Sharon Wong is no stranger when it comes to the world of baby products. She is the driving force behind Motherswork that was established over 20 years ago to partner women as they as they journey through motherhood from pregnancy all the way till their kids are off to school. Having lived in Malaysia, Australia, Hong Kong, USA and Singapore, her vast experience and broad perspective of lifestyles and parenting feeds her passion to continuously improve retail experience for parents in their parenthood journey. Sharon is also an ardent supporter of mumpreneurs. She’s a mentor for CRIB Society, a social enterprise that supports women’s entrepreneurial work and Design Orchard, an integrated retail and incubation space highlighting Singapore’s designers. Sharon hosts Motherswork’s Heart to Heart Conversations on Instagram where where women entrepreneurs share their motherhood challenges. Her Meet the Makers series also on the same platform, showcases the creators of baby product brands. She’s also the co-host for the @makingofmotherhood Podcast where invited guests share the harsh, honest, and hilarious truths of motherhood. So what drives Sharon’s passion to empower the next generation of women together with juggling motherhood and managing her flourishing business? Here is her story.
1. What/Who inspired you to start Motherswork?
Being an entrepreneur stemmed from my journey as a woman from daughter, career woman, wife and then mother. At that stage of my journey, my desire to get the best for my babies created the entrepreneur. It all started when I was pregnant with my first child. I was obsessed with finding decent maternity clothes, the coolest baby stroller, safest car seat, and perfect milk bottle. You name it, I wanted it. So, I searched the world over and was so overwhelmed by the maze of baby products out there.
No one had bothered to help first time mothers understand and compare what we need to raise our baby, not just any baby, our baby! My friend, Google, was not around. We were not digitally connected, and stores were just there to peddle baby products. They weren’t interested in my baby and I.
By the time I was pregnant with my third child, I had a portfolio of brands from around the world and I wanted to share them with other mums. It was then that Motherswork, an extension of me as a mother, was created, to partner mothers from the time they are pregnant until their baby becomes a toddler and beyond. I am my own toughest customer.
2. What was the initial process of setting up the business like? Did you seek advice from anyone and how did you go about setting up the storefront?
It started as a hobby. It was my personal little store with everything for babies that I have tried and tested. With no experience in retail, I just watched and learned from my shopping experience as a customer in retail stores. It wasn’t until 10 years after we set up Motherswork that we professionalized.
3. How do you choose the brands to carry at Motherswork? What are the main criteria when choosing brands to partner with?
Motherswork stands for 11 product values. Only brands that have met at least four of Motherswork’s 11 values are curated into our offerings. M’ refers to multi-stage, ‘O’ for original, and ‘K’ for kind to the earth – that’s Motherswork.
4. What is the longest running brand partnership you have? Is it still featured in-store?
Cambrass from Spain is one of our few original brands since 2000. It is today helmed by the second generation of the Cambra family and is still a major brand in our stores.
5. When was the most challenging time you faced in juggling a business and raising your children simultaneously?
It has to be during a pandemic. The first was during SARS and of course most recently, Covid-19. Pivoting the business while taking care of my own family and Motherswork family is one of the most challenging times.
6. What’s the best business decision you’ve ever made and what’s one that you could have done without?
The best business decision was to create Motherswork to bring together a community of women. The launch in China likely as we had to run so fast to catch up to them.
7. Take us through your typical day at home and at work.
Quick workout either Pilates or rowing and some weight training. Then I’m off to shower, cleanse and moisturise. After which it’s internal meetings, visit the stores, after lunch external meetings, then dinner.
Thereafter, cleanse, moisturise, and use the Skin Inc Trilight Body Sculpt Fit while I check my emails.
8. Throughout your motherhood journey, what are some of the best life lessons you’ve imparted to your children?
Simply “We love you unconditionally!” on repeat to my three children.
9. Seeing all the products that you carry at Motherswork, are there any that you wished you had when your kids will still babies/tots? Why?
Yes, because with new technology and innovation, there some cool strollers, cots, and car seats. There are just so many products to make life seamless as women journey into motherhood.
10. What are the top three products you would recommend to first time mums? And why?
My little black book of what to buy and when to buy was created as I did the research when I had my three kids. It recommends the top nine must-have products to all first-time parents. The top three is a cot, stroller, and car seat. These three items are important and are also the investments you must make in order to raise your baby.
Where your baby sleep is very important. The cot provides the safest sleep environment possible for your little one. One of the best inventions for motherhood is the stroller. Having a stroller can free mothers from having to carry their baby around. The stroller provides a safe and secure space on the go, allowing the baby to be comfortable, allowing them to experience the outdoors and for mums to run errands or have lunch with friends. Having a stroller makes it more manageable and convenient to have your baby with you.
In a lot of countries, it is compulsory to have a car seat for children. In Singapore, if your child is below 1.35 metres, a car seat is required, except when you take a taxi. For all cars and Grab cars, you must secure your child in a car seat. Most importantly, you need a car seat to protect your baby from accidents just like what the seat belt and airbags are for.
11. What is one piece of advice you have for mums who are struggling with starting a business and looking after their kids at the same time?
Run your own race and be the mother you want to be. Once you embrace this, you will find clarity on when to start your journey as an entrepreneur.
12. Share with us regular beauty and fitness regime to help you stay sharp and focused as a mum and boss.
I’m a no-fuss, minimalist when it comes to beauty and fitness. My beauty regime is to cleanse and moisturise so I look and feel fresh and alert. My fitness regime is to stretch and tone muscles to stay healthy.
13. What’s your favourite feature of the Skin Inc Tri-Light™ Body Sculpt Fit and how do you incorporate it into your regular self-care programme? How has it helped you?
My favourite feature is the warm mode as it relaxes my muscles and makes me feel like I’m having a hot stone massage. My next favourite feature is the lift.
14. What does #yourbodyyourrules mean to you?
I am empowered to run my own race and be the woman that I want to be.