GIRL TALK: Andrea DeCruz

Celebrity, TV Presenter, Actress, Businesswoman and Co-Founder of Galboss Asia

Meeting Andrea DeCruz is like meeting celebrity royalty.

gba1There, I said it.

It’s true though. I mean, I’ve seen her on TV since I was a teenager. And I do recall she was one of the most popular actresses at the time.

So of course I was quite excited to meet her in person – she is so easy to talk to! She’s also always smiling, welcoming questions and very kindly obliged when I asked her for an interview at Galboss Asia.

Having moved on from her acting pursuits, Andrea now owns CINQ Studio at Scotts Square and is a Co-Founder of Galboss Asia.

fb cover2

In this interview, I ask her about:

  1. Her inspiration behind Galboss Asia; and
  2. What were her biggest business challenges and what she did to overcome them.

It really is a privilege to meet people like Andrea and learn from her. Besides her acting and business career, I think it’s amazing how she pulled through from her liver transplant operation all those years ago.* I suppose to me, it also made her more real.

By the way, a friend of mine will be undergoing the same operation to give her dad part of her liver for his liver transplant, and Andrea and her husband, Pierre, very kindly spent some time with them, sharing their experience.  I thought that was really great of them!

*For my friends who are not in the know, Andrea needed a liver transplant about 13 years ago and her then-fiancé now-husband, gave her part of his liver. It was the most romantic story ever to rock the headlines in Singapore for sure. 

Supermamapreneur Sighting: Tjin Lee, Award Winning Mercury Group of Companies

Serial Entrepreneur, Wife & Mother.

So I met Tjin at Crib Society‘s Meet & Greet. I joined CRIB because I heard about it at Galboss Asia when Tjin was sharing on a panel. (I tell ya, Galboss Asia is like a gift that keeps on giving!)

IMG_20160816_122510
Us at Trehaus, a Co-Working space with child minding facilities in the heart of town. Yeah, one of Tjin’s businesses too.

She has 9 businesses, founded Audi Fashion Festival, Singapore Fashion Week and CRIB (amongst other things), and is married with 2 sons. She founded her first business in 2000 (Mercury Group of companies) and built it up to what it is today. Tjin is also the winner of the inaugural Singapore Tatler Young Achiever Leadership Award 2010.

I love that I’m constantly meeting all these great women, and particularly those that are supermamapreneurs in their own right. I have so much to learn!

Being an entrepreneur can be downright brutal at times. Or most times. And it’s really important to be surrounded by the best if I want to be the best. It’s not just about having the mindset of successful entrepreneurs, but also the support that is crucial to raising businesses. (And babies).

Women like Tjin show me that it is possible to have a vision, work your ass off for it and come out the other side, alive and thriving.

I’m really glad that there are more and more organisations and events that are about women empowering and supporting other women.

I’m excited to get to know all these very cool women better. And I’m even more excited by what is to come.

 

National Day Parade 2016

Happy 51st Birthday, Singapore!

Amidst the hullabaloo of the things we had to do on National Day and the husband’s exciting evening out with Singapore’s leaders, I have been remiss in sharing about our trip to the National Day Parade (NDP) this year.

Highlights:

  1. It’s the first NDP back at the spanking new National Stadium.
  2. Everyone was excited about doing the Kallang Wave. I believe I counted 5 rounds before it died out. The hosts for the evening had to move the programme along and talked through at least 2 rounds of the waves.
  3. This year’s performance part of the parade was amazing. The lighting, the props, the costumes, the storyline, the flying performers – it was really entertaining and relatable. Beatrice Chia-Richmond and her team really did such a beautiful job.
  4. The use of technology was awesome too. We had little wrist lights that were so high tech that the lights could be controlled remotely. Depending on the scene of the performance, our little wrist lights would glow gently, or pulse according to the music, in varying colours.
  5. We got to sing-a-long with our favourite National Day songs. I think this is a really important part of the NDP. These are songs I grew up with and fostered nation building. I remember at the first NDP that I went for, the organisers somehow thought it would be a good idea to introduce a lot of new songs, and then tried to make it sound cooler by doing a techno or super fast paced version. It just wasn’t enjoyable!
  6. We learned sign language for the song Count On Me, Singapore, so we could sign along with the hearing impaired.
  7. The funpacks were really cool looking and easy to carry. My son loved his red backpack so much he wanted to carry it home by himself.

I was a little disappointed that there were no Red Lions parachuting into the stadium or gigantic fireworks (only little ones) because the stadium’s domed roof remained closed.

But this year’s performance more than made up for it. The general theme was about Singapore in the next 50 years, and us getting ready for it.

This will forever be stuck in my head.

You’ve got to watch this clip with the flying unicorn we had!

It was so beautiful. It was part of a scene that encouraged us to dream and chase those dreams. I tried to take a photo but the photo really didn’t do this scene justice. During this scene, everyone’s little wrist lights were pulsing in the same colours as the unicorn’s, so they looked like jewels against a black velvet backdrop.

I really appreciate how Singapore has evolved and changed.

