“Feminism isn’t about making women stronger. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.” – G.D. Anderson
As part of our International Women’s Day features, LadyBoss Asia gathered 23 women entrepreneurs and business leaders for a group photoshoot and to find out the special moments in their lives where they have been bold for change.
Be it leaving a stable corporate career to starting a business upon graduation, these women entrepreneurs narrate their personal stories that can be an inspiration to other women entrepreneurs and inspiring entrepreneurs.
- Diana Ong, Founder of The PR People 2. Anamika Talwar, CDO and VP of Sales & Marketing, Africa & Asia Pacific, Daimler Financial Services 3. Robin Lim, Co-founder of Made Real 4. Roslyn Teng, Co-founder of Made Real. 5. Yunnie Tan, Co-founder of Miraculove.com 6. Joy Kang, Founder of Eunogo 7. Gina Fyffe, CEO of Integra Petrochemicals Pte Ltd 8. Jasmine Yong, Founder of Sugared Asia Pte Ltd
- Cynthia Siantar, Co-founder of Call Levels 10. Eileen Chan, Co-founder of Bolt 11. Evon Söderlund, CEO of Huone 12. Joewin, Co-founder of Huone Singapore 13. Eve Law, CEO of OneThreeOneFour 14. Michelle Looi, Léclair Patisierre 15. Jacqueline Wong, Managing Director of Sequoia Group. 16. Amutha Saravanan, COO and Co-Founder of Da Vinci Group 17. Tara Lin, Founder of Avec Amour 18. Fiona Dawn Cher, Founder of Sgbudgetbabe and Co-founder of Blended Skincare 19. Ang Jinyuan, Founder of Stylelease
- Rilla, Minimonsters 21. Melanie ESS, Co-founder of Booti-Parlour 22. Liz Watt, Co-founder of Booti-Parlour 23. Amreen Rahman, Founder of Kala Pata Pte Ltd
Joy Kang, founder of Eunogo.com
My boldest and proudest decision is starting Eunogo, leaving behind a corporate life. Being an entrepreneur is so tough, but so far it gave me the greatest learning and rewards ever. Over the last two years, we have empowered thousands of women to make the smart decision for medical and aesthetic procedures by providing quality information and customized supports. We want to see our members happier, healthier, and more confident. This is what keep us moving forward despite challenges and difficulties.
Amreen Rahman of Kala Pata Pte Ltd
I have been bold by ignoring all the naysayers and following my heart. All my life I have been labelled the ‘black sheep’, I was a dreamer in school and I would often get berated by my Teachers for not being more academic. I was always told that I would amount to nothing…yet here I am living my dream of following my heart.
Sometimes in life one has to step out of their comfort zone and look fear in the eye — we may stumble and fall. But that is the only way to learn in life and in business.
Before I started Kala Pata many said this is too niche an idea but I believed that artisanal products that were beautifully made in small quantities and that had a story would resonate with many.
The road ahead is long and I know will have many ups and down but at least I tried!
Finance is traditionally a male-dominated space, so coming out as a female writer drew lots of dissension and criticism, but aren’t boundaries there to be broken anyway? I believe that everyone should be bold in chasing your dreams. Be it in my organic skincare start-up or surviving among legions of male finance writers, I’ve never regretted my decision to go after what I wanted.
Jacqueline Wong, CEO of Sequoia Group
When I started Sequoia Group in March 16 years ago, fear was never in my mind. think it was both ignorance and audacity! I just wanted to use my talent to make a difference in the world. Today we have a flourishing management consulting practice that we can be proud of. So, I say “just take the leap and build your wings on the way down!”
Gina Fyffe, CEO of Integra Petrochemicals Pte Ltd
Many years ago, I worked for a large multinational company, who decide on what job I did, which country I worked, and so in effect had a big role in my happiness. Sitting on my bed one morning I realized that I needed to take control of my own career and future, and that security was not my job, or even the company that I worked for but something within myself, and I should take responsibility for my own future, career, and happiness.
That sudden understanding made it easy for me to be bold, quit my job, move country and start my own company. 28 years later having founded that company, it has a global turnover of around USD 1.5 billion/year and is headquartered in Singapore.
Since then our family company have also expanded into ship owning with 16 ships based in Singapore, a real estate company in Europe, sustainable plantations in Asia and our latest venture into ecologically clean shrimp farming. Each one of these ventures involved bold but calculated decisions with good partners and friends. Nothing ventured-nothing gained!
