Few women are able to resist the allure of flowers, especially when they are as beautifully arranged as the floral creations that come from Fiona Lim (Treadwell is her husband’s last name).
Her love for flowers and inability to find ones that she wanted for her own wedding in Singapore was what caused Fiona to first think of turning her hobby into a business. She also wanted to spend more time with her kids.
In this story, we chat with Fiona who shares more about what being a mumpreneur is like and what keeps her going despite the challenges she encounters.
Mummyfique: You have mentioned that your kids are a motivation behind Fiona Treadwell. Could you elaborate more?
I used to be in banking and didn’t want to be tied down by 12-hour days, hence I made a career switch. I wanted to be able to watch my kids grow and be with them as they reached new milestones, hence, in 2012, I chose to work from home and turn my hobby into a business. Now I would say that I do anything and everything to do with flowers.
What makes your business stand out from the rest of the competition?
Apart from doing customisation and taking extra care in all the minute details in my floral creations, since my products are based on my aesthetics and design sensibilities, what makes my business special would be me.
Any particular item or service that you provide that you are particularly proud of?
Definitely my bouquets, because they are all bespoke! I usually get my senders to give me a brief description or a special something to incorporate into my bouquets. I will translate their thoughts and messages into floral languages and relay them to the recipients.
What was it like when you first started your business and how has it since evolved?
Establishing my own style is definitely one of the challenges I faced at the very beginning. I knew what I don’t like but didn’t know what I like. So the only thing I could do was to try out different styles that were similar to what I like to discover my own unique style. It was really hard, but that was the only way to get it done. that portray the best of my creations were really hard but that’s the only way to overcome it.
From the start to now, it has been a learning journey and my business has definitely evolved – from just styling the bride, I now style the venue too. And my business is still growing and I would love to continue and better my skills.
I also love that I get to meet all kinds of people, from brides and celebrities to other vendors who are doing exciting things. Everyone has a story to tell and I’m always inspired by the people I meet. I am especially happy that I get to be a part of another person’s important day.
Was it difficult to be a mum and juggle starting a new business at the same time?
Yes, it was really hard. During the first year of business, I was breastfeeding exclusively and at times it was difficult to do that and my business at the same time. When Mother’s Day came about, I remember having to work even harder to fulfil all the orders, but it was also more meaningful as I knew first hand about what being a mother comprised.
These days to manage everything I multi-task a lot, and I take time out for myself to keep sane through exercise – it’s what I call my well-deserved alone time.
What is the one common misconception people have about mumpreneurs you wish you could correct?
That I have all the time in the world to do whatever I want at my own time. The opposite is true.
Looking back, I wish I knew that so that I would have procrastinated less and taken more action early on in my business. I tend to overthink and be overly pessimistic about certain things but I’ve learnt that actually you should just do some things. No matter how it turns out, when it is all over, you actually look back and think that it actually wasn’t that bad a thing.
Is there anything you wished you had known earlier about being a mumpreneur?
Simply that being a mumpreneur is totally possible. I hemmed and hawed initially as there was the fear of not having stable income, but at the end of the day, everything worked out and I now know that being a mum and an entrepreneur are now mutually exclusive.
Are there any challenges about being a mumpreneur?
I do wish there was more government support. There’s actually lots of paperwork and legal jargon involved in taxes, maternity leave and payouts for example, and it’s really too much to handle for the solo mumpreneur. If only there were a team in the public sector that mumpreneurs could turn to for advice on how to best maximise the benefits and subsidies that are available.
For the challenges I face now with my business and as a mum, I turn to friends, other event vendors and mummy forums.
Do you have any new plans for Fiona Treadwell Floristry?
I am planning to launch a ‘For Hire’ page and share online tutorials on how to style simple dessert and reception tables. Hopefully this will encourage other mummies who are looking to style their own tables for parties to take the plunge and come up with their own unique designs with the props that they rent.
Any words of advice to other mumpreneurs in the making?
Don’t get too caught up trying to figure out what is right. There is no right or wrong when you do things your own way. It’s more important to do what is best for yourself and your kids. Also, after you start, always keep an hour of the day to yourself. If it means waking up early or going to bed late, do it, you’ll need the me time to unwind to recharge for the day or next day ahead.