In celebration of International Women’s Day, we at Little Steps are supporting and recognising some of Hong Kong’s incredible Mompreneurs! It’s no secret that this city is full of exceptional moms who take the term ‘busy’ to a whole new level. Read on to hear the story behind these extraordinary women who juggle running a business and a family. Be inspired by their useful tips on keeping a healthy work-life balance as well as their top places for family fun in the city!
About Claire: Claire is a Eurasian mother of two, who started The Lion Rock Press in 2013, specializing in Hong Kong and Singapore-themed gifts and stationery. Claire also co-founded an NGO called EcoDrive Hong Kong, which raises awareness of single-use plastic. Be sure to check out her anti-single-use plastic song in collaboration with Baby Shark, which has had more than 675,000 views!
Top Tip For A Healthy Work-Life Balance: “Now they’re a bit older, I share much more of the business with the kids too. My son does his home school from my showroom once a week and they help with the packing and folding of the stock. It’s fun for them to see how a real business works, and the effort it takes for it to be a success.”
Favorite Things To Do With The Kids: "Our favorite things to do are always in nature. We love to camp on the beach and listen to the ocean (beach clean-up included). We love to hike as remotely as possible and hunt for bugs and upload our finds to the iNaturalist app (@teamyateshk) so that we’re adding to the national database. My son and I are keen wildlife photographers, and we love to go up to Mai Po to hang out in the hides hoping to spot elusive species – he’s mad about kingfishers and mongoose!"
About Neelam: Neelam has been running the successful boutique PR firm, purebuzz, for over 15 years. Most recently, Neelam became certified via the Integrated Institute of Nutrition and is now a qualified Health Coach, working with client's bio-individual needs to successfully reach their health goals. She is also a mom to a teenage son, Tahir.
Top Tip For A Healthy Work-Life Balance: “I am very conscious about not overscheduling my week as I find it very difficult to take time out and get anything done when I do. I try to not be out 2 nights in a row and limit dinners to 2-3 times per week. I also take a mid-afternoon break where I switch everything off to meditate or take a power nap. It makes me a happier, nicer mom and I am definitely more focused. Self-care is my number one tip – I have no guilt when it comes to putting myself first!”
Favorite Things To Do With The Kids: “My son is the love of my life and prior to Covid, my most favorite travel companion! We LOVED traveling together, exploring sites, and eating our way all over the world. More recently, we spend Sundays hiking and getting lost, then grabbing brunch. We also love playing Rummington and of course, he loves it when there’s money involved and he makes a cash load. His favorite thing to do is to put me to bed, as I tend to retire or at least get in bed earlier than him. It gives him great pleasure to hug and tuck me in.”
About Amy: Amy is a fashion designer for her own kid’s brand, China Doll Kids, which she started after moving to Hong Kong. She also started a travel and baking Instagram account to share family travel tips, reviews, and her adventures in baking since Covid put a stop to virtually all travel. Her motto is: “Be kind always, add some glitter, and do good for people that are not as fortunate as we are!”
Top Tip For A Healthy Work-Life Balance: “Enjoy your work and try and get the kids interested in what you do. We also try to have family dinners together at a table every night which seems simple enough but is challenging at times with all the schedules. It’s a nice time without devices to talk about each other’s days and connect.”
Favorite Things To Do With The Kids: "Travelling, when we can learn about new cultures and countries. Baking and creating together at home during Covid (we learned watercolor together and how to make chocolate bombs!), and we also love spending quality time outdoors at the beach.”
About Shalini: Shalini is a serial NGO Founder. She founded and runs The Zubin Foundation, in honor of her son Zubin who died tragically of medical negligence in 2009. Shalini is also one of the founders of The Women’s Foundation, which promotes equal participation of women and girls in all aspects of Hong Kong society. She also sits on the Commission on Children of the HKSAR Government and is the Convenor of the Working Group on Children with Specific Needs, which focuses on special needs children and ethnic minority children. Shalini is mom to three wonderful children – Anya who is 13, Devyn who is 9, and Zubin who would have been 14. She loves to swim, read and travel. She is also a feminist and chocoholic.
