud of as a momtrepreneur?
Each year has come with new difficulties and with the tackling of these issues, it's consistently led to more learning and self-discovery. There is a lot of proactiveness required in starting your own business, needing to take initiative to step outside of your comfort zone and to constantly learn to challenge yourself. Combined with the past several years of COVID and having two young children, I'm very proud of the growth I've had as a woman and entrepreneur.
6. What is the biggest challenge being a female entrepreneur in Hong Kong?
I feel the biggest struggle for a female entrepreneur is the number of hats a woman wears - mom, wife, sister, daughter, daughter-in-law, friend and on top of this entrepreneur. Each role comes with various social expectations, and it's never easy balancing business and family life.
7. How do you balance your responsibilities as a mom and an entrepreneur?
It's always a juggling act!
"One thing I've learned along the way is that there is no perfect balance. Some days you might miss out on time with your kids for work opportunities, and others it might be the opposite."
Ultimately, it's about prioritising and letting go of “mom-guilt”, the feeling that you might not be doing enough for your children, which many working women experience.
For me, it helps to stay organised. I use a color-coded calendar to plan for each month’s activity. This locks in my time for both kids' activities, classes and important dates for school. Then, I plan my work schedule around this accordingly. Each night, I also take 5 minutes just to run through tomorrow's schedule and prepare everything needed ahead of time. People say it takes a village to raise a child, and the same really goes for starting your own business!
Lastly, my family and husband’s support goes a long way! They help me achieve the balance I need for all my roles but also to make time for self care.
8. Do you have any must-have items as a momtrepreneur?
1) Support Network of Family & Friends
They can help you with managing the kid's schedules but also it's great to have someone as a sounding board.
2) A Scheduling App
Definitely necessary to help you juggle multiple priorities and so you can also multitask during in-between times to get things checked off the list!
3) Dedicated Workspace
Just because your hours aren't traditional, it doesn't mean you don't need a dedicated space to be productive. Create a home office or rent a private space that's organised. This way there won't be kids knocking at your door and you can focus during your work time.
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