Singapore Mum Builds Six-Figure Business With Just $2,000. How?
Singapore Mum Builds Six-Figure Business With Just S$2,000. How?
Having kids doesn’t come cheap. According to NUS economists in 2018, the cost to raise a child in Singapore is estimated to be between S$280,000 and S$560,000, depending on household income. From the get-go, you have to make decisions about the right formula, diaper brand etc. And for working mums who are breastfeeding - the right type of pump.
One local mum turned her experience and challenge finding an affordable breast pump into a business opportunity. With S$2,000, straight out of her kids’ savings, she started a breast pump brand that now rakes in a six-figure annual revenue. To find out more, Rachel Kelly spoke to Stacy Chow, Founder, Baby Express on The Afternoon Update.
Rachel Kelly: Let’s talk about the business. What was the catalyst that made you take that leap of faith and decide that you were going to launch Baby Express?
Stacy Chow: I did plan to head back to the workforce once I had recovered from giving birth, but I was always wondering how I was supposed to be able to breastfeed and work at the same time. Back in 2018, I found myself looking around for a portable breast pump in Singapore but to no avail - which I believed was something that a working mother would need. I happened to meet up with a few suppliers and manufacturers, where we got on and that was how things really started - my own business of making breast pumps. We were fortunate as the local market was lacking them then, creating this fantastic opportunity for us to grow rapidly. We worked with a factory to conceptualise some designs for us and we fine-tuned from there, making it as practical as possible for working mothers.
Rachel: So what’re you offering currently? Are you expanding your product portfolio as well?
Stacy: We launched Baby Express - a portable and wireless breast pump with no obstructive wires - in August 2019. It is hands-free and very quiet. As many offices do not have a lactation room, working mothers can then pump from their desks, during meetings and just about anywhere. In terms of portfolio, we have extended slightly this year because we realised that the market not just wants a product, where you can get it from anywhere, but an experience and a guide. That’s also partly why I took up marketing courses to understand how the market works, a lactation consultant course and a postpartum doula course - even though I wasn’t from an entrepreneurial background. We’ll be able to assist our users and guide them on the right breastfeeding journey. We also have the essentials that a breastfeeding mum would need.
Rachel: I think it is important to enjoy the convenience of having a comfortable pump even when you’re sitting at your desk, and not carrying around something big and chunky - especially when you’re balancing a baby, a laptop and a pump at the same time. What were some of the key challenges that you faced? What was sales like in the beginning compared to now?
Stacy: The biggest challenge was not really understanding how to run a business properly. It was really something that I chanced upon with lots of opportunities and help from many great people to get started on the journey. In the beginning, it wasn’t that great because we were not a pioneer in the market as there were others available overseas, but our primary goal was to create something affordable yet reliable. We started off selling about less than 50 pumps a week to about 500 currently.
Rachel: What are some of the key lessons you’ve learnt that you’re able to share with the mothers out there who may be thinking of a career shift or want to start a business of their own - without neglecting their kids too?
Stacy: It’s not the easiest with 4 kids and an active business. The good thing is that the business runs on a flexible schedule so that’s one way to manage my priorities. Another lesson that I’ve learnt is to really stand in the shoes of a consumer to see if the product really helps. I think it’s very easy to own a product nowadays but the main problem is left to wonder how this product is going to integrate into people’s lives.
Listen to the full podcast on Awedio: SPH's free digital audio streaming service, as Stacy shared more on how she turned S$2,000 in savings into a breast pump brand that now brings in six-figures in annual revenue.
Download the podcast.
For more, tune in to The Afternoon Update on weekdays from 1PM to 4PM.
This interview was broadcasted on MONEY FM 89.3 on 5 August 2022.
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