Sometimes it is important to think of the reasons why and not the reasons why not and to take a leap of faith-what is the worst thing that can happen if it goes wrong? Usually nothing too drastic and we learn from our mistakes-babies would never learn to walk if they never fell.
Eve Law, CEO of OneThreeOneFour.com
I left my career in a Swiss bank, UBS, to pursue my dreams of running my own business. A banker turned UI/UX designer, I am now the CEO of OneThreeOneFour. Wedding planning has never been easy – a personal experience seeking for an overseas wedding photoshoot got me inspired to revolutionise this old industry. I want to challenge the norms and make life better for couples. OneThreeOneFour now lists over 500 photographers from all over the world.
Michelle Looi, Co-founder of Léclair Patissiere
As a fresh graduate who had her career path mapped out as an accountant, I decided to take the plunge and followed my passion for baking instead. Giving up a stable accountant job, I started L’éclair with the vision to bring a little bit of Paris’ pastry scene back to Singapore. With no idea how this would turn out, starting a specialised dessert cafe is definitely the boldest move I’ve made so far.
Tara Lin, Founder of Avec Amour
Being bold in life is what makes life exciting. For me, 2008 was the year full of Bold decisions; professionally and personally. It’s the year I started my business in a country (Hong Kong) and industry I was not familiar with, on top of getting married and having a baby. Making such a bold decisions are never easy and take a lot of conviction, faith and guts; however being bold is now something I live by and hope other women do so too.
Yunnie Tan, Co-founder of Miraculove
It was a moment of serendipity and courage when my business partner Limin and I decided to leave our stable careers to start Miraculove, pursuing our common love for transforming stories into wedding stationery. It was not an easy decision to make given key players in the market are long time wedding stationery brands with years of history, while we were the new kid on the block striving to carve out our niche with handcrafted aesthetics that departed from the traditional red and gold look with touches of modernity chic. Today, Miraculove is recognised as one of the Top 10 Wedding Stationery Makers In Singapore. The journey to the top has been fraught with challenges, but we are heartened that we had stepped out of our comfort zones to #BeBoldForChange so that we can be proud of the milestones we have accomplished today.
Robin Lim & Roslyn Teng, Co-founders of Made Real
Robin and I had all odds against us when we launched Made Real at 19. We had zero work experience, a mere high school degree, and some savings from years of Ang Bao (red packet) money. We did not know how to manage cash flow, relationships with clients and partners, let alone building a team to call our own. We did it anyway. Our biggest, boldest decision has given us great rewards. We made thousands of customers happy, learnt innumerable lessons, and incredible personal growth.
Jasmine Yong, Founder of Sugared Asia Pte Ltd
It must be taking the risk to move from a home-based to brick and mortar business. I was a one-woman operation for almost 4 years and was content staying in my comfort zone with a sole proprietorship. It takes a lot of determination, luck, hard work and learning from previous mistakes to be bold enough to make a change, whether in life or a career.
Diana Ong, Founder and Director of The PR People Pte Ltd
The boldest thing I have ever done is to give up my career as an established journalist to venture into the field of PR even though I have never worked in a PR agency. Thus, everything we do is geared towards what a journalist needs – from the packaging of a story to the finer details to the visual elements incorporated in our creative media drops. Relying on my insider experience as a former journalist and our strong relationships with the media have meant a difference between doing an okay job and delivering a stellar performance.
Ang Jinyuan, Founder of Style Lease
Taking a leap of faith to launch Style Lease and eventually, quitting my day job and solely focusing on Style Lease. We took the plunge and moved to a central location which is more convenient for our customers to come for fittings. I had to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. It doesn’t get any easier but I am not about the throw in the towel. In fact, I am expanding our business lines. After all, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.
Joewin Tan, co-founder of Huone Singapore (Right)
One of the boldest moves I’ve taken is to make failures my best friend. Born in a big family, I always wanted so badly to standout and failure was never an option. My entrepreneurial journey has taught me a lot about falling in love with failures because you get better after each failure. Being an entrepreneur may be one of the toughest jobs in this world but I am so fortunate because both my Huone Singapore and Linear Dots Production teams have proven to me what you can achieve when you get the right team.
Special thanks to:
Location: Huone Singapore
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