Top Tip For A Healthy Work-Life Balance: “Since Zubin’s death I have suffered from depression. I don’t believe that it is possible to "get over” a child’s death. We learn to live but the pain is always there - present and hovering." Top tips from Shalini: 1. Exercise – I try and do this five times a week in the morning. 2. Read – I love reading. It gives me my escape but also helps me appreciate the beauty in someone else’s words. 3. Work – I am unable to work full time since Zubin’s death. I work three days a week. 4. Friends – My friends have walked life’s journey with me and I am so grateful to them.
Favorite Things To Do With The Kids: “Cuddle them! Our son gets into our bed at 6:15am, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The morning cuddle with him sets me up for the day. It fuels my day. With my daughter, we share “cuddle time” every night. This is the most precious part of our day. We get into her bed before her bedtime and we chat with the lights out. I would not change it for anything.”
About Pia: Pia is the Executive Director of a local literacy charity, Bring Me a Book Hong Kong (BMAB). More recently, Pia joined the NGO Women Leaders Task Force, a group that was set up in 2020 to address the many challenges facing the NGO industry during Covid-19. Pia and her husband are both Eurasian with two “tweenage” boys who are truly multi-cultured kids with Chinese, Swedish, and English grandparents.
Top Tip For A Healthy Work-Life Balance: “I start every morning with yoga and meditation – this really helps to calm my nervous system and nourish both my mind and body. My top tip – exercise before anyone in the house is even awake and keep your phone off! No disturbance or noise for 30 minutes, where you can just focus on yourself. Every day is golden.”
Favorite Things To Do With The Kids: “I took my boys on their first sunrise hike to usher in the Year of the Ox. And as mad as it sounds, I have committed to doing one each month in 2021, although I’m still working on my boys to commit! It was a really fun and great experience for the kids to wake up at 5:30am, make hot chocolate, put head torches on, and do a short hike up Brick Hill in Aberdeen and watch the beautiful sunrise at 7:00am. The dog loved it too!”
About Abby: Abby is one of the owners and the Director of Relish, a leading event and catering company in Hong Kong. The company has three distinct offerings - Events and Catering, Relish at Home, and a beautiful new venue space in Wong Chuk Hang. Abby and her husband made Hong Kong their home in 2017, and seven months ago welcomed a bouncing baby boy to the family! She loves to cook, entertain friends and family, and enjoys spending time in the sun or on the water.
Top Tip For A Healthy Work-Life Balance: "My goal each day is to be home for bath time and to spend the weekends as a family. My husband and I try to schedule date nights every month with just the two of us. It's important to schedule downtime as it's so easy to burn out, especially as a business owner. You will never look back on life and wish you had spent more time at work, but you will wish you had spent more time with your loved ones."
Favorite Things To Do With The Kids: "We love to go for walks and have picnics in the park or BBQs with our close friends. I can't wait for the beaches to open so that we can get our baby in the water, splashing around and feeling the sand between his toes."
About Amy: After a career in the wine, food, and beverage industry in the United States, in 2019 Amy co-founded Toasst (with fellow mompreneur Christina Tam), born out of a desire to open up the world of wine to those who want to live, learn, and wine better. Amy is an avid hiker and runner, living at the base of one of the city's most-loved trails up to the iconic Victoria Peak. In her house, you will find a giant wall of books along with stacks next to her nightstand. Her husband, John, founded the children's education and literacy charity Room to Read, and they now get to share that love with their eight-month-old son, Orion, who is already showing an interest in books. Amy also loves to cook, and if you follow her on Instagram, don't be surprised to see her latest sourdough bread popping up on Stories!
Top Tip For A Healthy Work-Life Balance: "My husband and I both work from home so our work lives and home lives are constantly intertwined. Finding time to get away and devote ourselves, either for a workout or even a quiet hour at a coffee shop to read or write, is key to us maintaining mental health. Working from home also means that we can grab time with our son between meetings, or occasionally, take him on a mid-morning hike when time allows. We stay flexible while still making sure we have time to ourselves, as a couple, and time as a family."
