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Mom Talk - Kelly Fung

July 21, 2023

Kelly Fung is the definition of a career-driven mom. Working as the Fashion and Beauty Director and Editor-in-Chief of some of South Africa's top magazines has paved the way for her to become Head of Marketing at ARC Store. We stole a few minutes of her time to get some tips on how she juggles her work and  motherhood.

Kelly, Tell us about your family, your career, and how mom life has treated you.

For the past seven years, I have taken on big career roles, from Fashion and Beauty Director for Marie Claire magazine to Fashion Director at, to moving on to Editor-in-Chief at ELLE magazine. In 2021 (at the height of Covid) I took a big risk and joined a tiny team with a big dream; to start South Africa's first beauty-focused retailer - ARC. I never expected to get through the volume of work thrown at me and launch a brand during such a tumultuous time. Perhaps the universe needed to remind me that there were other things in life besides work and a career, and so another surprise landed in my lap. I found out I was pregnant. 


Mom-life, my biggest role so far, has been this unexpected gift that has turned my world upside down. Describing it as challenging is like explaining the ocean's vastness - it just doesn't quite cut it. On the flip side, it's altered my perception of life and what is important.

Have you faced any challenges being a new mom, and how have you overcome them?

My husband Ben and I decided to relocate to London, which had been our dream for a while. I now know that pregnancy-brain is a real thing. Looking back, I would never recommend taking on two of life's biggest challenges as a two-for-one package deal, but we did it! I look at Ben every day in awe and sometimes pinch myself because I can't quite believe that Issey and I scored such a hands-on, devoted husband and father. It's the three of us against the world!

Moving countries, a difficult start to breastfeeding, sleepless nights, and constant chaos aside, my biggest challenge is the uncontrollable grief in leaving behind the 'you' before becoming a mom. While Issey was a surprise, I am grateful that I had so many of my personal goals ticked off. At 35, I believe I waited a good amount of time to feel ready (or as ready as I could be) but I still struggle with that feeling of withdrawal and loss of identity, which creeps in even as one feels the ultimate joy in having a baby. I wouldn't say I have overcome this yet, but I understand it is part of the process for many women - especially workaholics like me. 

What does your daily schedule look like and how do you make time to be a dedicated mom whilst running a business?

We try our best to keep a steady routine, but babies are like schedule shmedule. Currently, Issey is going through her apparent 7-8 month sleep regression, so we are up sometimes 2-3 times a night. She will wake up at 6.30 am and make it known to Ben and me that the day has begun. She is full of beans in the morning, so we usually give her her breakfast porridge by 8 am and let her get messy in her PJs. She'll then have some play time and have her first nap at 10 am. The rest of the day is up in the air. We aim for two naps in the day and bedtime by 7 pm. Issey loves her bath time, so we rarely skip that. 

I weave in work throughout the day. Luckily, I have been able to extend my maternity leave for a full year but continue to work flexibly. Work is taking a backseat for the first time ever. 

What is Issey's favourite Sprout product, and why?

Issey loves her Difrax S-Bottle which she took to very easily. She has her morning bottle with her dad. The shape is comfortable for her and she easily holds it with her little hands. She also loves playing peekaboo with her Cuddle Comforter

Photography credits: Sophie Smith Photography