To many of us, our mother plays many roles in our lives: a teacher, nurse, counsellor, cook, personal assistant, alarm clock, planner, peace maker, secret keeper, best friend… and the list goes on. Mothers are often the faces we see after a week or month of hustling at work, a source of comfort and a reminder of what it means to be home.
But could you imagine if your mom was also your colleague and business partner?
This Mother’s Day, we take a look at the intricacies of taking on the dual role of mother/daughter and business partner with Lydia and her mom, Mrs Lim, the mother-daughter team behind Teaspoon of Love.
As far back as Lydia could remember, Mrs Lim has been baking and taking orders for her creations. “She taught me how to bake. We made cakes, mooncakes and cookies that were simple and rustic, using whole ingredients, never artificial flavourings from a bottle,” Lydia says. They enjoyed playing around with botanical pairings of herbs and flowers, and that’s where tea came into the picture.
Lydia has a burning passion for everything that is tea. “I had always been intrigued by tea, but the more I researched and explored the world of tea, the more I fell in love”, she says. She laments that afternoon tea as the English do can be prim and fancy, but misses the point of what tea really is. She describes tea as being just like wine, and that tea is very much about its terrior: the climate, soil, tea bush cultivar, cultivation method and processing methods influences the final tea product.
“We want to present tea in a way that’s natural, focused on the natural character of the tea, yet in a modern manner”
Yearning for a space to share their creations and love for tea, Mrs Lim and Lydia launched Teaspoon of Love, an online bakery and tea shop.
“We want to present tea in a way that’s natural, focused on the natural character of the tea, yet in a modern manner,” Lydia tells us. Thus, they offer a range of single-origin teas, each with a character of their own and direct from tea gardens. To complement their unique tea blends, they bake delicious seasonal confections to pair with their tea products.
At Teaspoon of Love, Mrs Lim oversees baking, operations and customer service, while Lydia manages creative direction, marketing and tea sourcing. “We also do work together a lot actually, like developing new products in the kitchen, and travelling and meeting tea farmers,” Lydia says.
She describes her mom as being very resourceful, organised, efficient and great with people. Their favourite thing about working with together is getting to spend time with each other, be it baking in the kitchen or travelling to their sources and learning about the history and culture of tea.
“We disagree sometimes but we always make it a point to talk it out, discuss and then see things from each other’s perspectives.”
While working together may be fun, Lydia finds that being in different generations creates challenges in the way they view things. “We disagree sometimes but we always make it a point to talk it out, discuss and then see things from each other’s perspectives,” says Lydia. She elaborates that while she has her own set of ideas, she keeps in mind that her mom also has her concerns from her years of experience which Lydia cannot see. Working together, they have both learned to be open to new things, different perspectives, and never thinking that one is better than the other.
When it comes to celebrating Mother’s Day, Lydia and Mrs Lim usually take a breather from work and go on a mother-daughter trip overseas. They truly cherish and enjoy their time spent together and don’t ever hesitate to spend more.
When your mom is also your business partner, you get the best of both worlds.