Favorite Things To Do With The Kids: "Our son, Orion, loves to be outdoors just like his parents! We love our Sunday morning walks down Bowen Road or hikes to the Peak followed by a family visit to APT or Elephant Grounds or lunch at our favorite local Thai restaurant."
About Michelle: Michelle specializes in launching mission-driven ventures, and Co-Founded BYT, now The R Collective, an award-winning environmentally conscious fashion brand that has sold through Net-a-Porter, Lane Crawford, and Barneys. As CEO, Michelle won first prize in Hong Kong for the Chivas Venture social impact competition, gaining entry for an accelerator at Oxford and a final global pitch in Hollywood. This was a follow on to her work at sustainable fashion charity Redress. She is a board member on fellow mompreneur Pia Wong's organization, Bring Me a Book, and also a Founding Member and Impact Chair of ATEC, Asia Technology Entrepreneurship Conference and Startup Competition. Michelle was born in Brooklyn, New York, is the child of Korean immigrants, and moved to Hong Kong with her husband Richard in 2006. Their two children, Elliot and Amber, were born and raised in Hong Kong. Michelle is an eternal learner, always curious and reading to learn about how to make more of a positive impact in our increasingly complex world. She is also really into health and wellness, loves to cook healthy meals with her family, be outdoors in nature, and draw.
Top Tip For A Healthy Work-Life Balance: "I find myself in restorative and meditative states when I am focused on creative pursuits like cooking and drawing. I also try to remember to pause and breathe, which helps my body to come back to homeostasis. This is so important from a medical standpoint, and something that I wish I could have told my younger self! I've learned over time that the state of our balance moves organically and this needs constant management, so one of my key wellness essentials has been to build a community of people around me where we make it a priority to support each other constantly."
Favorite Things To Do With The Kids: "One of my favorite things to do is to read picture books with my children, even though my eldest is in middle school. It's a special time when we bond, act goofy and talk about what is important to us. Having conversations with my kids around lots of topics has been one of my greatest jobs as they get older and are forming really interesting ideas about the world."
About Ching: Ching was born in Europe to Hong Kong-Taiwanese parents, and moved to Hong Kong for a job in finance. She now lives on Lamma Island with her little tribe and developed a passion for yoga while she was pregnant with her first child. After returning to work after giving birth, she founded Organic Yoga Girl (OYG), a platform that offers a user-friendly booking system, that doesn't tie prospective yogis to a single studio with long-term subscription fees. Ching's household is a "mixed" one, with her husband being Caucasian and herself ethnically Chinese. Their children speak English, Mandarin, Cantonese, and French, and they try to give them the best of both cultures.
Top Tip For A Healthy Work-Life Balance: "I found my cocoon in yoga and tea ceremony. Making the effort to breathe when I'm under stress, or having a happy place in mind helps me a lot. I have also learned to work around my body clock. For example, after lunchtime, there is typically one to two hours where my brain is slower. I try to squeeze in this timeslot for the admin work which requires me to walk - things like going to the bank or the supermarket."
Favorite Things To Do With The Kids: "My elder son likes to do yoga with me. Just before Covid, he insisted on going to IRIS with me. My younger one is less patient, but he is getting into it as well."
About Nicole: Nicole is the founder of Next Chapter Raise, a funding ecosystem designed to inspire, educate, and connect female founders with savvy investors and strategic advisors. There are two programs, the first being the Savvy Club, a membership network of female founders all focused on understanding revenue, different types of capital, and growth hacks to build their businesses. The second is Capital Club, supporting female founders looking to fundraise over US$100,000 on their fundraising journey. Their mission is simple; we want to get women funded faster. Originally from Australia, Nicole has been based in Hong Kong since 2003. She is married with two children and one kitten, and together they love to swim, hike, and enjoy all the wonderful things that Hong Kong has to offer.
Top Tip For A Healthy Work-Life Balance: "Planning in advance is key for me. I always write down the three big things I want to achieve each week as that gives me a focus in a lot of my work. It's also important to structure your time so you mentally separate between work time and family time. Otherwise, its easy to feel you are not doing well at either or get overwhelmed."
