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Interview with Trialsaurus - Local Mumpreneur businesses to support amidst Covid-19 in 2020

2020 hasn’t been an easy year for many businesses in Singapore, and it is even more challenging for a mumpreneur. In fact, The Business Times reported that more than 8,600 local businesses have ceased operations in just Q1, 2020 alone. This number is expected to continue to grow. 

Managing a business and keeping it going during the pandemic is already hard enough. But can you imagine doing that and being a mum?! That’s why we spoke to local mumpreneurs in Singapore to find out how they are keeping their business relevant and afloat in this season – while juggling their mummy duties. We hope these mumpreneur stories inspire you the way it inspired us! 

Barefoot Toys by Yuan & Edeline – Quality open ended toys in SingaporeMumpreneur Yuan and Edeline

Barefoot Toys started out in August 2018 by not one, but two Mumpreneurs — Yuan and Edeline. They love how their children can learn through play and noticed a gap in the market for quality open ended toys in Singapore.

Both of them witnessed first-hand the benefits of spontaneous, open ended play for their children and even their entire family. There were almost no quality open ended toys in Singapore back then. So, they had to purchase such toys from overseas. And this incurred hefty shipping costs for them.

It is also at this point, they decided to start Barefoot Toys offering quality open ended toys in Singapore!

Here’s what Edeline and Yuan had to say about their mumpreneur journey running their local open ended toy business:

What is the greatest challenge you faced as a Mumpreneur? 

[Yuan] I manage our social media accounts and website. And I also decide the different types of open-ended toys we bring in, after much research and testing. 

The greatest challenge that I face is time management. Initially, I became a mumpreneur because I wanted to spend more time with my kids at home, while pursuing a passion project that gives me some financial independence.  

But with the lines blurred between work, household chores and family’s needs, time management becomes the key. At first, the mum’s guilt is overwhelming. But now I’ve learnt to accept that some days it’s alright — “Mummy don’t have to feel guilty”. 

I do my best to shower love and attention on my 3 children before I get busy each day. This fills their need for attention and gives them a sense of belonging and security, which helps them to be more positive and independent throughout the day. 

[Edeline] I’m in charge of the mundane stuff i.e. accounts and finances. Honestly, it hasn’t been easy to juggle the business and my family at the same time. We have business meetings till late at night, and we pack orders till 2-3am. Not to mention that we still have mummy duties early in the morning.  

At times, it gets to us when we’re tired and our little ones are not be the most cooperative. But we know that Barefoot Toys is still a work in progress. So when things get tough, I’d remind myself why I decided to start Barefoot Toys in the first place.  

Until today, I’m still looking for the perfect balance between my business and my family. I think I learnt how to multi-task and squeeze some time out to get work done as a mumpreneur!  

Did COVID-19 affect your business?  

[Yuan] Actually, we’re blessed to be relatively unaffected by COVID-19 so far. Many parents turned to online shopping during the Circuit Breaker. With schools being closed, they needed quality toys and resources to keep their children occupied.  

When tightened measures were taken against COVID-19, we offered a stay-at-home survival kit with our Fiddle & Doodle Dabber Dot Markers and Messy Fingers’ playdough & water beads. The response was amazing and we were sold out in just 2 days!  

What are the most memorable moments of your Mumpreneur journey? 

[Yuan] One of my favourite moments is realising that we do make a difference. Especially, when customers share with us how well-loved our toys are.  

I remember laughing really hard when one customer spoke to me about buying more sets of Playmags. Turns out her son was “fighting” with his Grandfather over Playmags, complaining “not enough”!  

I feel especially grateful and happy knowing that what we sell is genuinely good. We’re glad that we get to help families bond and build precious memories together.  

[Edeline] One of my proudest moments is watching my son showing his little friends how to play with an open-ended toy that we’ve brought in. My little salesman! I can’t help but to feel a sense of accomplishment each time I see children playing our toys. 

Oh and a funny one — there’s one time, we decided to do a pop-up store with a few close business friends. We went down to set up the place one day before the opening day. I remember being so worried that there would be no customers at all, I told Yuan to buy a fly swatter and she got super upset with me! 

[Yuan] I kept saying, “No no, we’ll definitely have some customers tomorrow” even though deep down, i was worried about the turn out too. The next morning, we were pleasantly surprised to see customers waiting to shop, while we’re still opening up! 

What would you like to share with aspiring Mumpreneur? 

[Yuan] Give it a shot! The process itself is pretty rewarding, and I always get to learn new things! It is also okay to make mistakes. The most important thing is that we pick ourselves up and try again. 

[Edeline] Take the plunge! If you’re truly passionate about your ideas, you’ll be able to rise up and take on new challenges. You’ll also be surprised at how efficient you have become! However, bear in mind that everyone is a work in progress, there’s no shame in taking a break! 

What was your family’s reaction when you told them that you’re going to start Barefoot Toys? 

[Yuan] My husband is really supportive! He often helps to manage the stocks as they’re heavy, and he calls himself the “Storeman of the Year”. 

And I’m glad my 3 children don’t complain when the house gets a little cluttered when new stocks arrive. Instead, they’re pretty happy to help with the “testing” of toys! 

[Edeline] I’m thankful that everyone is so supportive of my little venture, and they’re also willing to lend a helping hand when needed!  

My husband helps me with the packing and delivery. And sometimes, my father will chip in too! Even my in-laws (we’re staying together) are very supportive, and would help to take care of my son whenever I am preoccupied with work. Especially during the Circuit Breaker, when my son is at home with me 24/7. It truly takes a village to raise a kid, and a business! 

Which product(s) from Barefoot Toys would you recommend to someone new? 

Playmags! It’s a super versatile toy that is value for money and fun for the whole family! 

On top of that, we’ve recently launched a new collection of craft activities (eg: Giotto range of paints, Hey Doodle mats) to add even more value to our customers’ home. Follow our social media accounts for more updates!  

PS: We’re absolutely stoked to be turning 2! We wouldn’t have gotten this far without the support of our customers, so we’ve planned a series of great deals, discounts and giveaways on our Facebook and Instagram.

[GIVEAWAY CLOSED] We have put together a really AWESOME giveaway sponsored by these generous mumpreneurs, exclusively to our followers!

[GIVEAWAY CLOSED] We have put together a really AWESOME giveaway (including Fiddle Doodle Dabber Dot Markers Starter Kit worth S$39.90 each) sponsored by these generous mumpreneurs, exclusively to our followers!

This interview was conducted by Chile Toh from Trialsaurus. Click here to see the full article.