Although plenty of headway needs to be made in the realm of supporting and celebrating women’s accomplishments, great strides have already been taken in comparison to the past. Regrettably, one group of women have consistently remained unlauded – mothers. The choice to be a mother is not an easy one to make and to be deemed as a successful one often entails facing the brute end of unreasonable expectations. Furthermore, to be a working mother in today’s context adds another layer of challenge that many attempt to conquer.  

In our final installment of our #PorcelainWomen series, we want to pay tribute to these working mothers to understand what it truly means to succeed in maintaining the ever-changing balance between work and family. We spoke with a mother of two who successfully found this balance between raising her family and staying up to date in her work – modern-mum, Leanne (@loveforskincare on Instagram). 

As her Instagram handle indicates, Leanne is a fanatic of skincare – seeing it as a vital form of self-love. This perspective of skincare led her to discover Porcelain and remain partial to the brand. We caught up with the modern mum to understand how she harmonised her love for family, career and self!

Q: Many modern mums often find themselves struggling to balance work and family. How did you manage? 

The process of finding balance has been the most challenging yet fulfilling. When the kids were younger, I had help from my parents and parent in-laws. Evidently, this helped me a lot in the early years of parenting. Moreover, I find that in parenting, effective communication between spouses takes centerstage. Plus, a weekly date night always helped our relationship stay healthy and happy. Apart from that, I always find time to practice a lot of self-love. I mainly practice these five mantras.  

(1) Protect your HQ: keep your mind and body healthy and nourished. 

(2) Make Time: make time for people who matter, make time for yourself. Set aside some quiet time to reflect and heal. 

(3) See the world with grace and love: focus on the good, surround yourself with your support system and laugh a lot. 

(4) Forgive yourself: things do get out of control at times, don’t be too hard on yourself. 

(5) Go with the flow: one can never be too sure what the right and wrong choices are. So, go with the flow, make your choice right!

QYour role as an influencer often requires you to stay on-top of the fast-moving social environment. What has it been like for you and how do you manage to stay updated? 

I suppose when you view it more as a hobby, it takes away a lot of stress that comes along with every job. It’s been gratifying and enlightening. Moreover, I am often inspired by colors and visuals, so the job of an influencer allows me to utilise photography to gain perspectives, to pause and live the moment and appreciate our surroundings. That process allows me to feel extremely fulfilled driven – making this job a lot more enjoyable.  

Credits: Leanne (@Loveforskincare)

Aside from this, keeping oneself occupied and doing more of what makes you feel alive is perhaps the best anti-aging secrets.  I didn’t have time to dwell on aging! Lastly, apart from subscribing to social media marketing newsletters, I learn something new every day through interactions with fellow industry friends and professionals at events and press trips. 

 Q: Another difficulty that many modern mums face is developing strong and close relationships with their family and children as their attentions are often shared with work. Any suggestions on how mums can work on strengthening their relations? 

I suppose having family traditions really helps and it’s never too late to set one if you haven’t. We have regular gatherings, celebrations, annual trips with family and friends. It’s a huge support network we share with other families. At home, we advocate respect for each other and emphasize on harmony. It is important to give space, listen well and communicate your thoughts regardless of the position in the family. I find that helping children identify their emotions at a young age is very rewarding. Walk through with them what they could be experiencing, determine the emotion they are feeling and find the cause of it. Looking back, what I was doing with them could be essentially a form of gradual detoxing and relief of emotional build-up instead of avoiding it and having to struggle with bottled-up feelings later. Now that they are in their teens, I’m comforted by their ability and willingness to listen, share and communicate.   

Credits: Icon Magazine

Q: This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is Each for Equal, what does this mean to each of you?  

As the theme suggests, individually, we are all responsible for our own thoughts and actions. Being the only woman in the household, I do my part by raising my boys to understand perspectives and treat women with respect, tenderness and openness.  

I encourage them to share their views on social behaviors, school events, politics, books and games etc openly during family discussions. We end these sessions with our respective takes and a family hug. With each boy, we established our own signal/gesture of love and understanding and agree that in times of arguments when words fail us, we can exercise that (like a nod, a touch on forehead or nose etc). It is a sign of I hear you, and we agree to disagree. I hope they will learn to hold true to these values, respect and tolerance for people always. 