Favorite Things To Do With The Kids: "If the weather is good, we love to hike or go swimming. But we also love doing puzzles and movie nights! It's always a trick to find the right movie that everyone will enjoy. Plus we all love to prepare and decorate for all the big celebrations such as Christmas, Chinese New Year, and Easter."
About Christina: Along with mompreneur Amy Powell, Christina founded the wine subscription and concierge service Toasst for fellow wine lovers and those who wanted a better way to discover and try new wines. Christina lives next to the monkeys and flamingos in the Hong Kong Zoo and Botanical Gardens with her husband Andy and daughter Olivia. When she's not busy running Toasst or chasing after her daughter, she loves trying new restaurants with friends and staying active through spinning, running, and pilates.
Top Tip For A Healthy Work-Life Balance: "My daily morning workout is essential for keeping a healthy mental and physical state of mind. It's uninterrupted "me" time that gets the endorphins going, sets the path for the rest of the day, and helps me to prioritize and level set when it comes to balancing work and home duties."
Favorite Things To Do With The Kids: "We all love to be outdoors and try to get out and bike, hike, and discover as much of this island we call home. Some of our favorite things to do as a family is to ride the Star Ferry on the weekends and get a delicious Mister Softee cone or Tai Cheong egg tart during our jaunts. We also love going to Ocean Park and visiting our sea friends in the aquarium, hitting the beach in Stanley on the weekends, or meeting up with other friends at the American Club for activities."
About Anjali: Anjali's current career was sparked by her search for beautiful and natural baby linens in 2014 when she moved from New York City to Hong Kong and became pregnant with her son, Aryan. She switched from a career in finance and founded Malabar Baby because she knew she wanted to create something well-made, high-quality, and really special that would be in everyone's households for years to come. Her days are really busy with work and Zoom, so her favorite place to be is home with her boys! The three of them are serious foodies and enjoy cruising around on Sundays eating at Bakehouse, Super Macho, or Chom Chom to name a few gems in HK.
Top Tip For A Healthy Work-Life Balance: "The past 12 months have been the trickiest time for me, personally to balance work and home. I have a new love for early morning yoga by myself. I have a new love for long walks with girlfriends on the HK waterfront (by Musea). I have a new love for painting with my son. And most of all, I really try to be present and in the moment of whatever I am doing. I don't have rules about work staying at work and so on, but, I think that appreciation of a slower mode of life has helped me feel more relaxed and in control of work and home..."
Favorite Things To Do With The Kids: "Ary and I have a love for painting together, which honestly only started when we were in lockdown in India (last year). Now that we are back in HK, our favorite family weekend activity has been taking a long drive on a Friday or Saturday night (a bit past bedtime!) and listening to music and singing with the windows down. We love being outdoors and my son loves to hike. If the sun is out, you will find us at a local beach in Hong Kong."
About Shea: As a new mom in Hong Kong, Shea longed for a resource offering fun, insider tips for parents in Asia. In 2011, she founded Little Steps Asia, the leading website and weekly e-newsletter dedicated to delivering the inside scoop to parents on what to do, buy, and discover in Asia and beyond. Shea lives in Clearwater Bay with her two children (ages 9 and 11). She enjoys an active lifestyle full of hiking, paddle boarding, yoga, and of course exploring the best of Hong Kong (and normally traveling too!). She also loves learning new skills for work, life, and parenting too.
Top Tip For A Healthy Work-Life Balance: "Sleep - it is totally underrated and the key to my balance. I also have a morning ritual (which is mostly routine) that always jump starts my day just right - exercise, coffee, meditation, and me-time. Little Steps operates on a flexible schedule which allows for a balance of work/home life as we make our own schedule around what makes us the most productive given all the wild life demands. Every day is different!"
Favorite Things To Do With The Kids: "We are always exploring Hong Kong! Recently, we tried TreeTop Cottage (which offers unique zip lines and adventure courses), we love camping, biking, hiking, and visiting Hong Kong's beaches. Recently, we have also been hitting up all of Hong Kong's big tourist must-dos as the lines are short. It's a great time to tick these off with the kids!"
