Believe in the power of community. On some days when you feel big goals are impossible, or when you feel like giving up, you need to lean on your like-minded community. You can even “borrow” motivation, and in turn “return” with your own inspiring stories to pay it forward.
In this special column called the “TLC x Fempreneurs Series”, we will be featuring inspiring Female Entrepreneurs (Fempreneurs) in short. You will be able to have a sneak peek at their mindsets and their daily habits.
Meet Hong Choy Yin (Tots Society)
Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi, I’m Choy Yin, mother of 2 active girls, Cherie (5 years old) and Rebecca (2 years old). I am the owner of Tots Society, a family-friendly indoor playroom and party space which is dedicated to little ones. We believe in creating a relaxing play environment for young children without the typical overstimulating elements or cluttered spaces at other indoor playgrounds.
Dedicated to families with kids aged 0 – 6, our cozy playroom provides a free play environment that is less about expending energy and more about exercising creativity, team work and social skills. As a mother myself, I understand the importance of having me-time, and thus our playroom also provides space for parents to chat or work on their laptops while keeping a close eye on their kids.
Our mission is to create a community space for families, especially mothers, to enjoy a relaxing and stress-free playtime together with their children.
What got you started on your business?
As a mother of 2 young children, I was frustrated with the small and cramped conditions of some indoor playgrounds in shopping malls. In the case of larger indoor playgrounds, I was worried that older kids might accidentally bump into my younger kids and it was also tiring chasing after them in a big space. Hence, I decided to look for a medium-sized space to create my own playroom specially for toddlers and babies where they could play and socialize in a safe, bright and clean environment. I also believed that there was an opportunity to create a social space where parents, especially mothers, could meet up to connect and let their children play together.
Before you started on your business, what did you do on a full time basis?
I was a Principal Specialist in the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) under the Women and Family Unit. I helped to manage and implement programmes and initiatives for women and family-related issues such as women leadership, women’s career advancement and work-life integration. I felt that my work experience helped me understand the issues that mothers are facing currently, and it inspired me to help them in some way.
What were some difficulties you faced in your life and how did you overcome them?
I lost my mother when I was pregnant with my first child, and unfortunately she did not get to see her grandchildren. She was suffering from terminal cancer and mental illness and it was a very tough period for our family. Shortly after her death, I gave birth to my first-born, and from then on, all my energy was focused on bringing up my child as a first-time mother. Even though I no longer have my mother to confide my feelings or troubles in, I know that I have grown stronger and can face any obstacles together with the support of my family.
Who inspires you?
I get inspiration from my daughters who are different in their own ways. Their boundless energy and imagination keep me excited about life.
What excites you most about your industry?
The most exciting thing to me is being able to meet with mothers of all walks of life, knowing that they all have the common purpose of bringing their child to enjoy playtime at our playroom. Making friends with some of the mothers and seeing the joy of children playing at our space keeps us motivated to serve them better.
What is your vision / personal motto?
Live life with no regrets and always look on the bright side of life. If we never try out something new or act upon our dreams, we will never know what is our potential and outcome that we can achieve!
Do you have any word of advice for other ladies who are starting their business / starting to pursue their dream?
Be prepared for a roller-coaster ride of emotions, hard work, sleepless nights! Discuss with your spouse on your plans so that you know whether you have his full support. Take the first step, and not be afraid of failure, and even if there is failure, it’s a learning opportunity and at least you tried! Enjoy the process of making decisions for your business and never look back. There is a sense of satisfaction and personal fulfilment at the end after reaching your goals which seemed impossible back then.
How do you think you can help ladies to feel confident and empowered?
I think it is important to validate and acknowledge the feelings and challenges of mothers and encourage them positively when they feel down. Motherhood is not just about our kids but also about self-care and connecting with other mothers. I believe our playroom provides a safe space for mothers to chat and provide emotional support to each other.
What have you learnt recently that you hope the other ladies can take back?
With the current COVID-19 situation, I learnt that there’s many things in life that I can’t control. I feel worried about my business and whether it can be sustained in such harsh conditions, especially with social distancing when our business is a social space. However, I feel that it’s important to keep our spirits high and remind ourselves that we can control our own thoughts and actions. If we always focus on ourselves and things that we can improve, we can shut out negative thoughts and prevent ourselves from falling into a depressed state.
What is one thing you are grateful for?
I’m grateful for my supportive family for letting me fulfill my crazy dreams!
What do you do in your free time as self care? How do you unwind?
I like to pamper myself with body massages, and a facial once in a while. On a daily basis, I try to unwind by reading or watching shows on Netflix after the kids sleep. My favourite time of the day is having a nice bath, putting on a facial mask, or cracking jokes with my husband.
Let us know more about what you do!
At Tots Society, we believe in creating a relaxing play environment for young children without the typical overstimulating elements or cluttered spaces at other indoor playgrounds.
Dedicated to families with kids aged 0 – 6, our cozy playroom provides a free play environment that is less about expending energy and more about exercising creativity, team work and social skills.
As parents, we truly understand and embrace the reality of multi-tasking and fulfilling that precious bit of me-time. Whether you need to fire-off a quick email, finish up your online grocery shopping, or chat with your fellow mum-squad, you can do so while lounging on our comfy seats and still keep a close eye on your little ones.
Come visit us and discover a relaxing play experience!
Connect with Tots Society!
Two winners can stand a chance to win a weekday playtime voucher from Tots Society worth $44. Head over to The Ladies Cue Instagram to participate!
Are you a Fempreneur too?
Connect with us – we’d love to feature you! Say hi to us at [email protected] or reach out to us via our social media.
Read TLC x Fempreneur Series:
- Alverna Cher, City Funeral Singapore
- Pearline Foo, Spring Breeze Marketing
- Evangeline Leong, Kobe
- Maddy Barber, Madly Gems
- Ezza Yusof, 2morrow Official (Malaysia)
- Julie Yim, Lilin+Co (Malaysia)
- Nadia, HelloBello (Malaysia)
- Zairin Azman, UMMA (Malaysia)
- Farrah Rahman, Hellokraf (Malaysia)
The rest of the Fempreneur interviews can be found here.