Shumin Lim of Kaiapoi set up her maternity fashion business, MummyMatters, eight years ago because she found the choice of breastfeeding wear very limited when she had her first child in 2002. She also wanted to spend more time with her children while encouraging breastfeeding mums by providing affordable, comfortable and stylish clothing. Her husband Daniel joined her in the business in 2007.
I used to have mummy guilt about working… Every second I was away from my children, even though I really wasn't away for long periods. I mostly worked when they were sleeping or having lessons. Now, as long as I know they're well taken care of and/or are using their time wisely, I don't feel guilty as work is a part of our life and it is beneficial too to demonstrate to my children that good work ethics and habits are important in a well-balanced lifestyle.
The most surprising thing I've found about running MummyMatters is that… It's able to feed my family of six. It really just started as a little project which I hoped would earn me some pocket money. I don't get a lot of "me-time"... Because, as well as our business, we home-school our children. I grab whatever chance I can to do the grocery shopping by myself. The hour after I've finished work every night is also very precious as that's the time I have a cup of herbal tea, chill and reflect on the day.
The smartest thing I have ever done with my business is… Getting my husband to quit his job so he could work for me.
The mistakes we've made… Were not really ones so big that they couldn't be resolved. Most of the problems we had were related to production due to miscommunication with the factories. Ultimately it is all down to negotiation skills and being reasonable.
My favourite thing about the business is when… I spot someone wearing one of our breastfeeding tops or dresses while we're out and about. It's always a buzz.
My superhero is… St Monica. I took up her name as my baptismal name when I was received into the Catholic Church in 1998. She was a strong and well disciplined woman of deep faith and patience.
The advantages of working for myself are… I feel more passionate and driven about work when it's my own. And we can work around our children's schedules (as we are also their "chauffeurs").
The disadvantages are… The impact of whether the business is thriving is more direct when you're working for yourself. It can affect our personal finances as well.
My philosophy to child-rearing is… I'm a firm believer in attachment parenting. It's about understanding the biological and psychological needs of the children at different stages of their life. It allows both parents and children to know themselves, their own abilities and one another well.