The connection between a mother and a child is a bond like no other, and as any mother knows, when it comes to one’s children, every moment is precious.
Esther Ng, founder and brand director of Lou Lou James, knows this all too well, especially when it comes to being a self-made entrepreneur with lots on her plate.
A working mom of two, Esther, like many others in her position, is familiar with the struggles of having to juggle a busy career along with being a devoted mom and spending enough quality time with the kids to educate and grow with them.
This love and devotion to her children is what eventually led her to founding her own children’s furniture brand to create the perfect opportunity for moms and their little ones to be a part of everyday practices and be more involved in activities together.
After browsing through Amazon’s infinite catalogue, she came across the amazing children’s Learning Tower but was left unsatisfied by the lacklustre design it had to offer—not to mention the hefty shipping costs that leaves much to be desired.
Taking from her years of experience in the furniture business, Esther decided to take matters into her own hands and create one of her own that would be affordable for the local market but still prove to be fun for the little ones.
Hence the creation of the ALTA Learning Tower, designed to encourage children to engage in daily activities comfortably and safely and the brand’s bread and butter product.
But building a brand from home came with some challenges, as Esther soon found that effectively communicating with the production team would be a hit-and-miss at times - with everyone locked up.
“We’ve went through so many ups and downs just to perfect a single piece furniture that seemed to be quite “standard,” she admits.
“The technical challenges that came from sourcing the best local wood and water-based paint to making sure that the best was put into even the finer details such as technical drawing and structure, logistics, packaging and customer service was a constant worry.”
Thankfully at the same time, it was also during the MCO that Esther was able to see how much that hard work and persistence paid off. “Many young moms supported us in getting the ALTA for their little babies and believing in our brand. The word of mouth that came with it was also a tremendous factor in our brand’s success and I’m extremely grateful for that until today,” she says.
When asked what inspired her to have the ALTA be the center of the brand’s catalogue, Esther says that there’s more to the ALTA than just creating bonding moments, it’s an instrumental tool that’s also made to enhance a child’s development early in life.
In fact, many of Lou Lou James products have all been crafted with the purpose of being more than just your run-of-the-mill children’s furniture, and more of something that can contribute to growing a child’s curiosity and promote an environment for growth.
“When we are prepping in the kitchen, your child is next to you standing safely and mimicking what we do, that’s learning! This is exactly where the child's early development moments are created,” preaches Esther.
She goes on to explain that rather than having them running around while you’re preparing meals, why not have them join in instead. “Teach them what food is all about, show them fresh colourful ingredients and have them sensory playing and trying a different taste of the food.”
“Their curiosity about what we do will eventually make them stay on the tower as long as you are next to them. And it’s a long but beautiful journey.”
Though many moms have been raving about the ALTA and many of Lou Lou James uniquely designed furniture that’s built to bring the family together, the unassuming would wonder why parents would even need to invest so much in an item that their child will very soon outgrow.
Hard to believe that Esther herself used to share that same sentiment. “I had the exact same thoughts at the time about baby products; they become almost superfluous in a matter of months.”
“But that is precisely why I put deep thought into our products to create something more timeless that can not only be used by my little ones but the grownups too. Every piece of furniture can be used by all ages with design that fits any interior even if they have outgrown it.”
Since starting Lou Lou James, the mom-preneur has already garnered a wide fanbase of fellow moms who share her sentiments as a mother. Not planning on stopping any time soon, Esther has expanded the LLJ brand to include a little something in the F&B landscape with the launch of ‘Lou Lou James – The Kitchen,’ a quintessential dining experience where your little ones can call the shots.
Despite having had a serendipitous career in the furniture business, the full-time job of being a mom is one where Esther finds her calling, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Once you become a mom, you see things so differently; It’s never us anymore. Everything we do is all for these little humans that we formed. Their happiness and joy, laughter, thoughts, developments, health and it goes on and on!”
“It’s truly amazing and magical to see them grow each day.”
Penny For Your Thoughts
How would you define a “good life” and/versus a “successful life”?
I think a good life would be more stress-free and comfortable, while a successful life is the determination to achieve what you wanted to achieve in life.
Advice you would give your younger self.