Motherhood is a demanding role. Ask any mother and she will attest to this life-changing chapter which unfolds the moment a child comes into this world. Unlike other jobs, this is a lifelong career which has no time for probation assessments nor classes where you can pick up 100% for the actual practical of what’s to come – because nothing is ever certain as each child is different yet the same. It’s a learning journey regardless of your child’s age.
Time is always hankered after. Taking care of a toddler and newborn without any extra help seems like no mean feat, but this momma takes it in her stride while juggling a full time job and trying her hands at starting a distributor business – Totsworld Pte Ltd – with her husband.
More recently, her business celebrated its first anniversary, and we looked back and realized how fast time has past! In fact, we first met this svelte mummy at Vera’s first media event! Qiqi Low remains unfazed with the busy times and yet looks impeccably put together. We are excited to pick up some tips on how she does it all and here’s what she has shared – read on!
1) Hi Qiqi! Can you share what your profession is?
I’m a trained nurse, currently working in Singapore National Eye Centre as a Patient Experience / Development Officer, my role is to counsel patients who are going for various types of eye surgeries, getting feedback and improving the experience of patients’ who stay in the hospital.
2) Do you enjoy your current job? Why do you wish to explore entrepreneurship?
Yes I do! I love my nursing job very much. I love educating patients on their conditions, and talking to them!
I started my business when I was pregnant with my first daughter. Was hoping that one day or hopefully, before she starts primary school I can become a WAHM (Work at Home Mum), taking care of them and at the same time receiving some form of income. It is good to have an extra income to prepare for rainy days, and at the same time, working and still connecting with the social world which helps in communicating with my kids when they grow up.
3) You’ve mentioned that you love children and hope to have more. How do you juggle a toddler, a newborn, day job and a growing biz? Do share your tips!
Yes, I love children and hope to have 4 (if possible) hahaha. I don’t have a helper so I follow a routine. My kids are trained to go to bed by 830pm to 9pm, so by 10pm when they are asleep, I can do my stuff like housework or business. I’m glad my hubby is helping me and is supportive all this while, because it is not an easy job to keep kids on a routine as the adults have to be disciplined too!
I know that I was not going to stop at one child, so I trained my eldest girl to be independent. A simple example like helping out with household chores even though it will take longer and even if I ended up doing more work. I will still insist on her helping out with the work and doing it. This way, it gives her a sense of control and responsibility, and with that, I can manage my second daughter with ease and that will reduce the chances of jealously between them. All these really help me a lot, especially if I have to pump every 4-6hrly, and since we keep to a “no computer or work stuff when with kids” arrangement, therefore sticking to a routine is definitely good for me, ensuring that I have a proper rest too. Having said that, to be honest, there are times where my girls are cranky, we are so dead tired and I just fall asleep with my makeup on!
As for weekends, we will bring both our kids out for delivery and to the warehouse. The warehouse is my girl’s new playground! Had a good discussion with my hubby, we felt that even though we need time for our growing business, our growing kids need us too! So both of us have no issues bringing our kids around for work. I’ve even brought my 3 month old baby for a 4 days Baby Expo Fair, where we were standing all day to promote baby products from Kidsme, Duux, 5 Phases and Blooming Bath! Because of this, I feel that my elder daughter is more independent than I expected.
And my Samsung handphone is my best friend; because it’s small and handy, I can work on-the-go or during my lunch break. Of course, there are some restrictions but it is good enough for me to communicate with my clients, customers, emails and other social media platforms like Totsworld Facebook.
4) How has starting your own business changed you as a person?
I should say, I have become stronger and firmer than before, and have grown thicker skin! It is not easy to negotiate a business, I am not very good in this area, honestly, my stronger points are in educating and product knowledge. I always seek help from my husband who is in the sales line for more than 10 years. He will help me to negotiate for deals and slowly, I’ll step in to take over. It is still a learning process for me but I believe I can improve on that. It also helps me to discover another side of me, like I didn’t know I can be quite good with graphic design!
We’ve also created our own brand, Mitera, which means “mother” in Greek. Mitera fuses fashionable trends, quality, functionality and safety to offer affordable breastpump and cooler bags and strollers for parents. As a mother, my experience allows me to think of practical products that are useful for mummies and not just sell any random products. Likewise for the Taiwanese brand, Simba Baby, which we have recently received distributorship rights for, we try out their products (my girls are real life product testers, haha!) before deciding on what to bring in.
5) Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I hope by then I’m already a WAHM! My distribution business is stable. I want to take some courses and hope to organize some workshops or talks, focusing on baby/toddlers and their eating habit.
6) With so many things on hand and limited time, can you share your secrets to looking good?
You must be vain enough in order to push yourself to look good! In the beginning, I’ve to admit it’s tough, looking after kids and trying to apply make-up. I used to carry my girl in one hand and do my make-up with the other. Now that she is older, I get her to sit beside me, pass her some toys while I do my make-up. With some practice over a few months, you will master the art of finishing a simple make-up in 10mins.
Of course there are also times where I just want to dress down with no make-up. I have always believed that dressing up is for yourself, it will boost your self-esteem and confidence. Do not dress up for others, it will be easier. You do not have to stand in front of the mirror for 30mins to doll yourself up. Just drawing a simple eyebrow or eyeliner can help improve your appearance so you don’t look sick or pale. Choose bright coloured clothes which suits your skin colour and you are good to go!
7) Any tips for busy mothers who a frantically trying to find time for themselves?
For working mums, if you really don’t have a helper to help you out, apply leave from work, even half a day is good enough. Arrange for facial, spa, shopping spree or have high tea with your girlfriend. Once in a while, I will also take half a day off from work to go out with my husband for a short movie or shopping while the kids are in school.
As for SAHM, I feel that the hubby plays an important role to help to keep the sanity in mothers and to keep your marriage life healthy. Discuss with each other, start from 2-3hrs and slowly increase the hours for daddy and baby to spend time together. Do not just throw the baby to your husband for more than half a day during the first attempt; he might be too shocked and refuse to do it again.
8) What is your life motto?
Holding tight to your dreams, you will be able to walk confidently.
~~EXCLUSIVE PERKS FOR READERS!!~~
Enjoy 5% off for every purchase at TOTSWORLD!
Discount code: HOOTINGPOST5
Good till: 31 Jan 2016
T&Cs: Not applicable for sale items and not in conjunction with other promotional codes.
It’s nice to have a supportive husband to help out with the family. Afterall, parenthood is for both husband and wife, a 2-person responsibility. Being able to live your dreams makes life more fulfilling and meaningful. For Qiqi, her multi-tasking skills have probably spiraled a zillion folds as compared to her singleton days; just like any mother, don’t you agree? Mothers can look good too – as what my own father says “Learn to take care of yourself before you can take care of others” – nailed it, pronto!
Thank you, Qiqi for sharing her inspiring and energy-driven anecdotes and hope that it serves as an inspiration to fellow mommas. Qiqi shares her experience on parenthood, yummy recipes and more on her blog too – click here! We are grateful that you’ve kindly extended an exclusive discount just for our readers too! Many of our readers have expressed interest in the Kidsme Food Feeder that Baby V has tried – we hope more parents and babies will enjoy the useful products from Totsworld!
Post-update: Qiqi has since left her full-time job to focus on her own business and caring for her young girls. When she’s not rushing around for meetings with them in tow, she can be found at her warehouse :P
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