About Joanna: In response to her belief that there wasn't enough creative education at her children's kindergarten (exemplified in her then 4-year-old daughter "failing" art as she insisted on painting an elephant orange and not gray), Joanna founded Kids' Gallery in 1996. Since then the organization has taken on a life of its own, and 25 years later, they are now the KG Group, encompassing six Kids' Gallery centers across Hong Kong and Macau; three Star English centers; Face Productions; and Mills International Pre-Nursery and Preschool. Joanna was born in Hong Kong and lived in Geneva, London, and Beijing, before returning to her hometown where she's been based for the past 30 years. She lives in Clearwater Bay and is the proud mom to two adult daughters, two dogs, and a lorikeet! She's a big reader and cross stitcher and also enjoys hiking. She's very involved in the arts and medical advocacy and serves on the boards of children's charities including Youth Diabetes Action and Playright Children's Play Association. She's also an advisory board member at Gleneagles Hospital and a passionate supporter and board member of The Women's Foundation.
Top Tip For A Healthy Work-Life Balance: "My family, work, and interests have always been intertwined - and I love it that way. I'm fortunate that my children were able to benefit from my work, and attended almost every course that Kids' Gallery had to offer. They also acted as an honest focus group for what was fun and what wasn't! Over the years I've learned to delegate more and realize the power of downtime in enhancing creative and strategic thinking which has helped me enormously in managing personal and business issues. I'm organized and make sure I also allocate balance between work and play - it's not always easy but important to remember that they're equally important and therefore worth planning for."
Favorite Things To Do With The Kids: "Now that my kids are actually adults, our favorite times are spent eating, hiking, and at the spa! When the world opens up again, we will also enjoy traveling together. I was fortunate enough to visit Antarctica with my daughter Sophia in February 2020 on the National Geographic expedition ship which was a life-changing experience."
About Victoria: Victoria is the founder of a cloth diaper brand called Just Peachy, with a mission to design a reusable diaper (which is now patented in some countries!) that simplified cloth diapering and enabled modern (read: busy) parents to be more eco-conscious. Victoria's little family of four calls Hong Kong home. They love food and travel, but throughout Covid have also really enjoyed rediscovering HK and finding out what fun places there are right in their backyard.
Top Tip For A Healthy Work-Life Balance: "Most entrepreneurs will probably tell you this is a massive struggle, it's so hard to stick to those boundaries that are so necessary for a healthy work/life balance. I try to carve out time for specific things where I can be focused and efficient to power through what I need to. I am definitely guilty of working on weekends, but I try to spend the day with family and friends as much as possible and then work once the kids are in bed."
Favorite Things To Do With The Kids: "Our family loves to go to Disneyland! With our annual pass, sometimes we go for just a few hours for a change of scenery and some extra magic in our lives. We also love the beach, and this year we have loved exploring some of the more remote beaches we wouldn't normally have ventured out to."
About Carolyn: Before she got married, Carolyn was a concert pianist. After giving birth to her first daughter, Isabel, she started Happy Milk, a select shop for kids' wear and products. Originally Happy Milk was an online shop only, but while she was pregnant with her second daughter, Elizabeth, she decided to expand its services from online to a physical retail store as well. Her family is based in Hong Kong, where her husband has developed hiking as a hobby, taking them on different hiking trails during the week to appreciate the city's beautiful scenery. Carolyn likes to cook and bake, and sometimes she will invite friends over and cook a big meal for everyone.
Top Tip For A Healthy Work-Life Balance: "After becoming a mom, I realize how important it is to multi-task. During my early post-natal period, I very often felt frustrated and exhausted running between childcare, household chores, and work. It is crucial to be able to trust your partner, helpers, and staff. Communicate with your teammates from time to time to check whether both parties are on the same page."
Favorite Things To Do With The Kids: "Jenga! Biking, pizza making, and playing music and having my daughters dance along."
