Power Parents of Shanghai: Natalie Lowe and Siu Tang of The Orangeblowfish

'We wanted to build something that allows us to be proud of what we're doing and that our kids can look up to'

Photographs: Yang Xiaozhe
Shortly after the pair met at a ‘really bad’ comedy show in Hong Kong, Natalie Lowe was transferred to Shanghai for work in 2007, and Siu Tang was hot on her heels. Fast-forward 12 years and two VIP additions to their family, six-year-old Aaden and three-year-old Tyler, Siu is the founder and creative mastermind behind homegrown branding agency The Orangeblowfish (TOBF), while Nat – aka ‘The Boss’ – is the force driving the company forward and expanding its reach.

On living and working together

Nat: When we first started working together, we had [two very young kids] and we were growing the business. We’re also different in terms of what we're like at work; he’s more creative, I’m more corporate. So trying to strike a balance between that was tough. It was hard to let things go after work, and there was a lot of unspoken pressure that we took from home to the office and vice versa. It took about two years to find our rhythm, by being mindful that we are sharing a professional and personal life and it's important that we have family time, our own personal space and professional growth for each other.

Siu: It can be really hard to switch off work, because we’re really passionate about what we do. It did take time to find our rhythm, but now when we talk about work, it is very much with our work hats on and when we talk about family, it’s very much with our family hats on, and we look at them both in very different lights.


On balancing work and play

Siu: It was as we were about to have kids that I actually started TOBF. We wanted to build something that allows us to be proud of what we're doing and that our kids can look up to. We want them to see that work can be [play], so that when they finish all their studies, they go on to find jobs that they enjoy and that they are passionate about.

Nat: What's been really great about our relationship is that even when we have arguments or we struggle, it’s always family first. Work is important, but we’ve always said firmly, it’s family before career. We have set boundaries and rules – like no phones at the dinner table and no work talk over dinner. We always push through towards that vision and that goal of making sure we do what we love, and that we spend enough time with each other and our family.


On parenting values

Nat: We want our kids to experience everything they can while they’re young, before life really gets hard and they’re pressured to do all their studies. We try to give them the most interesting unique experiences, whether it’s at home, our workplace or travel.

Siu: The first and only thing we really want is for our kids to have fun; they’re only going to be kids once. Obviously, structured learning and all that stuff is important, but we want them to have as much excitement as possible… [At the same time] we want our children to be grounded, so we’re very mindful to not spoil them. We work with them to show them the value of hard work. Everyone’s busy, trying to earn enough money to support their families and give them a better future, but [we believe] if you instill those core values in kids they'll be able to navigate life themselves.

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