And so, she decided to live the life she’d imagined.
Happy International Women’s Day!
The Year of Change
Being an entrepreneur is not just about what a person does for a living. It is a mindset and a way of thinking – an approach to life.
And sometimes, while you’re figuring things out, you have to make certain changes to fulfil existing responsibilities because life doesn’t stop.
So this year, I’ve decided to close the door on the health supplement and skin care business that I’ve been in for the past 6 years because a change is long overdue.
I’m getting a job while my entrepreneurial activities take a back seat – for now. The thing about being an entrepreneur is this: your mind never really switches off from it. There are always enterprising ideas and questions you ask yourself when you look at different businesses, like “Is this shop really making money selling just this? I wonder what their margins are? This bubble tea thing is not going away!”
I feel like the past 6 years of my life have been a kind of baptism in business by fire. As a lawyer, your knowledge about business is limited, even if you are a corporate lawyer. Your job is to protect your client’s interests, and to document, document and document.
As a business person, your job is profitability. It doesn’t look like a big word, but in many businesses, it can be illusive, even with huge revenues. You can come up with the most creative ideas, but if your numbers still say you’re in the red after your best perceived marketing efforts, then you have failed.
And yes, it can be extremely brutal.
But this is how you become resilient. And this resilience in business, somehow is transferrable to other areas of life.
While I am focusing on getting a job, I’m still doing the things I like to do like spending time with my family, my new Treaterrific! lifestyle hobby business, contributing to women’s empowerment and volunteering where I can (because everyone needs hobbies!).
I’m keeping my inner circle tight and kicking out the trash.
2017 for me, is about change.
Because how we change is how we succeed.
Why CSR and Social Innovation is Everyone’s Business
So in September, I attended the CSR and the Social Innovators Forum.
I had no idea what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised when I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Penny Low, founder of Social Innovation Park, an impartial, not-for-profit organisation based in Singapore that incubates social entrepreneurs worldwide to bring positive innovations to lives and societies.
Of course, the presence of Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, lent some
star power mega star power to the event.
I had never thought about Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Innovation prior to this, despite being in business for the past 5 years. Mainly because I had always had the impression of it being something that only applied to large corporates because of the extent of their influence.
But, at this forum, I learnt quite the opposite. CSR and Social Innovation is everyone’s responsibility. And to make any significant kind of change, efforts have to be made from the “ground up”. This means the responsibility is yours and mine.
Find out more about the inspiration behind Social Innovation Park and what entrepreneurs can do to contribute to this cause, watch my interview with Penny here:
Honouring Extraordinary Mothers with Awards, High Tea & Fashion.
As you might know, I have the privilege of being mentored by Claire Chiang, Senior Vice President and Co-Founder of Banyan Tree Holdings. A mentoring lunch turned into a mentoring afternoon because she brought us (me and another mentee, Amu) to a press conference at Jamiyah Singapore after lunch.
This is where I learned about the Exemplary Mother Award (“EMA”) and the Award ceremony that will be held on 22 October 2016. This year’s award presentation ceremony and high tea also comes with a Charity Fashion Show.
Every year, the EMA Committee receives different inspiring stories from mothers of all walks of life, races and religions and who have contributed to the community. Claire was one of the judges. These mothers have been extraordinary in being a role model for their children, by nurturing them with strong moral values, persevere for a better life and education for their children. Their exemplary attitudes continue by going the extra mile to contribute their time and energy through involvement in career and community services, without compromising their parental roles at home.
Thus, this meaningful event promotes inter-faith and multi-racial bonding and enhancing reverence for mothers in general. It also places paramount importance on filial piety.
This year, there will also be a very special fashion show by 3 local designers, Adlina Anis, Kavita Thulasidas and Sylvia Lim, who will all use batik prints by Batik Master, Sarkasi Said, in their designs.
On a personal note, when I asked Claire how and why she is involved in so many community projects, she told me that she learned the need for support when she was very young. She grew up on Race Course Road with the Malay and Indian community and her mother would often get her to bring food to their neighbours. And when her mother had a stroke when Claire was 17, her neighbours helped them out by buying food, for example.
This gotong-royong* concept of mutual help and reciprocity and the Kampong** spirit was how she grew up. I don’t think I’ve ever thought as much about the community around me until now.
Date: 22 October 2016, Saturday
Time: 2.30pm to 5pm
Venue: Mandarin Orchard Hotel, Singapore
Ticket price: $100
Guest of Honour: President of Singapore, His Excellency Dr. Tony Tan Keng Yam
If you’re interested in giving back to the community and supporting this meaningful event or even if you’d just like to make a donation, please contact Nora at email@example.com or call 6743 1211.
*gotong-royong is a conception of sociality familiar to large parts of Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia. The phrase has been translated into English in many ways, most of which harken to the conception of reciprocity or mutual aid.
*Kampong means village in Bahasa Melayu.
Serial Entrepreneur, Wife & Mother.
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.
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.
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.
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“.
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:
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.”
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:
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.
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:
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:
“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.
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.
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.
3 Lessons Learnt From The Ever Zany Billionaire Entrepreneur.
When it comes to hiring, personality is so important. And sometimes having one or two people to be “a little bit off the wall” thrown into the mix would be highly beneficial.
He also believes in giving employees second chances. There was once an employee who was caught stealing records from one of his stores and he gave him a second chance. This employee turned out to be most loyal in the end and discovered Virgin’s most successful bands like Boy George, Culture Club and Genesis.
Set yourself a seemingly impossible task and then strive to get there. If you just tumble along day after day, it may be good but not much fun. Set yourself new challenges to try and overcome.
Richard has a big fear of saying no and regretting it later. He’s never regretted saying yes even when there are times he’s fallen flat on his face. Cue the bet he lost with Air Asia boss Tony Fernandez and had to dress up as a stewardess on Air Asia’s charity flight.
Taking 11,000 child prostitutes off the streets of the U.S.
As a continuation from my previous post How To Break The Ceiling & Touch The Sky, One of the amazing women Mr. Anthony Rose has interviewed for his book Break The Ceiling Touch The Sky is Dr. Lois Lee. She has helped to take 11,000 child prostitutes off the streets of the U.S. Watch the video to find out how she did it.
This book has also evolved into an international summit of the same name. Its speakers feature senior executives from multinational corporations like Coca Cola, Walmart, Burberry, Kellogg, Spotify and so on. With opportunities to network with them and other business people, and a chance to learn from the best on how to be the best, it promises to be an amazing event!
Break The Ceiling Touch The Sky Summit details:
Venue: Shangri-La Hotel Singapore
Date: 29 August 2016, Monday
Time: 8.30am to 6pm
Ticket price: from $429.
To register, click here. By the way, I have 1 more ticket at my table going for $389. If you’re interested please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.