It started with my mother sewing felt food for my kids because we noticed that children’s play food for masak-masak [cooking game] don’t feature many local items. We decided to focus on food we commonly eat in Singapore — dim sum, local desserts, hawker dishes like mee pok — and close friends started buying them from us,” recounts Lianne Ong, a children’s book author and work-from-home mum, who also runs an online jewellery retail business.
Last November, the mother-and-daughter team launched Heartfelt Makan, an online craft business that sells felt food for playtime and celebrates Singapore’s food heritage. “Almost all our items are hand-sewn — stitch by stich — by my mother,” reveals Ong, who manages the administration, website and marketing. Their products are currently available online, some at Naiise stores, and can be shipped overseas. “When kids play with things related to their culture, they internalise it.”