Happy International Women's Day, ladies!
Today (8/3/2019) is the day we celebrate all about being a woman.
There's the beauty in the strength that every woman possess and if you take the time to look around you, it is not hard to realise that there are sparks of inspirations in your everyday life.
On this occasion, we take some time to speak to some of the inspiring ladies that we have crossed paths with. They are just like you and me; holding multiple roles in society, learning how to juggle with their responsibilities and slowly but surely, excelling in their field of work.
1) Hi Bree & Bert! Most of us know the backstory of how TCL started off as a hobby for both of you before evolving to a business that it is today. How is it like working together and running a business with your sister?
Bree: Always hectic, always challenging but always so fulfilling! It helps that you know there will always be someone you can count on and I can’t imagine doing this without her.
Bert: It was tough at first as we have very different personalities. I think we had it worst for the first few years but because we are family, we learn to tolerate each other’s nonsense and we do not have to hold back whenever we have problems! It feels good to know that someone will always have my back.
2) What is the most trying moment that both of you experienced throughout this entire journey of managing TCL?
Bree: There was a period where we were financially strapped and struggling to meet ends meet. At the same time, we got chased out of our office. It was a period where it felt like years of our hard work just went down the drain right in front of our eyes because we placed our trust in the wrong person. It was a valuable lesson and it was also through this that we realised we had to be more prudent in managing our finances and to place our trust in the right people.
Bert: I concur with Bree on the most trying period! I will never forget when we were at our lowest.
3) It's been about 10 years since you both started out! How do you keep each other going and constantly stay inspired in this fast-changing industry?
Bree: In our line of work, we get to meet different people all the time. It could be people whom we work with, our staff or our customers. This exposure really allows me to gain inspirations through our interactions and conversations. From there, I'm able to channel new thoughts into work. Since we see each other all the time, plus we are downright honest with each other, I think these help to keep our feet on the ground and make sure we are working on the right track.
Bert: We look everywhere for inspirations! There will be times when one of us is more burnt out than the other, and we will encourage each other to go on and remind each other how much we have worked to get to here today. It helps that we have an amazing and dedicated team behind us!
4) Who are your role models and inspirations?
Bree: More recently, I really look up to Chriselle Lim. She looks effortless most of the time, her outfits are stylish, it looks and feels as though her life is perfect. I’m always amazed at where she finds the energy and time to all do these things despite being a mum of 2. And when she shares snippets of her looking after the kids, or a day in her life, it’s so relatable to me. There are many moments that people do not get to see as we mostly share about the end results or the end products only, and that may seem easy to some. But everyone has to work in order to reap results, and there are things that we have to sacrifice which are not known to people too.
Bert: My mother is my role model. She taught me all my life lessons, built my character and constantly reminded me that hard work will always pay off.
5) Had you not come in to this business together, what do you foresee each other doing?
Bree: My mum always wanted Bert to become a doctor or a dentist. Haha, and I’m sure Bert will try to fulfil that dream!
Bert: I foresee Bree probably running a restaurant? Haha she was really crazy over F&B last time! We used to work just opposite each other at Holland Village as waitresses.
6) Anything you'd like to say to each other?
Bree: How is it going, mate? HAHA. I’m kidding. Thanks for being the best partner and sister I can ask for. It isn’t exactly easy working with me but thank you for not walking away. I can’t wait to see where TCL will take us 5 years later!
Bert: Thanks for being here the past years and having my back sis!! To many more years of TCL! Also, get married soon?!
7) Is there anything you'd say or share with to all the aspiring entrepreneurs out there?
Bree: Going on this entrepreneurship is the BEST thing I’ve done for myself. Go ahead and challenge yourself, and believe you can make it. Also know that you’ll probably have to work doubly hard than your peers, you might not have any rest days and work will always be on your mind — it’s basically a 100% commitment. But it will deeply rewarding and you’ll always be learning new things, new skills, never a day that bores you!
Bert: Everyone says to follow your heart and pursue your dreams. They don’t tell you that behind those dreams, you have to make sacrifices and work your hardest more than anyone else!
1) Hi Joie! As the local music scene is continuing to grow, we are seeing more young talents sprouting! Maybe you can share with us your journey as a singer-songwriter thus far, especially so when you have been doing this ever since you were 14.
Hey guys! It’s been an incredible journey. I’ve gotten to know so many talented individuals and am so fortunate to call some my closest friends. It’s also crazy that some people I used to only be able to admire from afar are now a text message away! I feel very fortunate to have these opportunities to share my music and story — it’s been a surreal ride for sure.
2) How was the moment like when you discovered your passion for singing and songwriting? What was the definitive moment for you to know that this is the direction you wanted to go into?
