Be it family responsibilities or work demands, working mothers usually face difficulties when it comes to stretching their time. In the midst of everything, higher education and skills upgrading does not seem like an option.
Kathleen Godfroy is one such women entrepreneur who faces many challenges daily. She balances parenting and managing her cosmetics start-up company, all while pursuing higher education. A typical day for her goes from heading to her pop-up store in Tangs, to spending afternoons with her son and finally, rushing off to her lessons in the evenings. We had the opportunity of having a quick chat with her to find out more about her passion for cosmetics, what goes into setting up your own business and how she handles it all while making it look so easy!
What sparked your interest in cosmetics?
Growing up, I was not necessarily into cosmetics because much of my focus was on my studies. My interest in cosmetics grew when I was studying at medical school. Studying chemistry allowed me to understand the science behind choosing the right ingredients and creating a product and that really sparked my interest in cosmetics.
What inspired you to start your own cosmetic line?
I actually began blogging with a desire to share my views on beauty, cosmetics, inspirational stories of women and to empower people to stand out and be fearless. Working with influencers and business partners made me more passionate about cosmetics.
Päivikki Väkiparta, a Finnish entrepreneur, beauty blogger and expat in Singapore was eager to collaborate with me and together we aimed to create quality products for everyone to enjoy at reasonable prices. We wanted to have a brand that speaks to distinctive styles and personalities. We put a lot of thought into our ingredients and colours which are all carefully selected. To constantly develop our quality, we revisit our formula yearly.
Use one word to describe your company and tell us why.
Love. I started it with a desire to build an empire with a sense of purpose and fulfilment. I have been with my husband for almost ten years and the company was built based on the love, passion and support I see in my own life. I hope all this translates into our company and brand.
Where do you see K. Godfroy Cosmetics in 5 years’ time?
Our primary aim is to expand in Southeast Asia and the grow the team with talented leaders. As we are quite new, there is still a lot for us to do. We need to be financially sound and we need to reach out to more partners to grow the company.
Besides your own line, share with us a few standout cosmetic products that you think are must-have products.
CC Cream or Concealer: It can hide your imperfections and can make you look flawless.
Lipstick: It’s my “cheat look” because even when I am tired, it makes me look fresh and lively. Putting on a lipstick colour that really pops, such as a dark red or brown really brings out my bubbly personality.
Blush: No matter your skin tone, applying a layer of blush can give your face more definition, adding more contour and making sure you look chic no matter where you go.
What was the biggest challenge in setting up a cosmetics brand?
Essentially, going up against the big players in the industry can be daunting. Not many customers will believe in your passion straight away but you must stay true to your mission. It is about believing in your own brand and knowing that you can deliver quality products at competitive prices.
What is it like juggling your cosmetics line, your family and further studies?
Furthering my education in the form of an MBA with PSB Academy is very important for me and I make time for it on a few week nights. I wake up as early as six in the morning to have breakfast with my son. Then I visit our retail store at Tangs, Vivocity everyday. I use my lunch and afternoon tea breaks to catch up on my work or assignments. After a quick gym session, I head home at 5pm. On the way, I sometimes do my grocery shopping. I spend the evenings with my son and after he heads to bed I continue reading for class and/or continue to work on K. Godfroy Cosmetics.
How do you make time for your child and manage your workflow and studies at the same time?
Having a positive mindset helps me manage my day so that it is not just a mundane routine. I have also learned to multitask and balance my time between personal needs and responsibilities. My son’s nanny has been working with us since he was just two months old and we are very lucky to have her. With her help, I have been able to focus on my work when I must and come home to spend time with my family without the house work stressing me out unnecessarily. Without a trusted and helpful nanny, it would be impossible for me to manage everything.
Do you get to have enough relaxation/me-time?
Yes, I make it a point to get some me-time, either by exercising to de-stress or getting a cup of coffee alone. I also meet a few friends occasionally and I plan my family holidays 6 months in advance to budget our finances and to reserve time for the family.
What advice do you have for mums who want to start their own business?
Start with getting inspired; read up on successful businesses and learn from their failures, challenges, rejections and successes. Use these stories to piece together your own goals and business plans. Self-awareness and self-improvement are also crucial. One of the main reasons I am doing an MBA is to complement my business growth. At PSB Academy, I have learned so much about strategic decisions, corporate governance, and business planning. I believe it would help me develop my start-up and equip me with valuable skills. Also, organise your schedule and prioritise your time. We all have the same 24 hours in a day and once you learn how to prioritise, starting a business while looking after your family is possible.
Do not be afraid to ask for help. Your family, friends, or spouse would be more than willing to support you, so learn to reach out. When I was at PSB Academy, I was able to seek help from my lecturers and mentors and bounce off ideas for my business. In terms of expanding our company, I am always on the look out for people who share the same vision and goals as me.
Find out more about K.Godfroy Cosmetics here.