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Helping new mothers and making money is child's play for Zhang

By Wu Yong | China Daily | Updated: 2017-03-15 07:44

Helping new mothers and making money is child's play for Zhang

Zhang Haihan (left) and her club members at a mom-kid dancing rehearsal on March 7 in Shenyang, Liaoning province. [Photo provided to China Daily]

It was another busy day for Zhang Haihan, the founder of Shenyang Lama (Hot Mom) Net that provides psychological guidance, fitness services and parent-child activities for new mothers who need help. By the end of last year, she and her team gave support to more than 50,000 families and their revenue reached 150,000 yuan ($21,698.25).

Zhang said: "Every new life brings us happiness and hope. But mothers are often troubled by the physical and psychological changes. We aim to help them rebalance lives, learn new skills and gain in confidence. Where there is a happy mom, there is a happy family."

Statistics from Shenyang Health and Family Planning Commission show that the birth rate has kept increasing since 2015 when China launched the second-child policy.

Most baby-centered businesses focus on products such as milk powder, baby carriages and baby clothes, and mothers are usually ignored. New mothers born after the 1980s, mostly tech-savvy and internet-aware, are China's first generation with affluent environment, and therefore a major driving force of consumption.

A survey conducted by the China Women's Development Foundation found that in 2015 about 53 per cent of new mothers suffered postnatal depression but rarely could obtain professional service.

Zhang said: "At the very beginning, I met with a group of friends to lose baby weight. But I found many new mothers suffered from anxiety and irritability. Some didn't have a social life, possibly due to body changes and some of them even committed suicide."

Thirty days after her daughter's birth, Zhang organized the first parent-child activity and then a mom's New Year party.

"For many new mothers, they never get to wear beautiful dresses and dance. I'll never forget their beaming faces shining with happiness and satisfaction. And it was at that moment that I made up my mind. Helping new moms would be my lifelong dream career."

According to Alibaba's Jack Ma, happiness and health are major business opportunities. Zhang thus chose dance training and parent-child activities as the services her business would provide. And this proved to be a smart move. The past five years have seen an average 30 per cent increase, according to Zhang.

Mao Donghui from the School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University, said: "Female entrepreneurs must play multiple roles, including mother, wife and daughter. They need special abilities to balance the pressure of entrepreneurship and family. But if they can overcome this challenge, they may win big."

Zhang said: "The mother is the best teacher of the kids. We can only help them if we ourselves become excellent."

Zou Yumeng contributed to this story.

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