About Paulina: Paulina was born in Hong Kong, leaving for Canada at the age of 16, attending university there, and then moving to Milan for a Master in Fashion at the Domus Academy, an international design school. It was here that she met an industrial design student from Belgium who later became her husband! Together they settled in Milan where they had two daughters and Paulina added a further degree to her cache - an MBA from the SDA Bocconi University. At that time, her daughters were very young and since her husband is a talented industrial designer, they started their own little brand of baby furniture called Bombol, and together with a third business partner dedicated their full-time attention to building Bombol into an international, multi-product brand in the baby furniture industry.
Top Tip For A Healthy Work-Life Balance: "For me, compartmentalizing my work hours and space from that of my home works really well. I try not to bring work home from the office, when there's work to do I'd rather stay later in the office, but once I am home my full attention belongs to my family. For many years, I neglected my own body and health without paying attention to working out or eating healthily. I learned to also schedule in time for sports, take time for myself, and make sure I eat healthily so that I can stay strong and fit mentally and physically to deal with all the challenges that come along in my daily life."
Favorite Things To Do With The Kids: "I love baking with my daughters and exploring new recipes with them! They have observed me in the kitchen since they were really young and developed an interest in cooking and baking too. I am so proud of their curiosity and creativity in food! We also have a "book club" of sorts because we all LOVE to read, and we recommend books to each other, discuss storylines, and sometimes explore themes together for them to do some creative writing of their own."
About Jade: After lots of studying and becoming a certified sleep consultant, her business launched soon after the birth of her son, Theo. The Sleep Lab has been a huge personal success since its launch in 2018, and Jade is so pleased that she has built a reputation of trust amongst the moms in Hong Kong in terms of helping them at some of their most vulnerable and stressful moments. Jade grew up in the UK, and after a few years of working in London, decided she wanted to experience more and made the move on her own to Hong Kong. She was lucky enough to quickly meet Harsha, who has been her husband for the last seven years, and they are parents to two beautiful children. She is an outdoorsy type so loves to be either at the beach or hiking in the mountains - that is where she is at her happiest!
Top Tip For A Healthy Work-Life Balance: "Like any working mom, my days are always jam-packed so every Sunday evening, I carefully plan my week to ensure that I fit in family time, work, and exercise every day! My family is my number one priority so I designed the business to be 100% flexible, and with some careful time management, my children barely notice I work. Once I have dropped my kids off at school, I have three hours to focus entirely on work and exercise. That isn't much time at all but I am highly efficient and productive in that time and then I know as soon as they get home from school the day is mine to spend with the children. It works beautifully and I'm very happy with the balance that I have created. The situation with COVID has of course challenged this from time to time, but if there is one thing that this last year has taught me, it is to be adaptable!"
Favorite Things To Do With The Kids: "As a family, we love the outdoors and so you will find us either at the beach, hiking, kayaking, or at the rock pools. Most weekends we will build fires and cook the kids dinner there and this is something we really enjoy as a family. We recently went wakeboarding again and the kids loved to watch that! We take them everywhere and as a result, they are nature lovers too!"
About Sijia: Last year, Sijia introduced a rare form of honey, Mulubee, to Hong Kong. Sijia lives with her husband, two children, and a dog in the Mid-Levels area of Hong Kong. They are an active pack and love spending time outdoors. During the weekends, you can find them on the beach, cycling in the New Territories, or on hiking trails with their furry friend. Sijia also loves horse riding and can't wait for her daughter to join her soon.
Top Tip For A Healthy Work-Life Balance: "Top tip would be to have some me-time every week. I jog with my dog (he is low maintenance) to clear my mind and I don't forget to pamper myself with a massage afterward. Outside my busy work, I take afternoons off to spend time with each child to ensure they get my full attention. E.g. I love watching my son play football and wait till he turns his head to me when he scores. I also enjoy taking a stroll with my daughter during which she will spill all her secrets of what happens at school. Kids aside, I schedule dinner dates with my husband for a great meal and talk."
Favorite Things To Do With The Kids: "Cycling, swimming, hiking, and bouncing off the trampolines at Ryze."
