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Mimi Chan is the founder of Littlefund, a modern gifting platform that allows you to send and receive the gift of savings for your children. This summer, Mimi actually had the opportunity to officially announce the launch of Littlefund at the NYSE with Cheddar TV. It's such a smart idea, and helps to decrease waste with more mindful giving. Read on to discover more!
Hi Mimi! We're big fans of Littlefund and love that you promote investing in those who matter the most for the future - children. What inspired you to start Littlefund from the get-go?
I was inspired to start Littlefund after my daughter Liv was born a few years ago. Though I was appreciative of material gifts I received from family and friends, many went donated or unused. I felt guilty. As I talked to other families, I kept hearing the same frustrations — billions of dollars spent on gifting each year end up in landfills, especially toys and clothing. The statistics were too alarming to ignore. For me, having a more mindful and useful way to gift would redirect those resources into ways that helped our children live their best lives. It seemed like a no-brainer when I thought about every parent being able to easily have a fund for our children's goals and dreams. That way our village could join together easily and gift with real purpose.
Please explain what Littlefund is and how it works? With #giftingseason in full swing, what are your suggestions or ideas for gifting little ones?
Littlefund is the easiest way to send and receive the gift of savings for children. When you give a Littlefund gift, you send a financial contribution of your choice towards a goal for a child. You can even suggest a goal if you have a fun idea you want to share with them. We've seen Littlefund used for Gelt, Stocking Stuffers, Big Ticket items, Newborn necessities, Ballet classes, or Disneyland. The magic of Littlefund is that a child does not need a Littlefund account before a gifter gives. All you need is a guardian's email. It works like a gift card that gets redeemed by the family on our platform. Creating an account for families and recurring gifters is free. Gifts saved in Littlefund grow daily with 1% APY compounding cash rewards.
Let's talk parenting. As a business owner and a mother, it can feel like you're raising two babies. How do you balance being the mother of Littlefund and being the mother of your own little one, Liv?
More like three babies! My husband also has an early-stage hardware startup! So in all honesty, let's say it's been real, not chill. I used to think I was "juggling" these different pieces of my life (parenthood, work, husband, friends, home) but then I realized I had to stop trying to juggle and just prioritize. Juggling takes a lot of energy and isn't meant to be applied to life! So to compare my life to a bunch of balls thrown in the air is setting myself up for failure. Life is more complicated than that. Juggling requires the constant and extreme pressure of upholding a consistent range of motion, distance, and force between x amount of balls. You're bound to burn out because it's physically impossible to sustain that act for a long period of time. Instead, I am setting boundaries for myself to be most useful. It gives me a structure to follow for my days. Essentially, I give myself permission to switch roles and not feel guilty when a certain time or day hits. An example of this is M-F from 9 am to 5:30 pm my focus is work. Then after, I switch to Mommy mode, and work is no longer my active state. Post-bedtime with my daughter, I allow myself the flexibility to choose between Work, Me, or Wife mode. For weekends, I make family or friends time, and work is at the bottom of the list. The other critical thing that makes this all work for me is my husband. I truly am grateful I have a partner that has leaned in hard for me. One of my favorite quotes is "Marry the right person. This one decision will determine 90% of your happiness or misery.' H. Jackson Brown J
What is your biggest piece of advice for working moms, especially for those that are starting their own business ventures during motherhood?
1. Surround yourself with a strong support system, whether it's child care, life partner, friends, or family. And don't feel guilty to lean on them.
2. Don't forget why you're doing this-- for your family but that also means you can't forget about them.
3. Make sure this is what you want to do, and you're fulfilled since it's going to be a very rough and long journey. Any time spent on something that makes you unhappy is going to be visible to your children.
With social media, and even here at PLANOLY, we attribute our success to the value of community and collaboration, specifically within social media. How have these values attributed to the growth of Littlefund this past year, and how has social media helped the brand grow as well?
With Littlefund, this is an area we're super excited to get going. Admittedly, we have yet to start on our social media outreach but know how powerful it is. We first focused on launch and feedback directly from our members. We love hearing from our members and pride ourselves on our strong support team. With our newly launched referral program for families, we'll be growing our users to new territories so it makes perfect sense now to begin investing in social media community outreach so that we can stay more connected, to more people, and more often.
What do you hope your daughter Liv uses her Littlefund investment for in the future? Can we expect her to follow your entrepreneurial footsteps?
That's the beauty of Littlefund is there's flexibility and room to grow! There aren't penalties or restrictions; the child's goals change for their savings. This was one reason our team built Littlefund. We wanted to give families (or children) the freedom to choose what serves them best when deciding where to spend savings. It can be long term or short term. The future of education is changing. I don't have a clear idea what it will look like by the time Liv is ready for college so for now; we've kept her Littlefund flexible. Some money is saved for future education- whatever that turns out to be. I include entrepreneurship in that category because experience is sometimes the best type of education money can buy. And other money is saved for immediate things like a big ticket item or a fun trip.