We had the good fortune of connecting with Rebecca Cheng and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rebecca, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I was always interested in creating something and running my own business. As a kid we were encouraged to be entrepreneurial by my parents and so I had a lemonade stand and lawn mowing business with my siblings. While I was working in San Francisco I started a small business selling homemade treats at a local night market and then the idea for tiny sponge was born when I had my first son. As all first-time parents, I wanted to make sure that I nurtured my son to be a well-rounded and happy baby. We bought stimulating baby toys and took him to story time at the library. One of the things that I noticed was that it was very difficult to find Chinese language toys and any kind of Asian cultural toy for babies. And so, I spent a lot of time finding cultural and language toys for him since I wanted him to see and hear his language and culture growing up. Knowing my passion for diverse toys I decided to start an online business selling the same toys that I bought for my son to other families.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
tiny sponge was an idea that I was finally able to make a reality after much planning. The business is still very small and is my main side hustle but I am extremely proud of the chance that I took and where the business is today. There are many things that I had experience in and many things I learned along the way. I am slowly figuring out social media and how to take better photos. I have utmost respect for creatives after having to run my own marketing calendar! What keeps me going is the feedback from other parents about how they have been looking for toys that mirror their life! And I especially love participating in events and interacting with customers, hearing about how they wish they had toys like these when they were growing up. I love that tiny sponge is able to offer unique and diverse toys that will allow children to see their culture and language in their everyday play.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We are connoisseurs of children’s activities in the area! For a kid friendly activities we are experts. Hitting up the Houston’s Children’s Museum or the Zoo is a must do. Getting a donut at Voodoo Donuts and then lunch at Mia’s Table. Grabbing dumplings for dinner at Golden Dumpling House or Dumpling Haus.
Day trip to NASA and then picking up lunch and going to a local park by the water.
Houston Museum of Natural Science to enjoy some much needed air condition and visit the dinosaurs. Lunch or dinner in Chinatown and grabbing bakery at 85 degrees or King’s Bakery.
Dim sum! Our go to place is Golden Dim Sum, great dim sum and no wait which is key with small children.
And then of course checking to see if there are any cool events going on in the city.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My parents have been crucial in cultivating our entrepreneurial spirit and they have sparked my interest in building and growing something of my own. My son was the true spark for my business. He gave me many late and long nights trying to get him to go back to sleep, providing me time to think about tiny sponge. And then my family has been very supportive donating their time to help me out at events and spread the word about my business. It has also been wonderful getting to know other small business owners in the Houston area that have been very supportive and welcoming.