Mrs Pamela Tan has always been a big fan of board games. So when she became a mum and could not find games suitable for her children here, the 33-year-old took matters into her own hands.
The mother of three - aged two to five - imported games such as Go Away Monster and Speedy Eddy from the United States and sold them online at www.myfirstgames.sg. Prices start from $19.90.
"When I started playing with my son, and we could get him to take turns and carry out instructions, people told me I should import such games to sell," says Mrs Tan, who started the business in November 2010.
Like her, other parents in Singapore have identified online business opportunities related to the needs of their children. These Web stores sell anything from eco-friendly clothes and accessories, to toys and games. Some parents have even given up their jobs to go into the business full-time.
At least two mums have set up online shops catering to the eco-conscious. Ms Laurel Tan set up e-shop tinydipity.com this March so that her 2½-year-old son, Kyle, who has hyper-sensitive skin, has organic bibs and blankets.
Ms Tan, 33, whose husband is a private banker, ships the material from the United States and gets seamstresses here to sew the range.
She also sells organic clothing and accessories such as lunchpacks from Norway, Denmark and Sweden.
Best-sellers include organic bibs and blankets ($26 and $119) and PVC- and lead-free Beatrix NY backpacks ($66 to $83).
Similarly, Ms Sherlyn Lim, 29, launched www.myecobabe.com in May this year to bring in eco-friendly clothes and toys, mostly from the US.
Wooden teething toys start at $29.90 and clothes start from $39.90.
Ms Lim, who is married to a banking executive, left her banking job last year to focus on her Web business.
Before that, she knew little about toxic substances in baby products. About a year back, she came across BPA-free bottles and did more research. When she found that some products could be harmful to her two- year-old son, Matthew, "it gave me a bit of a shock". BPA is an industrial chemical found in many common products, including hard plastic bottles and metal- based food and beverage cans, according to the US Food and Drug Administration.
She did more research and was very attracted to the eco-friendly concept for children's clothes and accessories. "The industry is quite big globally but it is not so common in Singapore," she says.
Both Ms Lim and Ms Tan say they are not earning as much as they would like at the moment.
Ms Tan says earnings from the website are not enough for her to "put up my feet and be a tai-tai". Still, it has grown enough for her to have a 3m by 3m sq ft warehouse in Defu Lane.
Ms Lim says she earns less than $1,000 a month but has no regrets "because it allows me to be creative and I'm teaching myself how to run a business".
Temasek Polytechnic's course manager in diploma in retail management, Mr Samuel Tan, 51, lists some pluses for parents who start e-businesses.
"Online shops are a viable mode for parents as they can work from home. There's minimal time away from the chidren except, perhaps, when they have to deliver goods - if they don't use a courier - or have important meetings with clients," he says.
Online shops also save them from heavy rental costs, he adds.
Data from market research firm Euromonitor International shows that online expenditure on children's wear - the bulk of parents' retail spending on their kids - has almost doubled in five years.
It accounted for 7.9 per cent of the total market size of US$206 million (S$252 million) last year - up from 4.6 per cent of US$131 million in 2006, says Euro monitor's head of country research, Mr Kelvin Chan.
The growth in online spending has not escaped Avenue Kids boss John Keh, 39, who is pushing for more online presence for his five-boutique Avenue Kids chain, with an expected revenue of $1 million this year.
The outlets, including at Plaza Singapura and Parkway Parade, sell shoes and clothes from Japan ranging from $40 to $60 for kids aged from one to eight.
Mr Keh started two stores on shopping website Zalora in Singapore and Hong Kong in July. The local website directs a fifth of its new customers to the shops.
He says: "They go online to check out the designs, then come to the shop to try for size and fit."
He and his wife Charlene, 27, have two children, Nicole, 10, and one-year-old Jacob. So are their children allowed to wear anything other than daddy's imports?
He says: "I have the complete set of clothing. They don't have to look elsewhere."