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HAHANOYUME – A Mother’s Dream

Hahanoyume Mothers and Kids

Meet a group of enterprising Mothers that is behind this cute baby/toddler apparel product, Hahanoyume.

They have been in the market for a while now, operating on a small scale basis. We can’t help it but admire their innovativeness.

Now, when I first heard the name (when they registered to join our first business event in TTDI), I knew it’s going to be Japanese product related but didn’t expect it to be baby/toddler apparel. Visuals of cute Japanese inspired purses, hair pieces and Geisha dolls pops up in my mind instead.

Finally visited their quaint stall at the recent HerPortal jumble sale/bazaar event (WIM, TTDI, 15 August 2015) and was surprised to see a rack of cute kimonos. At first my thought that they could be for pets (yes some pet owners’ loves dressing up their pets in kimonos!) and as I flipped through the apparels, I realized that they are actually specially designed and made for baby & toddlers.

I fell in love with the fabric designs and judging by the texture and quality, I knew they were not originated from the local fabric shop. I then requested for children size (would love to get one for my daughter!), unfortunately they only produced baby and toddlers sizes…Arggghhh! #frownface

Since it is specially tailored apparel, they are clearly designed for comfort and seamlessly sewn to display the quality handmade product. The fabric is sourced and flown directly from Japan to ensure the authenticity and unique offering of the brand to Mothers who wants value for money products.

From the apparel to the specially designed (cute!) boxes, I can say they make great birthday & full moon presents!

It is my pleasure to get to know the power women behind this beautiful brand, and I knew we had to interview them to get to know them better. So we interviewed Majorie (M), Fiona (F) and Sue (S) and we really hope you will be inspired by their entrepreneurial story & journey to start your own product/brand in future and best to learn from those who have started it all!


HP: Hey ladies, thanks for agreeing to participate! Please introduce yourself to the members and what do you currently do? Do you work full day? And how many kids do you have?

M: Both of us are doing this business full time now. We quit our jobs end March this year (2015) just to do this. We conceptualized the biz idea when we were serving our notice with our employer. Another mom, Sue joined us in June.

M: I have an 11 months old daughter.

F: I have a 1 year old son with another one on the way!

S: I have 5 year old son and 1.5 year old daughter.


HP: What does the brand name “Hahanoyume” represents/meaning?

M: Hahanoyume means “Mothers Dream” and we chose that name because it is our dream to be able to nurture our children full time (means quitting our full time jobs and be our own boss).


HP: How do you market your products and do you plan to open a store someday?

M: We market our products through social media and other retailers. We had just signed up Tribeca in Bangsar Village to be our stockiest and many more to come!


HP: So how did this business or hobby come about? How did you first started and did you start with own money or a ready capital? How did you ladies decided to be business partners?

M: Well, it wasn’t just a hobby. It was the passion that drives us. It was actually my brainchild, having something related to Japanese concept and culture. We were actually stressed at work and wanted to spend more time with our children at home. So I resigned first and took the leap of faith without having any clue or idea what I was going to do next.

And then I had the idea of designing the baby kimono, and I approached Fiona to join me and she came on board. Sue came to know about my business from my blog when I was doing the soft launching of the brand and she was smitten by the idea and joined us early June this year as well.


HP: So where did you learn to make them and what do you do with them at first? Do you currently sell them? Where?

M: We engaged a local OEM manufacturer to sew them for us. We sell them via our website as well as bazaars.


HP: Do you have any best seller design yet?

M: So far we only produced the rompers. We will be launching our 1-3 year old range of kimono tops and dresses in early September, 2015. We will know by then what would be our best seller.


HP: Why did you choose to do this as a part time business? And what drives you ladies every day?

M: It’s actually a full time business for us now as we do not have other means of income when we left our jobs. So that situation itself fueled us to ensure that this business thrives no matter what.


HP: What do you aspire to achieve with this small business?

M: It maybe small for now, but we are targeting export market. We are now talking to interested parties in Singapore, US, Australia and UK.


HP: What kind of satisfaction did you get out of this business?

M: Literally, the business is like our own baby. Seeing it grow day by day and having great dreams and expectation for the business gives us the pleasure as its ‘parents’.


HP: How and where do you foresee the direction of the business you are in?

M: We hope to be on par with an internationally recognized brand with global presence.


HP: Any challenges or setbacks faced while you pursue your goal?

M: Limited working capital and Malaysian buyer mindset that local brands are inferior.


HP: What are your daily activities like?

M: Well, they vary on daily basis. I’m in charge of the overall creatives and marketing aspect as well as business strategy of the company while Fiona & Sue is in charge of Operations.


HP: Do you have a website/social media account for this business?

M: Yes, please visit our website: www.hahanoyume.com. As for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter it’s Hahanoyume.


HP:  What do you think about HerPortal.com and how do you think it can help you in your projects/mission?

M: We think HerPortal platform is great for Women & Moms networking!


HP: Do you have a superhero/or people that inspire you in your life? How do they inspire you?

M: All three of us believe in the Almighty above who will place us in the right place at the right time.


HP: What do you think of the challenges that Moms/Women faced at work/life these days? And how do you think society or employers can help?

M: Work life balance is still a myth in Malaysia, in fact in Asia in general. It will take a few decades to change employer’s mindset.


HP: You guys did a brave thing here. You actually left your jobs without an idea what’s going to happen next but pursue the business ideas anyways, do you have savings to fall back to (how did you prepare for this prior to leaving) and how are your partners paid in this business? And since it’s a startup, do you ladies already earn salaries, profit sharing or currently from this business?

M: I have sufficient savings to fall back on as I was earning 5 figure salary when I was working with the bank previously. We all have savings to fall back and we give ourselves a couple of months to prepare before leaving our jobs to pursue our dream.

And no, we did not pay ourselves any salary from this business when we first started – everything we earn we put back into the business. We did not get paid for a whole 1 year until recently.


HP: Thank you for your time ladies. We wish you the best in your future endeavor with Hahanoyume!

M: Our pleasure indeed and thank you for featuring us!

Story by , posted on 28th August 2015 in Inspiring Women

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