I grew up listening to music at home, so it was always a part of my life. My dad plays the guitar, my mum plays the piano and they both sing. Naturally, I followed suit with singing and we did it religiously throughout our lives at the Hindu temple and Christian church. Singing along to music always gave me joy and a sense of belonging. My dad used to write his own songs (that are still being sung at temples till today — he’s so amazing, but always tries to keep this a secret!) on the floor of our little music room, with his guitar resting on his crossed legs and pencil in hand. I remember sneaking in one time and sitting in while he penned some lyrics down. I was in awe because I knew that it would be a song I would later hear during service. As I grew up, there was a show on Nickelodeon called “Unfabulous” that starred Emma Roberts. She would write songs about her life and crushes in a decorated notebook. That inspired me to want to be able to do the same, and it wasn’t long until I started writing my own songs in a pink furry songbook of my own. Those songs were terrible. But I felt so cool.
3) The Singapore music industry is still currently growing and expanding. As a young singer-songwriter yourself, what challenges do you face while trying to let your voice be heard?
The industry is definitely growing and we have an insane pool of talent. I believe that the music industry isn’t all about being the next biggest hit, but about sharing the stories that can be told through songs. I personally have not struggled in trying to get my voice heard because I’m a firm believer in simply putting my music out there, promoting it on my socials and letting people listen to them if they want to. The industry is also equipped with distributors (shoutout to Peng Sing) who, because of the size of our community, have the liberty to go all out in pushing for the tracks to reach out to as many individuals as possible through the various platforms.
4) What keeps you going through the tough times and what was the most satisfying joy that you derive from doing music through the years of growing up?
My partner, friends, and family keep me sane. I don’t know what I’d do without them. Releasing my album was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do and they were the ones who kept me going. I’m also really fortunate to have unbelievably supportive and caring supporters who had sent me messages of encouragement and excitement for the album. Social media has allowed me to have a personal relationship with them and I cherish that a lot. Hearing what people have to say about my music is something I enjoy a lot. It’s crazy how your story can impact someone else’s. It still blows my mind how someone can connect to my music the same way I do to my own favourites.
5) Where and whom do you draw inspiration from for your songwriting?
I draw inspiration from everywhere! But I think I’m inspired by love the most. I am an extremely emotional person and I write when I’m at different ends of the emotional spectrum. I rarely write when I’m feeling neutral about things.
6) Do you have any upcoming plans that you've already paved for yourself over the next couple of years that you could share?
I hope to relocate to the U.S. within the next 2 years as my partner is now overseas and I am excited at the thought of being a mum. I also do wish to collaborate with different artists and release one or two singles. I’m actually taking a break from releases at the moment to work on my new little business project, Layla Luna. After spending time at shelters, I really wanted to do something beyond my time there and decided to meld my love for animals with my entrepreneurial bones in hopes of contributing to shelters. At Layla Luna, we sell glasses and sunglasses in which 20% of the profits will be donated to a shelter. We’re going to be launching sometime this month and I’m so excited for this project to take off!
7) What's one thing you would tell any aspiring artists or anyone who wants to chase their dreams in general?
Go for it! Everyone starts somewhere and you only know if it’s going to work out if you try. It’s important to have an idea of what you want so you don’t feel like you’re chasing a dream that keeps getting further away from you. Get yourself acquainted with like-minded individuals and collaborate with them! The best way to improve is to expand your repertoire and adopt what works best for you. Take baby steps and remember that everyone will get to where they want to go in different ways. If you’re reading this and are in need of a sign, this is it!!! All the best!
1) Hi Meiting! We know that your daughter, Kayla, has just turned one and that you're also holding a full-time job. Share with us what your regular day's routine is like!
Hey there! Well, this will be a lengthy one. So, for weekdays, I get up at 7+am and prepare for work while she is still asleep. I'll give her a bottle of milk & change her diapers before I leave for work, most of the time she is still sleeping/dreaming, and I'll leave for work.
After knocking off, most days I head home straight after work and I'll resume mommy duties! I will bring her for an evening walk around my house, prepare her dinner, feed her the meal, spend time with her & my husband before we prepare for bed. Her bed time routine consists of a quick bath, followed by winding down with story time and quiet moment by herself in her cot. After she's asleep, I'll go to the kitchen to prep her meal for tomorrow and once that's done, my own "me time" begins, usually around 10pm and I'll go to bed around 12am-1am.
2) How has your life or career changed ever since Kayla entered your life?
It has certainly changed a whole lot. My husband and I used to go out so often, with each other and with our own friends but ever since we've had Kayla, we've cut down on most of these outings. Only on Fridays, we have our date night because my mom will help us take care & put Kayla to bed until we get back home. That being said, I'm not upset by the "lack of freedom" because I really do enjoy spending time with Kayla, she makes me so happy and I'm so in love with her.
