Today we talk to Ann Yeap, Founder and Mighty Captain of the Baby Isle at Squeeeze Me Baby about the hurdles of starting a business while trying to spend as much time with your baby as possible! Scroll down to the end for the great offer to try out these baby foods with a free starter kit and a nice discount!
Can you give us a brief description of your business and when it started?
Squeeeze Me Baby (SMB) is a homegrown fresh baby food business. We use the freshest fruits, vegetables and grains. Ingredients are freshly squeezed daily and packed into BPA-free squeeze packs, and are perfect for everyone, from infants to the retired.
Parents of today juggle many things all at once and may not have the time, resources or energy to make everything from scratch. With SMB, I hope that they are able to free up a little bit of their time, without compromising their child’s healthy diet.
I started Squeeeze Me Baby in 2015. It stemmed from a working mother’s concern over the lack of freshly and conveniently prepared, natural, nutrient-rich food for her baby in the market. SMB has since expanded and now offers busy adults the convenience of recommended nutrition intake from the fruit and veggie pouches, including savoury options. All pouches are made fresh daily without added sugar, fillers and preservatives. They can be ordered online, and we have an outlet in 1Utama.
What made you decide to turn your interest into a business?
As a new mom back then when I founded Squeeeze Me Baby, I constantly fretted over how difficult it was to find fresh, nutritious food for my baby, who suffered from several food allergies. I could never be sure of what had gone into pre-packaged products, so I resorted to pureeing fruit and vegetable blends for him myself.
I did a lot of research on recommended nutritional values and tried different flavours and ideal combinations. I would then share the puree blends with my friends and fellow moms. These soon gained popularity and my network urged me to put them onto the market. That was how Squeeeze Me Baby was born.
How do you balance your time between the other aspects of your life (i.e. being a mum) and being an entrepreneur?
After having a child, my priorities have changed so much. My family is now the center of my universe. My inspiration, passion and strength come from it. I still play a big role in raising my son even though I have a business to run. The biggest benefit of being an entrepreneur is flexibility – ability to plan the day accordingly.
But planning is key! I plan my meetings when he is in school or during his nap time. My husband and I do not have meetings in the evening as we truly believe that outdoor play time is one of the most important activities for our son’s development. Basically it is family play time! Real work starts after the little one goes to bed: paperwork, emails, strategy planning and so on. Once in a while, my husband and I do sneak out for date night too. During some weeks when work is crazy, we call for a rescue team (grandparents) for backup. We are very fortunate to have these great backups!
What challenges did you face getting your business started?
My biggest challenge was myself. I wanted to spend every single minute and hour with my son when he was awake. I kept delaying my work and lost focus. It was very challenging for me because the child had to be cared for and at the same time the new business needed my attention. I couldn’t let go. With great support from mentors, friends and family, I’ve learned to plan my time efficiently and be disciplined to complete each deadline.
Throughout this journey I have also learnt that with young children, there should always be time buffer for emergencies! No matter how well you plan, there are days where you have to drop everything and attend to family needs. But don’t worry, reset the plan and go again.
What tips do you have for others who are thinking about setting up their own business?
- Your partner should be supportive of your dreams. You need to work out together the economics of the family. Responsibilities need to be shared evenly and at times one or the other may have to sacrifice their own personal time and priorities.
- Equip yourself with:
- Playdates and activities for your child – you may be able to sneak a 30 mins for an urgent phone call or reply work emails during this time.
- A list of child-friendly cafés – they are great places to have meetings while your child plays.
- Support from family who could back you up when all else fails.
- Stay healthy, eat healthy! Being an entrepreneur and a mom is like running a marathon. It’s an endurance race and you can’t afford downtime.
- Dream big, start small. Baby steps first. Do lots of research, talk to people and hear their opinions. MY top 3 question to yourself are:
- Are you a hands-on person?
- Do you have the ability to endure sleep deprivation?
- Are you willing to sacrifice your social and personal time?
Follow your dreams, believe in yourself and don’t give up!
Find out more about Squeeze Me Baby on their website. You can contact Ann at:
ann at squEEEzemebaby.com