About Brenda: After working in the corporate world for 20 years, Brenda decided to switch gears and become a full-time mom to her only child. Once her daughter started Kindergarten, she decided it would be the right time to start Swoon Soirées, Hong Kong's go-to destination for unique partyware. When Brenda is not hosting playdates, she loves big wines, delicious food, and amazing desserts with friends. She is also an avid tennis player and party planner.
Top Tip For A Healthy Work-Life Balance: "We had made some important decisions about the structure of the business early on to help maintain a quality work/life balance. That included starting an online business vs. a brick & mortar store. Keeping inventory close by to reduce time away from home while increasing the speed of delivery to our clients. And, finally ensuring global connectivity to allow us to spend summers outside of Hong Kong with family and still deliver a seamless customer experience."
Favorite Things To Do With The Kids: "Throw a party just because: as you can imagine, we are big fans of a good party. We love hosting mini parties for just about anything in our house. "It's Tuesday, invite the neighbor kids over! It a cotton candy party." Have a sunset picnic on the beach. We have a favorite picnic blanket and love nothing else than to combine that with some gorgeous nibbles, special beverages (for all ages!), and some great friends. Scooter around Hong Kong. Turns out, scooters aren't just fun for the kids. We have procured adult scooters, too, and have a hoot weaving our way around the waterfront, circling Disney's Inspiration Lake, or through a local country park."
About Marie: Marie's career began in the communications, sales, and events sector, working across Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and Canada. After her daughter Arabelle, she found herself in need of flexible yet challenging work and little to no options to choose from. In between juggling a few jobs and raising Arabelle, Marie realized many parents in Hong Kong are talented professionals who would jump at the opportunity to work a flexible yet fulfilling job and achieve a better work-life balance. This was the beginning of her new adventure, the birth of FLEXImums. Marie is now the mother of both Arabelle and a son named Jude. She and her husband Sebastien (whom she met in Hong Kong over 10 years ago) live on South Lantau and love the beach, camping, and hiking as a family and with friends.
Top Tip For A Healthy Work-Life Balance: "As a working mom, and certainly when working from home, it can be difficult to switch off and balance family and work. I have found that during this last year people have been tough on themselves or don't allow themselves to dedicate time to their children during the working hours. I personally believe that giving yourself space to be flexible and work around priorities will give you more family and work satisfaction. To stay sane and healthy it is, of course, important to take breaks, move (do sports, work out and go for a walk) and eat healthily!"
Favorite Things To Do With The Kids: "As we live on South Lantau we spend quite a lot of time outdoors. We love going to the beach, hikes, cycle, and bbq."
About Emma: Emma started Farmer's Market in Hong Kong in 2017 and expanded to open in Singapore in 2020. Originally, she started the company as a hobby business to bring in better quality meat and seafood for herself and friends, which quickly spread to opening a full e-commerce shop that delivers in two countries with plans to expand further across Asia. She's been an entrepreneur since the age of 16, so starting a new business for her was like taking a holiday. She has two children aged 14 and 11 who are growing up way too fast for her liking, but she's loving the change from kids to teens. She loves to support other entrepreneurs in getting started and plays as much sport as she can including tennis, squash, golf, and anything else she can get involved with.
Top Tip For A Healthy Work-Life Balance: “You need to say NO sometimes, which is hard when you first start a business or run your own business, but when it comes down to it you can't 'just work' - you need to have a life outside of work either through sports, arts, family, etc. So as much as you like to do everything yourself, as a business owner sometimes you need to prioritize."
Favorite Things To Do With The Kids: "I love playing tennis with my son who is loving his tennis and even though I can still beat him now, it won't be long until he starts to beat me. Then it may not be as fun, but I love that he still wants to hang out with me even at 14. With my daughter, she is more on the girly side of things so taking her shopping for makeup, clothes and just hanging out at coffee shops is more her style at the moment which is interesting because I think she knows more about makeup than I do at the age of 11!"
