Helen Lo and Wing Cheung are both members of Good Lab. They co-founded ohmykids back in 2012. They used to work at home, until a few months ago when they were introduced to the Good Lab and joined as a startup member. Here they ran into many new faces and found many new business opportunities. We have an interview with them recently, to learn about the stories behind ohmykids.
The 4 Million dollar challenge
A few years ago, Lee Lai Shan – the first ever Olympic gold medal winner from Hong Kong – was featured in a TV commercial. She said it will take 4 million Hong Kong dollars to raise a kid in Hong Kong. Many people take it as a truth, some even decided not to give birth to children as they were afraid that they will not be able to afford such a high price.
But is that true? Is there only one way to raise a kid?
(photo from a Toy Swapping event at Good Lab)
Wing believes that the answer is no. As a young mother of two young daughters, she believes that there are many choices in this world. One does not need to take what the media portrait as the one and only way, and alternatives do exist.
That said, Wing still lives in the city and she buys baby products as many other mothers do. She was often asked by her friends with questions like “what baby powder shall I buy”, “which diaper product is the best for my kids”, etc. She would be spending some ten or fifteen minutes to explain each time asked. But there must be some more efficient ways to do that, thought Wing. So she turned to the Internet, learned the basic skills of building a website and launched ohmykids, a product review website for baby products.
It is still very rudimentary, but Wing and Helen have bigger ideas – they are aiming at more than an Openrice for baby products.
“We hope that this could become a platform for young parents to share information about raising their kids and a platform for them to exchange idled resources like prams or children’ toys among themselves."
In fact, around 40% of young parents in Hong Kong own or once owned more than three prams – according to ohmykids’ survey with 1000 parents this summer. Not that they are hungry after prams. They just didn’t know where to find the right information to help guide them in buying decisions. This comes with a huge price, both for the pocket and for the environment, as prams are often thrown away as the bady grows up. While at the same time, many low income families could not afford even a single pram.
Helen believes that this is a problem of unevenly distributed resources. And she decided to solve this issue with her little website.
A thousand paths for a thousand kids
Besides providing information about prams and baby powder, Helen and Wing identified yet another thorny issue in today’s Hong Kong. If you look around, you would find many young parents complaining that they don’t have time to look after their kids. They thought it is solely the tasks of school teachers.
And schools teach the same stuff in more or less the same ways. Wing is worried about this. She said she didn’t want to push back on the mainstream education. What she wants is to present other possibilities for parents so that they could broaden their perspectives beyond the noisy world of tutorial schools.
More than ten enlightened parents are invited as bloggers at the ohmykids website, where they will share their insights on alternative ways of parenting.
Making ends meet
Before joining the Good Lab, Helen knows very little about social enterprises. But here she is exposed to different social enterprises on a daily basis, and that inspired her to run ohmykids as a social enterprise.
When we asked her what is success for her business, Helen confessed that if they could survive as a business, it is already a big success. “It is not our intention to make big money”, said Helen, “but at least we need to make enough money to keep the boat afloat.”
So they organized many Toy Swap events, and more recently, they are planning to run a Nursery Room Charity campaign in Hong Kong to raise awareness for this much sought-after yet often neglected facility in public spaces. Go check it out on their website.