Mum Boss Story: In The Business of Raising Healthy Kids

by Wonder Years
4 years ago

When it comes to giving the best nutrition to our little ones, there is nothing that will ever stop us, mums, from going all out until we find that one magical ingredient that would get their thumbs up approval.

For Lily Loh, it was the journey she took to break through to her little girl’s fussy tastebuds that led to the birth of her second ‘baby’. Lily is the founder of Lilo Health Food (SG) Pte Ltd, the company which manufactures ikan bilis powder under the Lilo brand. 

LILO seasoning powder

Lilo Premium Ikan Bilis Powder is widely used by mums to enhance the flavour of their little ones’ food with the goodness of premium quality ikan bilis. Also known as anchovies, every batch of ikan bilis goes through a thorough washing and soaking process before slow baking into a perfect golden brown form. The baked batch of ikan bilis is then grinded into powder form, making it easy and convenient for mums to add into their children’s food such as porridge, soups and stir-fries. 

Today, Lilo’s product range has been extended to include other forms of powdered food products such as mushroom, scallop and white bait powder, all of which go through the same thorough processing to ensure quality and great nutrition and flavour.

To find out more about the journey that has brought the Lilo brand to where it is today, we sat down with Mum Boss, Lily, as she shared her journey with us and her take on parenting.

WY: When did you set up Lilo, and what brought you to thread along the path of setting up your own business? 

Lilo Premium Ikan Bilis Powder was founded in 2017 when my daughter, Lauren, started to become fussy with her food. As I was looking for a solution to get her to eat and enjoy her food, I remembered how my late mum used to make ikan bilis powder for me when I was young. So, I tried many different variations of ikan bilis and went on a baking frenzy until I achieved the perfect taste, texture and fragrance. 

Seeing Lauren eating better whenever I add ikan bilis powder into her food was very uplifting and such a huge relief, so I can relate to the joy that parents feel upon seeing their little ones eating well and staying healthy. 

I decided to take baby steps to turn this into a business idea to provide a convenient solution to busy mums who want to cook up a decent meal for their little ones without compromising on nutrition and taste. And so, Lilo Premium Ikan Bilis Powder was born.

lilo ikan bilis powder

Lilo Ikan Bilis Powder was founded by Lily in 2017, as she was looking for a solution to tackle the fussy tastebuds of her daughter, Lauren.

WY: How would you describe your parenting style? 

I’m a relatively chill mum, so I don’t really drill or fret whether Lauren is hitting her milestones on time. I believe that just as every flower blooms at a different pace, every child develops differently as well.

To me, what’s more important is that we instill good values and morals in her, as we want her to grow up with a heart filled with kindness and become someone who values the importance of sharing and caring for others.

One of the things I treasure the most is the time spent bonding with Lauren, as we make time to go to parks or cycle together. To me, the best thing about memories is making them. 

WY: What’s the most fulfilling thing you have experienced as a parent?

I think parenting is a journey and every day is a gift. I’ve learnt to enjoy the little moments of joy with our little girl, from having her little arms wrapped around my neck when she hugs me to watching the twinkle in her eyes when she smiles.

Watching her grow up to be happy and healthy is the most fulfilling thing I’ve experienced as a parent.

WY: What are some of the key values or beliefs that define who you are, and how did you apply these to your business and the way you raise your family?

“Do good and be good”

That’s the one-liner that I live by and apply, be it as a parent or business owner.

Apart from manufacturing our own food powders to help parents in their cooking, Lilo is also a platform for parents to share their recipes and ideas, as they help each other out.

Today, Lilo has a strong following of 16,000 users on Instagram and nearly 10,000 on Facebook, with more than 2,000 recipes for meal ideas shared by parents who have used our products.

As parents, we are always searching for inspiration for our meal planning and cooking, and so Lilo enables parents to share and learn from each other by building a caring community. Some of our parents have also shared meal preparation hacks that are especially useful for those busy weekdays, such as by batch freezing meats marinated with Lilo so they can just reach out for these and cook during the week. 

WY: As a mum, a wife and a mumpreneur, what are some challenges that you struggle with and how do you overcome them? 

The main challenge would be (and always will be) to strike a balance between family time and work commitments. 

Being a mumpreneur, one might have the privilege of enjoying flexible work hours, but this may also mean that you’d have to sacrifice more of your time to make the business work. After all, we are a small local business that does everything from scratch and we have many shoes to fill. 

With this, I’d always have to plan in advance on the things that I want to achieve or get done at work (e.g. product photoshoots or online marketing) while also deciding what to cook for my family. To overcome this, you’d need to step up and ask for help when the situation calls for it, and to learn to delegate the right job to the right person.

lilo ikan bilis powder

Lily and her beautiful family.

WY: Complete this sentence: Life as a mumpreneur is ____ because ______.

Life as a mumpreneur is fulfilling and challenging because satisfaction comes in the form of being able to balance between family and work. 

WY: What advice would you give to other mums who are contemplating leaving their full-time job to start their own business?

The first thing to do is to plan your finances and then decide how you are going to manage your time between work and the family. It is important to consider the liabilities that you have, for example, housing, insurance, school fees and other daily needs, and whether you will be able to pay for them as you give your business some time to grow.

Another thing to do is to decide who will take care of your kids during the high key periods of your business (e.g. festive seasons or in Lilo’s case, when we participate in baby fairs). Discuss this aspect with your spouse and let him know what you aim to achieve and how he can help you out during these crucial periods. 

A big thank you from Wonder Years to Lily for sharing her journey in parenting and as a mumpreneur with us! 

Heads up! We will be running a Wonder Years X LILO Giveaway.

Contest runs from 23 March to 12 April 2020 – do look out for our Facebook post on Wonder Years FB page.