As a child, I don’t remember anyone encouraging dreams or any out-of-the-box thinking. It was always, “you must do well in math and school, blahblahblah. killmenow. Needless to say I always felt a little out of place with all my ideas. But I’m glad we’re moving forward.

To end off, here are some photos of us enjoying our day! Oh I must say that the NDP volunteers/helpers did a really good job. They were attentive and helpful. And even when there was a huge crowd waiting to get onto the trains at Stadium MRT Station, they managed to keep everyone calm and orderly. There was no stampeding and no one was pushing to get onto the trains. Other than the fact it was really hot while we waited, (this is where the fans in the funpack came in handy) I really have no complaints.

f887701c-42b1-4136-83c3-4215fa34f9ab
Walking to our gate outside the National Stadium
2d0caa9b-f4b1-4756-994e-03274656288c
Having some snacks while waiting for the parade to begin
957ba56d-0ff0-4f36-9506-fc6856d9e4d4
Daddy’s girl
a5011005-e0d5-453e-a2b2-8e8ce009ab0e
Me: “Smile Allegra!” Hence this half-assed-stopaskingmetosmilemama-smile.
IMG_20160810_001418
Family picture, minus Xaxa. There was no way we could bring her with the crowd and logistics. She did go for SG50’s NDP though, while she was in my tummy 🙂
64e6a0de-6f41-45a5-89da-af56f8dbbe16
This little darling was happily dancing, and posing and smiling and enjoying herself. There are not many photos of Kaius because he doesn’t enjoy loud noises and he didn’t want to do much.
f7359dfd-77fc-48f3-9c21-b3d2e0328558
The props in the air represent Singapore in 2065.
9b265486-b0b6-4c99-b56f-542770075090
Sing-a-long, fireworks, balloons and confetti!
ac25b77c-11af-480f-bc13-40732b24c11c
Sing-a-long, fireworks, balloons and confetti! Yeah that’s Kaius’ head and the bottom left corner of this photo and his little hands covering his ears.

Supermamapreneur Sighting: Sabrina Tan, Skin Inc Global

Family, Business and Galboss Asia

I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Sabrina Tan at Galboss Asia. She shared her experience with growing her local custom skin care company, Skin Inc, into a global brand. It is now in over 100 cities around the world through skin care and make up juggernaut, Sephora.

WOW.

I had heard about her success before meeting her through various business associates. And since I’m in the skin care industry too, I was very curious at how she did it.

gba2

Kudos, by the way to the Galboss Asia people who scheduled her sharing right after lunch. That was a good way to keep people awake! I’m sure there was no one sleeping since it was such an interesting and inspiring sharing.

I was particularly fascinated with her story because when she was building her business, she was also raising her family. Her youngest kid was only 1 when she started. I can most certainly relate to that. It is somewhat comforting also to hear that she had many challenges too before this huge success.

Having met her and if I had to describe her in 2 words, I would use the colloquail term “chilli padi“.

gba12

For my non-Singaporean readers, a chilli padi is a chili pepper otherwise known as Bird’s Eye chilli. It is small, but extremely potent and spicy. One small bite of this chilli will send an overwhelming explosion of flavour into your mouth, and it can be so spicy that it’ll make your ears hurt, I kid you not!

In that same thread, don’t be fooled by her petite frame. She is a force to be reckoned with.

These are the questions I asked her when I got the chance to chat with her:

  1. How did you juggle your business and your family?
  2. What were your biggest challenges in business and how did you overcome then?
  3. What was your inspiration for Galboss Asia?

Great insights, no?

I also asked her this one last question off-camera,”The skin care industry is so competitive. Weren’t you afraid?” She just looked at me with steely determination and shook her head as she said,”No. Don’t even think about that.”

 

The Husband, The President & The Prime Minister

National Day Reception at Gardens By The Bay’s Flower Dome.

The husband got invited to the National Day reception by the President this year because he’s a grassroots leader.

13894998_10153659073486479_6076602569440593541_n
The invite: With embossed crest and edges gilded in gold.
13939564_10153659073546479_5460950989550451548_n
Happy Birthday Singapore!

Here’s who he met:

13932884_10153659073701479_2133007549193463076_n
With the President and First Lady in the middle
13925296_10153659074171479_8626845718567220387_n
With Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Vivian Balakrishnan and wife
13912566_10153659074106479_2589489890488581333_n
With former Prime Minister and Emeritus Senior Minister, Goh Chok Tong and wife
13895337_10153659073586479_8295383638745888887_n
With Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law, Indranee Rajah
13907183_10153659074041479_7256287740104536765_n
With Mdm Ho Ching (the lady holding the glass), CEO of Temasek Holdings and listed as 59th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes. Yeah she’s the lady who made waves by carrying that dinosaur motif pouch designed by an autistic student to the White House during PM Lee’s recent US State visit. 

And he also somehow managed to take a photo with our Prime Minister:

13902564_10153659073831479_4119144971698284099_n
With Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong

So, so proud of him 🙂

Girl Talk: Elim Chew, Singapore

Found of Iconic Streetwear Brand 77th Street and Serial Entrepreneur.

