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Brave story- Claire Sumadiwirya

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Share about your business and how did you start it? 

Right after I had my first child, I was sent to Shanghai for a job assignment. Due to the heavy pollution in the city and his particular sensitivities due to a premature birth, he became very ill requiring us to stay in the hospital for weeks. In Shanghai, cafes are not located inside hospitals. Without family and friends nearby to help, I was exhausted and lonely with no immediate access to a simple cup of coffee or meal. If I wanted to nourish myself, I had to leave my baby alone in the hospital to go get food elsewhere. Then, one day the hospital staff surprised me with a cup of coffee and homemade soup. Their unconditional support and kindness inspired me to open Shanghai’s first and second in-hospital cafes so that other families could be supported with food and drink while managing the challenging illness of a loved one. When I returned to Bellevue, I wanted to continue my mission to blend coffee, community, and charity by opening my third cafe. I named it Bellden because I wanted it to be the den of Bellevue and designed the logo to reflect my son’s silhouette, to always remind me of why I started.

Were you ever discouraged from pursuing your career after being a mom either from your close family or friends? How did you overcome this?

I was lucky to have a lot of supporters when I started out. However, there were a few people who discouraged me from starting a business as a mom and also focusing the business on giving back. While they were all coming from a place of love and caring, they didn’t fully understand my vision. I constantly invited them into conversation with me and included them in the whole growth of my company.

What’s your biggest struggle being an entrepreneur + mom?-Has being a mom or helping you in pursuing your career in any way?

Balancing time between being a mom and a business owner is my biggest challenge right now. Recently, I decided to step out from my marriage of 12 years to find healing and growth on my own, and it has been a life-saving journey. I am also learning to let myself be not okay, and rest. Through these struggles, I have learned to be a queen of multitasking. I have learned to be brave and courageous when I see things are not right.

Any encouragement for moms who want to pursue their career?   

My advice to moms in business is to never let other people’s visions or objectives cloud your own self-worth. You are made for big things! Love someone else, like your children, that’s the most selfless act one can do. Use that love and passion for your career.  

Being a mom

The most rewarding part of being a mom is when my kids can independently accomplish something. The hardest part is when they cry for me when I leave work. However, I love that I can use my love for them to fuel my career and passions. Thankfully, with the help of my parents and friends, I have been able to pursue my goals and dreams alongside being a mother. It’s important to believe in yourself, your support group, and most importantly, your team. 

Always strive to find the time to be happy as yourself, not as a mom or a boss. Love yourself more. Way more. The fact you are a mom, you are a superhero already. If you have a passion for business, go for it. We are here to support you and you will strive on everything you do if you believe in yourself








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