This week’s That Mama is Sophia Loy; seasoned baker, business owner and mama of 4! The former graphic designer turned baking whizz is the creative mama behind Petite Bakehouse, the Upper Serangoon baking shop that whips up sweet treats perfect for every member of the family. We chat to her about running a business whilst raising a big family and keeping your cool in the process!
Don’t miss Sophia in action at the Mama’s Bazaar and Family Fun Weekend on 28th and 28th of September at Toa Payoh SAFRA! It will be a fun-filled day for the whole family organized by our friends at Mums At Work.
Please tell us a little about your business, how did it come about?
As a mother of 4 children I found that all of my children had very different taste buds and preferences for food. I was always looking for food, especially small baked goods that would please all of them (and myself of course). However, finding what I was after proved to be quite a challenge and so I decided to bake for them instead. Like most mothers, I learnt how to bake in my kitchen (which was always full of children!) in between the daily school run.
To hone my baking skills, I then signed up for baking classes and completed the Foundation in Baking for Bread, Cake and Pastry course in June 2010. In October 2010, I decided to start baking officially in a NEA approved kitchen at Whisk and Fold, where I rented the kitchen and started to bake and sell my goodies online. My idea was simple, to create petite (small) baked goods that tasted just as good as they looked, for everyone to enjoy at any occasion. With that idea, Petite Bakehouse was born. All the products I sell at Petite Bakehouse are baked and decorated by hand and each of them is unique (just like my children!).
As a mama of 4(!) how do you save time? What are your organisational tips and tricks?
Plan and follow the plan as closely as possible! It’s not always easy but possible with help from my husband and children. I always leave time for meals, bath time, play time, school work, rest and family time. Once everyone’s used to the routine, it’s easier for me to plan my business schedule in between all of the above.
Can you talk us through your career pre and post babies? How did you get back into the swing of things after having children?
Before I become a full-time housewife, I worked as a graphic designer for about 7 years in various publishing firms, like Music Plaza, ACP Singapore and Singapore Press Holdings. Once my first child was born, I decided to quit my well-paid job and take care of her full-time. Every 2 years I had another child until my fourth child was born in 2006.
For 10 years, my schedule was always so tight that I hardly had enough time to rest or have time to myself. Everything was for my family! When my youngest child started to become more independent, I found I had time to ponder what should I do next.
I never thought that I would become a baker. I really should thank my children for falling in love with baking! It not only helps me to have time for myself and relax, it also gives me great satisfaction to see my family enjoy my baked goodies.
How has having kids changed the way you define work?
For me, it’s now about making priorities and staying focussed. I finish my baking and go home to spend time with my family.
Do you have any tips for aspiring “mamapreneurs” and other mamas working in Singapore?
Never stop dreaming. Take the leap and move forward. Get your family involved in the business.
I wish I had more time for…
I always feel saner after….
A good night’s rest.
Favourite activity with the kids in Singapore?
- Swimming – we usually go to Seng Kang Swimming Complex for my kids’ swimming lessons. There are various pools and slides for different age groups plus it’s lots of fun for my kids. After swimming, there are a few restaurants nearby for us to have a meal at but my kids will always choose McDonalds… sigh..
- Cycling – we go to East Coast Park (near the playground) or Pasir Ris Park for cycling. You can rent different types of bicycles at both places for the whole family to use, plus it’s near the beach. There’s also plenty of family friendly restaurants nearby.
- Playing mini golf – we head to the indoor and fully air-conditioned mini golf course at Big Splash playground at East Coast Park.
- Seeing a movie – watching a movie in Singapore is easy as there are so many cinemas to choose from plus it’s kid friendly and lots of fun!
Favourite kid-friendly restaurant in Singapore?
- Swensons for ice-cream!
- Pasta De Waraku – an infusion of Japanese flavours into pasta dishes in a light-hearted and fun ambience.
- Peach Garden for dim sum!
Activity that I do not love to do but do it anyway because my kids love it…
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received as a parent?
Be patient. Slow down and let your children enjoy their childhood.
As a mama I wish I were better at…
Communicating with my children.
Do you have any tips for keeping the romance alive in your relationship?
Communicate with each other. Go to bed together. Talk about other things besides the kids.
I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about….
If it is time to wake up yet.
Even when my child has a family of his/her own, I’ll still…
Find time to have a meal together.
One thing I won’t sacrifice as a mama is…
Time with my children.
Which part of Singapore do you live in? Are there any hidden gems/favourite places that you have there?
We live at Punggol 21, which is a fairly new estate in Singapore with mostly young families living here. It’s still in the development phase, but there is an artificial waterway that has been created for families to enjoy outdoor activities. Gardens, flat paths and shopping malls will be built along this waterway very soon.
Ages/Genders of Children:
Liwen (girl), 13
Liwu (boy), 11
Lishuang (girl), 9
Liying (girl), 7
These gorgeous photos of Sophia and her family are by the super talented and creative, Hart Tan of Tomato Photo. These images may not be reproduced without prior permission from the photographer.