Recently, I had the chance to meet and interview Elim Chew, Founder of iconic streetwear brand 77th  Street and serial entrepreneur. She was a panelist at Galboss Asia and shared her insights on being an entrepreneur.

gba11

Y’know having hung around the 77th Street stores in Far East Plaza as a teenager (uh-huh, I have the ear piercings to prove it), I’ve long heard hallowed whispers of her name. The boss of 77th Street is a lady, people would say. And her name is Elim Chew.

So when I finally got to meet her in person at Galboss Asia, it was a real treat. What struck me most about her was her easy manner and warm smile.

Here are 3 things she shared which stuck with me:

#1: People, People, People

It’s easy to start a business, but difficult to manage. As an entrepreneur, you need to be a good boss, then your heart and vision for the company can shine through. This is when your people will go all the way and guard and run your business for you. She has had staff who have been with her for 20 years.

#2: The Importance of Giving Back

Elim shared how she made her first $50,000 and then gave it all away to her church when it was raising funds to build churches in India because she felt it was the right thing to do. That money went into building 6 churches in India. A few years later, there was a terrible earthquake and those 6 churches were the only buildings that stood strong, so they were used as rescue centres.

This just goes to show you never know how far-reaching the consequences of your actions can be.

gba10

#3 We Must Be Driven By Purpose

“Driven By Purpose” is actually the title of her book and  I couldn’t agree more with this statement.

The “how” of finding your purpose is the tricky part to me, but that’s another story for another time.

Watch her video for more of Elim Chew: Life after 77th Street, her new book and TV Channel and her biggest challenges in business.

Elim’s current businesses: 

Fast Fast Delivery (I tried it, it’s good and reasonably priced)

Goro-Goro: Korean Steamboat and Buffet

I’m Kim: Korean Barbecue

Kokomama: Korean Snow Ice (“Bingsu“)

 

 

Psst…

Here’s what’s to come!

Y’know things happen in my life a lot faster than I can write. Plus, it was Birthday Week a few weeks ago, so I’ve been a little drunk on too much Moscato D’Asti. (I have not found a Champagne that I would drink over Moscato D’Asti. Though I do appreciate the different purpose of these 2 beverages. And yes the “D’Asti” is important. A moscato without “D’Asti” is N’Asti. And now I bet you won’t ever forget that I said this LOL.)

Anyway, here’s a summary of what I’ll be posting in the next few days, not necessarily in this order:

  1. Birthday FreakingAwesome Week
  2. Galboss Asia where I met and learned from the best. It was also held on my birthday so that was super! Look out for interviews with:
    1. Celebrity, actress, businesswoman and Co-Founder of Galboss Asia, Andrea De Cruz;
    2. Beauty industry disrupter, Skin Inc Global Founder and Co-Founder of Galboss Asia, Sabrina Tan; and
    3. Founder of iconic streetwear brand, 77th Street and serial entrepreneur, Elim Chew.
  3. My first Meet & Greet at CRIB with Co-founders Tjin Lee and Mei Chee
  4. Meeting up with Bandwagon Founder, Clarence Chan.

Stay tuned!

 

3 Quick Ways to Nix Negativity

Positivity Management

Y’know how sometimes you’re minding your own business, just going about your day and then somehow, someone decides to heap a pile of negativity on you?

Whether it is intentional or not is besides the point. It might be that they needed to discuss something with you, or they used you as a sounding board, or they were just complaining or commenting about something.

After they are done, you just feel like someone let the air out of your previously light hearted and positive disposition. And then you feel like you’re covered in someone’s shit.

Weighed

down

in

it.

YUCK. 

stop_negativity
credit: dentrepreneur

When I didn’t know any better, I would just take everything in and then wonder why I feel terrible later. I’ve since realised that it is so important to protect myself and find a way to deflect such negativity instead of taking it in. Otherwise my day is disrupted and the person who suffers is me.

Here are 3 fuss-free ways that work for me when I need to get rid of negativity to have more constructive and meaningful days:

#1: Body Boost: Exercise

Although it might seem like a lot of effort when I’m in the middle of work, I’ve really found exercise to be worth the trouble. It doesn’t even have to be a full-on work out. It can just be walking very quickly around a shopping mall, or doing jumping jacks for 5 minutes.

To quote Elle Woods in Legally Blonde:

20d37af25a9b55673b8d2460218c0ac8
Saved from: Pandawhale.com

“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t kill their husbands. They just don’t.”

Or kill anyone else, for that matter.

#2: Beats: Listen To Music You Like (& Dance It Out!)

Currently, I love The Koi Boys. I can’t enjoy music and be negative at the same time. Music has always been a soothing balm for me. Just 5 or 10 minutes with my headphones and I’ll be good as new.

#3: Breathe: Good Stuff In, Bad Stuff Out

Smell affects me very much. What I like to do is get a cup of coffee, or some deliciously aromatic tea (depending on what’s available) and sit somewhere calming with it for 4 or 5 minutes.

An alternative is breathing in lavender oil or any other oils that I like and/or have with me.

The simple act of breathing in the good smells and breathing out is a real quick pick-me-up.

negativity-quote