Spicy Lil Tofu’s founders Ana R and Lisa S on being mum-trepreneurs

Ana R and Lisa S have been working as models for most of their lives. Now, the founders of Spicy Lil Tofu, have put together their knowledge of the fashion industry and their experience as mothers to create a collection that represents them and blends style with simplicity.

On motherhood:

L: Don’t get me started on this question. I think the biggest disservice that women do to other women is to not tell the truth about what really happens when you’re pregnant and after that thing comes out. It’s not easy, it’s not pretty and it’s not a fluffy cloud every day.

A: I guess the first month after giving birth, you’re not going to remember anything. I swear, I couldn’t remember anything and I still have trouble remembering.

On their new fashion brand, Spicy Lil Tofu:

L: I think the real core of it started when I couldn’t find a plain black t-shirt for my kid, or just a plain white one that didn’t look like an undershirt.

A: Kids’ clothes tend to be very loud. My friends even said they just wanted something that wasn’t bursting with neon colours, and that didn’t fall apart after the first wash. We listened to that.

L: We started talking about it when I was pregnant – my daughter is two years older than Ana’s, and I was complaining to her about having an issue just finding clothes reflecting my aesthetic and what I wanted my daughter to wear. Even though my daughter likes very girly stuff, I wanted her to have basics too. When Ana got pregnant, she was like, “Oh, now I see what you mean.” 

On how being a new mother affects their style:  

L: It becomes functionality over form, this is the way to put it. My style hasn’t change that much because I’ve always dressed very simply, but Ana’s has probably changed the most. She was was very put together, while I’ve always been jeans and t-shirt – because I’m lazy!

A: My mum’s Korean, and you know, Koreans are head-to-toe perfect when they wake up, ready for the day. Now, my mum is always telling me to put makeup on!

Do you face any unique challenges as a mumtrepreneur?

A: Yes, I think time is one of the biggest things. And also, not just time but every minute you want to be with your child, you feel so…

L: Guilty! Mum-guilt is the hardest thing.

A: it’s when you wake up in the morning, you need to go to work, and your child looks at you with big eyes saying “Mummy,” and you feel like you can’t go to work. I cried the first few times. I called Lisa when I went to my first job. I was just crying in the car. I was ready to go, but I couldn’t drive off. It was difficult.

If you could give advice to aspiring mothers and entrepreneurs, what would it be? 

L: Don’t do it! I’m just joking, I swear! My advice is just to believe in yourself, and know that you can do it. You can figure it out. If there’s a passion you want to follow, if your passion is clothes or dog clothes, whatever it is, you can do it! Mum guilt doesn’t have to be such a central part of your life.

A: I would also say be prepared for it. Get a check-list together and see what you can and cannot get. Also, don’t be afraid to bring your child to meetings. Unless you’re going to a law office– I get that you may not want to bring your child there – but if you’re going to most meetings, you can usually bring your child with you. Just ask before attending, I’ve found most people really don’t mind. 

L: And if you don’t feel like bringing your child, ask for help! You have cousins, friends, a helper, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

A: Yes, find the courage to ask.

L: And don’t feel bad about asking, you’re not a bad mother if you ask for help, no one is handing out “mommy medals” at the end of the day. That’s what I learned after the first month. I would like to know where those medals have been stored. I didn’t get one, did you?

A: No.

In this Story: #video / #icons / #style / #fashion