This Mother’s Day, we visited Momtrepreneur Qiqi Low (real name Xiao Qi Low) at her office and had a chat with her about life and work, and of course, being a mother. The 2015 Miss Singapore first runner up is a mother of 2 young daughters and founded Totsworld, a line of baby care products inspired by her own motherhood journey. It is never easy juggling between family and work, but Qiqi quipped that the significance of being a working mother is being able to impart the value of good social skills to your children.
Hello Qiqi, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hello everyone, I’m QiQi. I’m a founder of Totsworld, which has been around for 3 years. And, I also have 2 lovely daughters and 1 very supportive husband.
What inspired you to be in this line of the industry?
Starting when I was pregnant, I was searching around for baby clothing and maternity stuff so I have an interest in baby clothing since earlier on, I was trying to sell some adult clothes online. And when my baby started her diet, I sourced for interesting products that are not available in Singapore and from there, that’s how I started the business. When I recommend products to mothers, more and more mothers are asking where they can get these innovative products. So, that’s how I started to bring in my first brand.
Was it hard to juggle between your own family and career?
Definitely yes especially at the start. I was having a full-time job and doing this site as a side business and also taking care of my child. Definitely not easy because by the time I finished work, it was already 6 pm and I have to fetch my child, prepare dinner, what was left is only time after I made my girls go to bed. So within that few hours, I need to finish up whatever it is necessary. After I quit my job, I decided to concentrate this business full-time. I realize that, if you want to expand your business, that’s a lot of time needed to be taken from your child and then manage the business at the same time. So it comes to a point where I have to work till 3-4am every day because I have to settle my kids first. Then after that, I have to do my job. After they go to bed, it’s my working time.
Tell us about the significance of being a working mum.
Being a working mum is definitely not easy because people tend to ask you why don’t you just quit your job and stay at home to look after your children. Since the baby grows up very fast, u might tend to miss the milestone but I beg to defer because, in this new generation, I believe that women should come out to work but of course, to your comfort level. You can hold a part time job and at the same time, can take care of your baby. We have to try to catch up with the current affairs and what is going on around us. I believe that social skill is very important so next time we can educate our children, we can tell them the importance of social skills and what we have learned as being a working mum and what values we can teach them.
Any piece of advice to budding female entrepreneurs who wants to achieve a work-life balance?
Actually there is no work-life balance, to be honest. I have to be very frank, like I mentioned earlier on, during the day time I can work because my girls go to child care center. But after they came back from child care center, it is very difficult to work and play with them at the same time. So what I have to do is, I have to put down whatever I’m doing, I take care of them, prepare their meals and make them go to bed. After they go to bed, this is when I can continue my work till 2-3 am. If you really want to have a work-life balance, I think that is the best that working moms can do especially when you are planning to have your own business. Unless you plan to do a very small one, but taking care of kids at home and working at the same time, it’s not impossible, it’s possible but you have to manage your expectation slightly lower.
Is your mother proud of your success? What would you like to tell her?
I will believe every parent will be proud of their children, no matter whether they are successfully or not, whether they are entrepreneurs or holding a job/ working for other people. Because what parents want is, they want their child to be healthy, that’s what my mother always tell me. So long as you are healthy, married into a good family, have kids, I think that what’s make them feel proud and much more important compared to whether my business is successfully a not. They are very supportive of my business, whether I can make it, they said they will always be there for me. And it’s always a lesson to learn, and what value I can teach my kids or the next generation.
What would you like to tell your mum?
妈咪，谢谢你一直在我的身边支持我， 然后，也很感谢你从小教我们的东西说我们都要努力学习， 永远活到老，学到老。 然后， 永远不会放弃的精神。就算别人对你说不好， 只要问心无愧就可以了。谢谢你。母亲节快乐。
Mum, thank you for always supporting me. I’m very grateful for all the values that you have taught us; to work hard and be always willing to learn. Also, to have the never give up spirit regardless of what may come in our way. As long as your conscience is clear, it doesn’t matter what others may say about you. Thank you, mum, happy mother’s day.
Lastly, any inspirational quote to live by?
I always believe that, if you never try, you will never know. No matter what obstacles that come to my way, I always try, because without trying, I will never know if I will succeed a not. Even if I don’t succeed, at leat I have tried it.
For more information, visit www.totsworld.com.sg