Mumpreneur: Sharing Experiences Through Design

Goh Ling Ling of Ling Wu

Through the month of May, we are celebrating the enterprising spirit of working mothers in Singapore with our mumpreneur series.

Inspired by her travels, beautiful exotic leather skins and the possibility of turning them into timelessly stylish yet practical bags, Goh Ling Ling, 44, started her own eponymous label Ling Wu some nine years ago to pursue her passion for design and love of bags.

“Seeing the creation out of the sample room and having people want to buy your goods is very satisfying. Nothing is ever perfect, and we’re always chasing to do better, year after year,” shared the mother of three, aged 7, 11 and 14.

Having grown up helping her parents in their garment manufacturing business, Ling, as she prefers to be called, shared that the experience helped instill a work ethic in her, and running her own fashion label was something that came naturally.

“When my mother was working, I wanted to be just like her,” she said.

A Positive Influence

Sharing the same experience with her children, Ling has been involving her oldest daughter, 14, with her business based in Holland Village, especially when she shows her work at pop-up fairs.

“I think that it is good to have your children around [at the workplace] when they’re young because they get to see what you do. Her school is also just nearby, so she would sometimes come over after school and do her revision or even do sketching… I can actually keep watch on her as she enters her teenage years,” she said.

That influence has since rubbed off on her daughter, who aspires to be a designer just like Ling when she grows up.

“It [the interest in design] runs in the family because my husband is a creative director, so it is like a common interest. When my husband and I talk about design, we know exactly what it is. And now with our daughter, we can have the same conversations together.

“My daughter also sometimes makes sketches, and I would put them up on the board and sometimes use them in my work as well. It does improve the bond we share,” she said.

Ling Ling at work with sketches

Running her own business has been demanding, but it does give her flexibility in her time. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Tan)

Dealing With Challenges

“Working for yourself, you have to put in 150 per cent more effort. There are no weekends, no holidays. You’ll be constantly on thinking about the business. You cannot completely shut yourself out, there is no rest,” said Ling.

That said, running her own business allows her the flexibility to manage her time according to her needs.

Even with her best efforts, guilt from not being able to spend enough time with her children often creeps up.

“I just have to keep telling myself that it is okay and that the kids have gotten used to it. I used to work late, and but I’ve scaled back on that because I want to go back and spend more time with the children,” she said.

Ling Ling and family. (Photo credit: Goh Ling Ling)

Time Management and Support

Ling admits that there is no way to evade the demands of her own business, time management has been key to helping her strike a balance.

“Through the day, I’ll make sure that I have a list of things to do and clear that list constantly. Time management is very important because we have a small team here [one full time staff and interns], so we have to do everything ourselves,” said Ling.

She added that having the support and help from her husband and helper has been integral to making everything work.

“My husband would often leave work on time, come home and put the kids to bed and then continue working after. I would try to finish up my work early, then go home to spend time with the children. I try not to bring work home,” she said.