Q: To end us off on a nice note, if you had the ability to go back in time and tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?  

 Thank you. You gave your all. Keep walking and when night falls, we watch the stars twinkle.  

To all our #PorcelainWomen, thank you for being strong, authentic and unwavering in your support. We hope that through this series, you discover your uniqueness and hidden ability to pursue your passions fearlessly.  

💕The Porcelain Family  

To be a successful woman in modern times is no easy feat. Despite living in a First-World country like Singapore, the values that we operate by are still partially entrenched in days of old. Evidence of these values are clear when you hear relatives or parents telling you that you can only be deemed successful if you held textbook-defined prestigious jobs – doctors, bankers, lawyers etc. Mentioning that you were a professional in any other field would result in awkward sounds of agreement and raised eyebrows.  

In this installment of #PorcelainWomen, we spoke to a lady who placed her passion and health above the traditional path of success. Taking point from her extraordinary experiences as a Porcelain customer, she allowed her passion to guide her down an unconventional ride of setting up her own technologically-advance boutique fitness space specialising in the exceptional combination of indoor cycling and strength training. This is Sally’s story – The Unconventional Ride. 

Q: Entrepreneurship is a traditionally male –dominated profession, what were some difficulties you experienced as a woman in your entrepreneurial journey – both personally and professionally.   

With regards to entrepreneurship being traditionally male-dominated, I feel that that stigmatisation is slowly fading away as women today are well-placed to pursue entrepreneurship given the greater access to higher education. Personally, when it comes to experiencing gender specific difficulties, I have been blessed to have not encountered such challenges. Furthermore, the men around me have all been extremely supportive of my journey, which contributed to the lack of nasty experiences.  

However, I know that not everyone has the privilege of not experiencing these difficulties, which is why I believe that remaining true to yourself and having confidence in who you are can aid in rising above these pre-conceived expectations others may have of women.  

Q: In the past decade, the popularity of spin classes/spin studios have been on a rise and many brands have made a name for themselves in Singapore. What inspired you to create Axiom? 

Prior to creating Axiom, I was a private banker. However, after several years of immense stress, I developed a thyroid problem. This set me off on my fitness journey. Of the many exercises I could take up to help manage my health and stress better, indoor cycling was what I went back to consistently. The experience of entering a dark room pulsating with music, leaving all my worries behind in the light and just focusing on the instructor’s movements was what I needed. Plus, being able to feed off the energy of other riders really gave me a mental and physical reset. Every spin class was my me-time. 

Credit: Axiom

However, I felt that traditional spin studios lacked the option for strength conditioning in addition to the beat-based spin classes. That motivated me to create Axiom: where the team could create the unique combination of strength-conditioning with beat-based, data-driven indoor cycling. The meaning of Axiom perfectly encapsulates what the team aims to achieve with every class – to be true to the promise of form and metrics for all who attend.

Q: We know that Axiom’s founding team is pre-dominantly female, what has the experience of working with them been like? 

It’s wonderful! There is a lot of trust and support between us. While our deep passion for indoor cycling and fitness brought us together, it was our varied backgrounds, skills and personalities that enabled us to contribute towards Axiom differently. 

Of course, much like any other team of people working together, we defined our roles and responsibilities right from the onset. This pushed us to work at our fullest potential and make sure that everyone was accountable to each other. 

Q: This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is Each for Equal, what does this mean to each of you? 

Know your rights and speak up with confidence. The worst thing you can do is to be an empty and loud vessel. That does nothing but build stereotypes and slow down the cause for equality. 

Q: To end us off on a nice note, is there a woman that inspires you/you strive to be?

Credit: Alex Nemo Hanse

Michelle Obama. I don’t think there is a lack of articles that tell you how inspiring she truly is. So, if you’re in the mood to be inspired, google her or grab her book, learn about her struggles and how she succeeded despite them. 

To all our #PorcelainWomen, thank you for being strong, authentic and unwavering in your support. We hope that through this series, you discover your uniqueness and hidden ability to pursue your passions fearlessly.  

💕The Porcelain Family  

Living in an Asian country, we would venture to say that most of us are familiar with the experience of our parents drenching us in the success stories of cousins and family members. Now with the omnipresence of the Internet, this bombardment of success has been accelerated through WhatsApp Family chats. However, we noticed that most of these stories are focused on the same things: revenue made, the mental prowess of the CEO and how they struggled through to crawl their way to the top.  

