Local skincare brand Jo Lauren has been steadily gaining steam and it is now stocked in 17 stores around Southeast Asia. One can hardly believe that the organic skincare brand was started by a young mum simply because she awas concerned with her infant daughter’s skin! Putting her experience in the beauty industry to good use, founder of Jo Lauren, Jolene Liow, conceptualised the non-steroid line after much experimenting, to aid eczema rashes in babies. Her aim, as Mummyfique finds out, is to ‘help other angels with baby eczema.’ We chat with Jolene to find out more about her brand, her life and her love for her child in this latest installment of MumsWeLove:
GIDANIA WONG: How did you get started on Jo Lauren?
JOLENE LIOW: My baby daughter had severe eczema when she was born and despite trying many products on her, her condition persisted. That was when I formulated the Jo Lauren Baby Miracle Balm as a moisturiser. It not only moisturised her skin but also helped heal her weeping eczema completely.
Can you share more about Jo Lauren’s successes?
Jo Lauren is still pretty much in its early toddler stage, if I have to describe our growth so far, we definitely have a long way more to go!
We’ve gone from a simple online shop in late 2013 to being stocked and sold in 17 store locations around the region, including Malaysia, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. We have been blessed with several accolades by leading parenting magazines, namely the Best of the Best in Organic Baby Skincare for 2014 and 2015 awarded by Parents World Singapore, as well as Best Sensitive Skincare Product 2015 by Mother & Baby Singapore!
The greatest achievement of all would definitely be receiving countless personal testimonials of mummies and daddies whose babies have been healed of eczema and skin issues, after using our products.
How do you balance your career with motherhood and what are some entrepreneurial tips you can share with our readers?
I am thankful to have placed my daughter in a responsible childcare centre when she turned nine months as that allowed me to focus on my business during the day. As a baby grows and enters the toddler stage, she requires much more attention as well as stimulation to help her develop the necessary language and motor skills which I could not provide adequately while juggling my business at the same time.
So a childcare arrangement provided me the flexibility and peace of mind to pursue the growth of my business without compromising on the care of my child; she even learned to feed herself at childcare, something I couldn’t achieve at home! I find it very rewarding to be a mumpreneur, and my main advice would be to ensure your child is well taken cared of either by family or a reliable centre when you decide to go for it.
You’re expecting your second child now. How do you ease Lauren into being an older sibling and have you done anything differently this pregnancy?
My hubby and I have both started reading some books about being a big sister to her, as well as showing her photos of her baby self and explaining that she was once a baby and a new baby is on the way. It has been very interesting going through the photos of her baby days and it also provides us an opportunity to explain to her the things that we will have to do for the new baby too, such as carrying the baby in a sling, bathing the baby, and feeding the baby. Yes, we have photos of us bathing her when she was one month old so that photo really came in handy!
For this pregnancy, I’m definitely a lot more relaxed and I’ve not signed up for any prenatal classes as compared to my first where I signed up for hypnobirthing, aqua aerobics, prenatal pilates etc. But one thing is for sure, I’ve not ‘eaten for two as I did in my first and my weight gain is much healthier this time round. I put on 22kg the last pregnancy and many people thought I was having twins! Not good, do not eat for two!
What are the pros and cons of owning your own business when it comes to being a mother?
Pros: Definitely flexibility. I am able to spend my time according to my wishes and because it’s my own business, I can even bring my daughter with me on my business appointments without issues, if need be.
Cons: I think the main drawback would be during the initial stages of starting up where I had to give up a good stable income and work through the uncertainties of establishing the business. It can get doubly stressful running down your savings while coping with added expenses of having a baby so I am blessed my hubby supported my venture both emotionally and financially then and now.
What are some skincare tips for babies that you can share?
i) Babies do not develop their skin barrier fully until they’re 18 months so avoid irritating their delicate skin with bath products. Just use water and a soft washcloth during bath time and then moisturise with a good moisturiser. A good moisturiser is all you need for babies to maintain their baby skin.
ii) Use lukewarm water to bathe them instead of warm or hot water as it can be drying for their tender skin.
iii) Trim their nails regularly as long nails can easily break skin when they scratch themselves.
iv) Avoid using wet wipes as they contain preservatives that can be harsh and irritating to baby skin. Just use water and a washcloth or tissue.
v) If a baby has hypersensitive skin and is suffering from an outbreak of rashes/eczema, cut out all products and do a three-day patch test on the inside of their elbow to determine if the product is causing an allergy.
What are some of your favourite activities that you share with Lauren and why?
Reading! She is a little bookworm and she enjoys reading very much; her face lights up whenever I bring home a new book. She has learnt a lot from reading and I am constantly amazed by her ability to understand, absorb and apply the concepts in books. I recently bought her a children’s encyclopedia because she started to memorise her story books and I felt that she’s ready for more factual reading. We started reading since she was a year old and now that she is turning three in March (2016), it’s a daily ritual and she’d hand me her books and go, ‘Read to me!’ every evening.
If you had to give some words of wisdom with a new mother what would that be?
Trust your instincts on how to care for your baby as no expert/guru knows or loves your baby as much as you do.