When Lianne’s family and friends’ kids enjoyed her felt food toys so much, she decided to share it with everyone. As a Singaporean, she thought that it odd that most kids in Singapore were not playing with foods they were actually eating. So, together with her mother, she decided to create a menu that reflects our local food heritage.
Play, cook and eat together this Christmas with our Masak-Makan Bundle. Little ones get to explore and create their favourite delights with lovingly handcrafted felt food toys, while mamas get a helping hand in the kitchen.
In this article we chat with Lianne – Founder of Heartfelt makan who makes handmade pretend play food lets the little ones explore and create their favourite local dishes.
We found that a lot of food for pretend play did not feature Asian foods. For children in Singapore, it just seemed very odd that they were not playing with foods they were actually eating. I felt that this was a niche we could fill. We also want to do our part in preserving our food heritage and hawker culture.
So I started the business with my mother, Janet, in early 2016, taking orders from friends before we launched our e-store in November.
Creating play food from felt allows a level of detail and texture that you can’t get from plastic and wooden food. A cut lime made out of felt can actually be squeezed over our Hokkien Mee, but you can’t do that with a wooden or plastic lime!
The first Heartfelt Makan pieces were felt-dimsum that I had asked my mother to sew for my daughter. When I saw that that food could be replicated with felt and still be so lifelike, I was excited. My daughter benefits from all the prototypes of the various felt food my mom is experimenting with.
My parents are retired, and this is my Mum’s business-hobby. We always say she will stop once she finds that this is not enjoyable anymore. It’s nice to see my father supporting her by helping to cut the felt pieces to the right shape and size. That is something very precious to me.
My work as a children’s author and managing Heartfelt Makan came about because I was looking to do something that I enjoyed, found meaningful and could be done around my role as a stay-home mother. Being a mother has offered me valuable insights to toy design and collaborating with other mummy-led businesses. It also has helped me figure out what makes kids tick, which is important for a children’s author to know!