Truth be told, we know that success stories like those aren’t always as they seem. They say it takes a village to raise a child, we say that it takes a group of wonderous women to make a success story. In celebration of International Women’s Day, we want to shed light on the success stories of women and their group of amazing women – these are #PorcelainWomen. 

In today’s installment of #PorcelainWomen, we wanted to pay homage to the lady that started it all – Managing Director of Porcelain, Pauline Ng. The success story behind Porcelain is not a new one – a mother-daughter duo fueled by the passion to imbue everyone with self-confidence and love for their imperfections. A plethora of articles have been written about the story, but none have taken a deep dive into the true experience of it all.  

We quickly caught the bustling entrepreneur to retrieve some sage business advice derived from the Trials & Tribulations of Skincare: her experience of creating a business that would set the beauty standards in Singapore. 

Q: Entrepreneurship is a traditionally male –dominated profession, what were some difficulties you experienced as a woman in your entrepreneurial journey – both personally and professionally. 

Truth is, I did not really face a lot of difficulties as I overcame the gender stereotype early on in life. I grew up surrounded by male cousins and did not have any female influences. Moreover, all my buddies are guys and I’ve been a groomsman once before! So I have been very comfortable around guys and still am. 

Credit: Women Entrepreneur Award 2018 

However, I know that many women feel the need to be exceptionally strong, especially against male counterparts. That may be true sometimes, but it is alright to go with the flow, to be comfortable with vulnerability, and find your own groove in life and business. It is important to recognize who you are as a person (man or woman) and find your footing in life, and stay true to yourself. A lot about business has to do with philosophy, how you find your purpose, lead and work with others, and most importantly to find inner balance.  
What you think, you become. Start believing in yourself and march to the rhythm of your own drum! 

Q: What do you feel it means to be a woman of modern times? Is there anything you feel people can improve upon to further support women and celebrate their achievements? 

We are so blessed to be born in this day and age, to be given equal opportunities, and the option to choose our own lives. Many of my friends chose to stay home and be with their babies and then chose to start their business when they wanted. If we must, let us celebrate the fact we have gotten so far, and let us support people – not men, not women, but people

Q: In addition to skincare and Porcelain, is there anything else you’re passionate about?  

I am passionate about nature, the grandiosity of the Alps and mountains. The splendour of the underwater world also keeps me sane. It all reminds me that we are part of Mother Earth. Therefore, we need to do our part in protecting it and not destroying it with our human ways as much as possible. Every chance I get, I try to go away to the mountains to ski or the ocean to dive. 

However, my truest, deepest passion is still music. My dad is a guitar teacher, and I have been listening to music before I was born. I’ve been doing music my whole life up till Porcelain started taking more of my spare time. I’ve studied and love Classical, love Jazz, and am pretty genre agnostic (Trance, Folk, R&B, House, Electro) but Jay Chou has a special spot in my heart. 

Q: Apart from your mum’s desire to help others find confidence in their skin, was there anything else about her that inspired you to set up Porcelain and make it a success? 

Truth be told, we started Porcelain because she needed a job and we had bills to pay. It was our way of finding a way out for ourselves, whilst doing it with integrity and providing value to the people who needed our services. The definition of success to me, is the impact we can make to the people we have touched – our customers and team, and the value we bring to our community as a result of us doing what we do well. 

Q:What is the most valuable thing/experience you have gained through your process of establishing Porcelain? 

My entire life’s learnings largely came from the introspective journey derived from my Porcelain journey. There were so many heartaches, so much pain, and sometimes it feels like it just comes wave after wave. However, from the ashes of it, I was taught grit, compassion, empathy and so much more. 

Q: To end us off on a nice note, what is one hidden power that you believe every woman has?  

I believe every person has their own super-power, and it’s not gender-specific. Every person is not made equal and everyone is unique. Thus, it is necessary we each go on our own path to find that superpower, and then in the later part of our lives, use that superpower to give back to society. 

To all our #PorcelainWomen, thank you for being strong, authentic and unwavering in your support. We hope that through this series, you discover your uniqueness and hidden ability to pursue your passions fearlessly.  

💕The Porcelain Family