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From blog to business empire with The Parentinc

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HSBC is supporting Southeast Asian parenting company, The Parentinc, as it fills minds and shopping baskets across Southeast Asia.

As an entrepreneur, turning a blog into a thriving business that does good in the world is some feat. Doing it when you face blockers over your gender, is a triumph.

This is something that The Parentinc’s Group Founder & CEO Roshni Mahtani Cheung draws her strength and zeal from. At the age of 25, a chance encounter while babysitting inspired her to begin the blog theAsianparent and she has since used setbacks to fuel the company into the publishing, media, product, and branding powerhouse that it is today.

The path to creating a leading company with headquarters in Singapore began in 2009 in New York: “A child I was babysitting was fascinated by my life in Singapore and wanted to try some traditional food, but there just wasn’t any content available online that answered my questions like, ‘Is it safe to give durian to a three-year-old?’

“I chatted with my Asian parent friends who consumed a lot of online parenting content but, did not feel like they could relate to it. So, I decided to write it myself and penned the first 1000 articles on theAsianparent!”

Growing a community

The company has always had one goal: to equip mothers with the tools necessary to raise happy, healthy, and confident children because ‘better parents raise better children, who in turn can make the world a better place.’

theAsianparent started out as a blog and grew into a content and community platform with a website and an app that are available in localised versions for Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

As the company’s success has grown, it expanded beyond being a media business, by developing its own safe, natural, and Halal-certified mum and baby brand, Mama’s Choice, and subsequently branched out into retail and distribution through the acquisition of luxury mum and baby store, motherswork.

Among the bestselling products from Mama’s Choice are the stretch mark cream and serum, postpartum corset, and almond milk powder. Meanwhile, motherswork is made up of over 300 esteemed brands and holds exclusive distribution rights for 20 global names including Avent, Joolz, and Stokke.

Championing parents in Southeast Asia

Having a physical brick-and-mortar store helped nurture a loyal community base for the brand that completed the community, content, commerce, and retail ecosystem that Roshni aimed to build for the parenting community in Southeast Asia.

Roshni explained: “We have built and brought together theAsianparent (content and community), Webtretho (media brand in Vietnam), Mama's Choice (D2C), Motherswork (retail), and Little Rei (a proprietary brand of Motherswork) to provide parents with a supportive platform where all their needs and concerns are addressed.”

The Parentinc now has offices in Singapore, Jakarta, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, and Ho Chi Minh City and employs over 300 staff. It is a company that takes pride in its community, cultural nuances, and women’s health so it has provided Roshni the motivation to ensure she is always surrounded by strong female founders.

Overcoming challenges

“Being young, female, and Asian — I would say that is the perfect trifecta of qualities for a budding entrepreneur facing a hard journey ahead. I started my company when I was 25 years old and people did not take young Asian women seriously back then. I went to meetings with 40-something male business owners who could not look me in the eye and would direct their questions to junior male employees instead.”

She continued: “I once tried to talk to an investor about Mama’s Choice’s best-selling nipple cream, and he did not let me continue because he felt uncomfortable using the word ‘nipple’ in our conversation.

“The biggest blocker, in truth, is being heard. It is not just about overcoming gender biases; it is about getting the crucial discussions on women's health and parenthood to be taken seriously. As we continue to push boundaries, my hope is that the value of our message will resonate louder than any preconceived notions, ultimately fostering a more inclusive and open-minded business landscape.”

‘HSBC’s support will help solidify our position as industry leaders’

HSBC Singapore provided a financing loan of USD $732,800 (SGD $1m) working capital to The Parentic under the new economy fund back in 2023. The loan financed 60% of the company’s operating activities across Singapore and Indonesia, and HSBC ensured seamless operations through cross border accounts.

HSBC and The Parentinc have similar visions – to support consumers and businesses across the SEA region. We look forward to supporting Roshni and her team as they scale their company, empowering them to fulfil their business aspirations.

Rui Xiang Tan | Head of New Economy Portfolio Coverage, HSBC

As The Parentinc looks to the future and a future brimming with excitement, Roshni reflected on HSBC’s support for the company’s future success: “With HSBC’s support, we aim to solidify our position as industry leaders in the mother and child sector both online and offline, ensuring that our offerings resonate with the changing preferences and needs of our diverse and growing audience.”

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