As for career wise, my full time job isn't affected at all, but my "social media work" definitely has. Just before I found out I was pregnant, I actually wanted to go full on into making beauty videos on youtube. I love makeup and I actually started filming 2-3 videos before I got pregnant. My morning sickness was pretty bad during the first 4 months so I was unable to produce any videos. And fast forward till now, with Kayla out & a full time job, I just can't find the time to do film videos for leisure. I still do take up campaigns and I rush them out for clients on the weekends.
3) What's your greatest hope for Kayla?
I pray for her to be healthy, to know that she is loved and supported by her family. I hope that she grows up to be respectful and compassionate. I don't need her to be the brightest kid in class, I rather she has a kind heart and always ready to lend a hand to those in need.
4) What's the most trying moment so far that you've experienced while juggling the responsibilities of being a mom and having a full-time career at the same time?
I guess it would be having little personal time & finding that I'm always putting myself last. My husband and Kayla comes first, followed by my work. I have so many things I wish to do but because of mommy duties, work and deadlines to clients, I have to give up on any free time I have.
5) Share with us the greatest joy or satisfaction that you get from juggling your role as a working mom!
I enjoy having financial independence where I can spend on Kayla or myself without having to answer to anyone. I feel comforted knowing that my husband an I can provide her with the best. I remembered growing up, I wanted to learn piano and my mom told me that I couldn't because we can't afford it. I don't blame my mom though, she was a stay-home mom, and I probably got over it in 3 days but I just want to be able to provide for Kayla without worrying about finances.
6) Who is your biggest role model or inspiration to keep you going on everyday?
My family. They are the ONLY thing that keeps me going. Everything that I am working towards now is to create a better future for us.
7) As a working mom, we're sure you face a lot of challenges and joys at the same time. What is one word of advice you'd like to give or say to fellow working mothers?
I'd say, don't be too hard on yourself. Your child loves you no matter the meal you cook, the milk you provide or the cleanliness of your house. Take one day at a time, every mom goes through rough days where we feel like the lousiest moms ever but remember, your child thinks you're the greatest and best mom ever. They need nothing but your love and guess what? We have a never ending amount of love to last them this lifetime and the next.
1) Hi Airin! You're currently studying Cosmetic Science and you're also a make-up artist for many brands that we know about in the local scene. You are also our residential make up artist here at TCL. Share with us how a regular day is like for you!
The interesting part of my job is that each day is different. But a glass of warm lemon water and my health supplements is a must before I kick start my day. While en route to my destination, I will tuned into CALM app to micro meditate so that I can be more mindful throughout the day.
2) What do you enjoy most from your current studying stint as well as your job?
Being able to be curious. And knowing that everyday, I’m embarking on a new adventure, gaining new insights.
3) What spurred you to return to studying after some time of working?
Always be a STUDENT. It is the key to bettering yourself. Even though I am a full time professional make up artist, I may not have the answers to every single beauty question my clients throw me. The only way to be constantly good at what I do, is to have the hunger to learn. every single day. I want to be able to help real women with their problems and to use my knowledge to inspire and lift people up.
4) Share with us your most trying moment while juggling between the two, and how did you overcome it?
The last quarter of the year is probably my busiest period. Having shoots from as early as 530am till late afternoon plus making it for night classes that ends at 930pm with the cycle continuing tomorrow was tough.
I wouldn’t have made it if not for the support from my loved ones. Having your own small circle of support group is important as they always remind you why you started.
5) Who is your greatest role model or inspiration?
Massimo Bottura, chef patron of Osteria Francescana (world's best restaurant). Not only that, he founded a non-profit association Food for Soul to empower communities to fight against food waste in the interest of social inclusion and individual well being. To sum it up, his character inspired me to be great even when the noises outside can be loud and negative. To always catch the flash in the dark because it only passes once.
6) Beauty is an ever-changing industry. How do you get fresh perspectives or inspirations for your job?
Inspirations comes from the world around me, it’s about being conscious on viewing things with a "fresh pair of eyes”. From art, slow food, music and artisans. I like to find out why things are the way it is and the beauty of why people do it passionately. It’s true, nurture the child within you, never lose the sense of simple wonder and awe.
7) Any words of advice you have for anyone else who is also juggling work alongside studies?
Don’t forget to take a moment for yourself everyday, if you don’t meditate, take a moment to breath deeply and imagine where this knowledge you’re learning will take you. Stay with that thoughts and do it. Some days we fail, but it’s okay. Just restart and keep moving.
We were greatly inspired by these wonderful ladies whom we had the fortune to work together with. It is amazing to see and to know that everyone has a potential to excel and it's all stemming from the strength from within.
P.S. If you ladies have got an inspirational figure that you would love to share with us, do so over at our giveaway post held in conjunction with Raintr33 Hotel.
We are giving away a staycation at Raintr33 (worth $250) and a $100 TCL shopping voucher to you ladies.
More details are available here.
With this, here's wishing everyone out there - Happy International Women's Day!