About Helene: Helene is a French national who grew up living in France, the UK, and the United States. She arrived in Hong Kong 27 years ago and together with her husband and four children call the city home. For the past six years, she has had the great privilege of working for Mother's Choice, a Hong Kong NGO serving children without families. Whilst working at Goldman Sachs, where she had spent the majority of her career, Helene was fortunate to hear Alia Eyres, Mother's Choice's CEO, speak at one of their women's events. This inspired her to make a career change and leave the world of finance. Helene loves to spend her free time with family and friends and to unwind, she loves running and hiking. Recently, they became a foster family and are now caring for a baby boy. She has truly loved the opportunity to care for a newborn again.
Top Tip For A Healthy Work-Life Balance: “Play to your strengths and focus on the things only you can do. I have learned to outsource the things that other people can do better or more easily wherever possible! More recently, I have also been much more intentional about blocking personal “me” time during my week for reflection and journaling, a habit that helps me to clear my mind, achieve my goals, and be more creative!"
Favorite Things To Do With The Kids: "After a very busy week for myself and my family, my favorite activity with them is our Friday Family Dinner ritual. We sit down for a proper full meal, “French Style”: with drinks, canapés, starters, mains, dessert, etc. Sharing great food, we regroup together on all that happened in the week. There is laughter, lots of opinions and debates, and great camaraderie. It is the highlight of our week!"
About Katya: After trying to find dance classes for her two sons back in 2017, Katya realized there are not many dance classes that are cool and suitable for boys. She is Russian and loves ballet, so has nothing against it, but she really wanted to inspire the boys to get involved with dance. BallroomBees was officially born in 2019 and it's grown to over seven locations across Hong Kong and is now expanding into schools and kindergartens. Katya moved to Hong Kong from London in 2017 where she had been working on Strictly Come Dancing. Her husband, Klaus Kongsdal, is a former World Latin Champion dancer and a coach to many top couples around the world as well as an international judge and entrepreneur. They live in Clearwater Bay with their two sons and love to cook, eat, and explore all of Hong Kong's hidden gems.
Top Tip For A Healthy Work-Life Balance: “It’s been really tough running a business during Covid as well as homeschooling the kids but I feel like everyone is in the same boat. I get inspiration from my kids and most of the program for BallroomBees comes from me trying it on my kids. Children love to dance and be silly with their parents so I encourage everyone to have a family boogie!"
Favorite Things To Do With The Kids: "We are huge fans of taking the boys to Minisports classes and camps all over HK, as well as SaiKung Sting Rays, exploring beaches and kid-friendly restaurants like Fritz! Disneyland, Ocean Park, and family dinners with friends. We recently got introduced to camping in Hong Kong which is incredible!!!!! Our Dutch friends took us once and we are hooked."
About Amelie: Amelie co-founded two businesses in the health and wellness space: AD MediLink, which provides medical insurance advice and brokerage services, and Healthy Matters, which brings trusted health information to families in Hong Kong through events, publications, and online platforms. She is a lawyer by training (in medical law) and became an entrepreneur by accident and out of her personal dissatisfaction with medical insurance and the lack of trusted health information. Hailing from Montreal, she is the mother of two young children and wife to Julien, who is both her life and business partner. Together they are building their two businesses and a life that is meaningful and aligned with who they are. They have lived in Hong Kong for over seven years and while they absolutely love it here, they can't wait to travel and see their families again. She is hoping that Hong Kong's vaccination program will allow them to travel to Canada and France this coming Christmas.
Top Tip For A Healthy Work-Life Balance: “Taking time for yourself. While I love people, I can only really recharge from getting some quiet and alone time. For the past six months, I have been taking all Saturday afternoons to myself to relax and do things I enjoy. I usually read the newspapers (I love the FT Weekend), go for a walk listening to music, or book a manicure."
Favorite Things To Do With The Kids: "I love building or creating things with my kids. Whether it's arts and crafts or a new Lego box to mount, I love the satisfaction we get working as a team focused on one objective. In the summers, we enjoy going to Shek'O beach in the morning (I'm Canadian and can't tolerate the heat past noon) followed by a delicious Thai lunch. In the Winter, we love going to Monkey Hill and walking along the trail before we go for lunch. On Sundays, we love having dim sum and crossing the harbor back and forth. The parents get their fix (coffee) while the kids get the excitement of the Star Ferry."