“As a woman entrepreneur/innovator, it's important to have confidence in your ideas and creations. Don't undervalue your innovation or assume that it's not worth protecting through IP measures.”
How did Hegen come about?
When I started my breastfeeding journey 19 years ago, I had over 10 separate baby care products just for expressing, storing and feeding my breast milk. Returning back to work with a backpack full of different breastfeeding products was a clunky process. My breastfeeding pain points led me to think about creating an integrated system to express and store and feed through a singular bottle. With a swap of a pump module, storage lid or feeding collar, mothers can transfer breast milk within a single container with minimal wastage and mess. Hegen also creates other sustainable, practical and high-quality breastfeeding products that enhance the nursing experience between a mother and her child.
Find out more about Hegen here.
What were some challenges and how did you overcome them?
One of the biggest challenges Hegen faced was the need to protect its intellectual property (IP) as a critical component for business growth and market expansion. We overcame this challenge with a two-pronged approach.
The first approach involved using IP to globalise Hegen's brand. We invested heavily in securing IP registrations for our products and services across more than 35 jurisdictions worldwide. This early registration step allowed Hegen to enter new markets quickly and served as the company's first line of defence against wannabes, copycats, and counterfeits, particularly in the e-commerce world.
The second approach involved protecting Hegen's designs for quality control. To achieve this, Hegen also worked with international law firms to ensure that their IP portfolio was updated and ready for the next big launch.
These approaches have enabled Hegen to expand into international markets, maintain our commitment to quality and safety, and build a loyal customer base.
Any advice for fellow women entrepreneurs/innovators?
Believe in your designs and innovations and take the necessary steps to secure your IP rights. Remember that your intangible assets, such as content creation, marketing materials, and product designs, can be just as valuable as tangible assets. These assets should not be underestimated or overlooked when it comes to IP protection. By taking these steps to secure your IP, you can ensure that your creations become future assets and are protected.
Yvon Bock is the Founder and CEO of Hegen, Singapore’s leading homegrown mother and baby care brand with a growing presence in 24 international markets including China and USA. Motivated by her own breastfeeding experience with her four children and fuelled by her interactions with other working mothers struggling with post birth roles and responsibilities, Yvon was determined to create sustainable, practical, and premium breastfeeding products that would revolutionise the postnatal experiences.
Through her innovation of well-engineered products that marry fashion and function, mothers could pump, store, and feed their milk within a single container seamlessly, allowing mothers to enjoy and prolong their nursing journey.
Driven by her mission to serve 100 million mothers globally, Yvon also dedicated years of continual learning in lactation education. In 2022, she became an international board-certified lactation consultant, placing her among 75 certified IBCLCs in Singapore.