Meet Mei Ling, the face and heart of Supermama, who a real-life super mama to her two lovely children started this journey with her partner Edwin. Their mission to create a mini refuge for the urbanites to appreciate a curation of well-designed and thoughtful objects has been running for eight years! What’s more? Supermama has grown from a single shop to currently three locations. Let’s learn more about it all unfolded from the start.
How did you come up with the idea for Supermama?
Supermama was started by my husband and myself when we were tired of the hectic lifestyle and not being able to spend a good time with our family, especially after the birth of our second child in 2010. Hence, we decided to take a year’s break and set up a retail store! Strangely, the name “Supermama” had been on my husband’s mind two years before the start of the store, so much so that he had it on his car licence plate. So when we decided to open a retail store, retailing well-designed goods, the name became so intuitive to us.
Did you start the venture alone?
I did it with my husband, Edwin. It was a joint decision and journey through the past eight years.
What was the hardest part in the early stages of the company’s growth?
The hardest part was that eight years back, the independent retail scene in Singapore was still young, and hence we had to create the market on our own through personal engagement by sharing of the stories behind each product to whoever that visited us then. Sales were not high, and many times, we thought of calling it a day. However, for some reasons, we could not call it quits as opportunities came to us at the right time and the turning point was when we were asked to set up our store at the Singapore Art Museum (SAM). We want to think that it was because people start to appreciate our concept and our passion for designing and creating excellent products.
Therefore, while it was very tough then, it was very worthwhile, and till today, this motivation continues to push us forward.
Do you think luck played a role in the success of Supermama?
I probably would use the word “Blessed” instead of luck. Through our journey, we were blessed in so many ways, the opportunities
Given to us, the customers who became our friends, our co-workers, the Japanese craftsmen and makers that became right partners and even the failures and losses we’ve experienced through our many ventures. We’ve learnt to count our blessings and realised that we would not be around without the people and experiences we go through.
How has the design and crafts industry changed in the last year?
With the advent of technology, access to design and craft will be more relaxed and will continue to be. However, it is still essential for one to physically touch and feel the product to appreciate its make and design. The tangible and intangible elements of the product are real at one’s touch.
Therefore, at Supermama we try to share the backstories of our products through images and video content, but we know that it is still best for the customer to visit us in-store and see and feel the products for themselves.
What advice would you give to a design and crafts company just starting their business online?
Be true to yourself. If you believe in your product and you are operating an online store, portray the product most honestly because ultimately, our customer needs to trust you.
If you are a lover of design pieces, head over to their page to visually treat yourself and fall in love.