Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The sign.

Recently had an interview at the office, and this is what I wore:

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There are actually a lot of restrictions when it comes to dressing for the camera (especially TV interviews :/). No white, no stripes, and nothing too revealing (i.e. no shorts or short skirts) are the basic requirements, and I usually get quite a headache thinking of what to wear! Super happy when I remembered this happy flirty AZORIAS dress which is SUPER flattering to wear 'cause you never know what (bad) angles you may be shot in. T_T And not to mention, happy colors puts me in the ZONE for interviews, haha. :D

Neon block-colored dress: AZORIAS
Pastel peach jewel necklace: Korea

Black suede pumps with tortoiseshell heels: Topshop

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During the interview, I was asked this question, "what advise will you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?". I always feel a bit flustered when faced with questions like that, 'cause I myself am a new entrepreneur, and everyday is still a learning process for me. You will have to read the article when it comes out for my answer, but I thought of something that I forgot to mention as part of my reply. Y'see..

You can't do it for money.

After I started AZORIAS, I do get a number of people contacting me suddenly, asking me on advise and tips on start-ups and online businesses. Often, I do agree to such discussions/ meet-ups because there's a certain adrenaline in meeting like-minded people; entrepreneurial people, people who are out to rock the world. But sometimes, I get a bit taken aback because one of the very first questions that I get asked is-- "How much do you make in a month?". And frankly speaking, if you are doing it for 'how much you could make in a month', you are doing it for the wrong reasons.

Don't get me wrong, one of the reasons that entrepreneurs start-up their own thing is so that they can seek financial freedom. Being an employee often means limited income unless you successfully trump all your peers in the rat race.  But there has to be something more. There has to be a genuine passion, a genuine belief in the product or service that you are providing-- you really have to believe that you are serving something that the markets needs or wants, and you believe so deeply in it that it hurts, and you will do everything you can to make sure to serve that need or want.

When I started AZORIAS (and left my cushy job in Singapore), I took more than a 50% pay cut. Whilst I used to be able to buy and eat anything I want (with my SG salary which is pretty comfortable), nowadays I am a lot more cautious with my spending. There's nothing glamorous with what I do. In the beginning, I sit on the floor and sort through hundreds of products, looking for defects. I wrap clothing into tissue paper and lick stamps. I stand for hours steam-ironing pieces after pieces of delicate clothing. I lug around luggage bags of clothing to meet distributors. And guess what, I am still doing that today. When it's your own thing, you just get down and dirty with it. Some days, I look at my friends (especially those who are working in SG) who are buying their own properties and luxury cars, and I do wonder whether I would be better off pursuing a professional career. I won't deny that. But it's that burning belief, that flaming passion that keeps me going.

One day, when I was feeling down, I suddenly came across this referral link on my blog analytics-- linking right to this very old blog entry of mine. Now, this is pretty weird, as it was the top referring link of the day; out of the blue for no apparent reason. And very rarely I will get referral links from my own blog-- referral links are supposed to come from other blogs! But there it was, right at the top of my Nuffnang analytics page, and out of curiosity, I clicked it open and read it.

And there it was, the reminder I needed. At the very end of the blog post (this was written right before I went over to Singapore to work), I ended with this excerpt:

Last week, my mom and I finally got a set of black suit (blazer + skirt) for me. When I put it on, I nearly cried. It finally seemed real-- the forlorn girl staring back at me, clad in a boring black suit. Its implications not so much refer to what I am going to wear, but what I am in for. Sigh, don't want to talk too much about it. But oh well, guess a black suit is apt, considering the sombre, morbid affair work is. 

It's as if it's a sign from God. THIS is why I started AZORIAS. Because I remember how it felt on that very day when I put on my first work outfit. I felt sad and dreary, like I am one of many minions who don't have an identity. And I want AZORIAS to change that. Work outfits CAN express your personality and your own style. We CAN feel beautiful in work outfits. It was the perfect reminder, a gentle nudge to remind me why I am doing what I am doing now.

And I wouldn't change a thing.

Footnote: What do you guys think of blog posts like this which share a little bit on entrepreneurship? The boyfriend has been encouraging me to share more entrepreneur-centric material with you all, and I am keen too, 'cause obviously my business is a large part of my life. But part of me is afraid that you guys will find it boring, or find that it seems 'out' from my usual blog direction. Would love to hear your thoughts on this, because I really would love to share more about this part of my life with you all! :)

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Anonymous said...

You go girl. Been your blog follower for a while and an Azorias fan/buyer. Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Go ahead and share your entrepreneurial side. we would love to hear it :)

ms.bulat said...

It is actually very inspiring! :) Do share more!

Anonymous said...

I will love to read it. But when I'm not in the mood, I'll just scroll pass. Just my own opinion tho. :D

happy chirpy said...

yes, please write! :)

fern said...

We need more female entrepreneur figures (:

Just to share another success story:

Anonymous said...

Do share more .... fully support :D

Rebecca said...

Congratulations upon your newly featured Vivi mag. & great sharing tips to those newbies in dot com business... :)

jeanchristie said...

Do share ;)

Singapore just brings back memories haha

Anonymous said...

I love this type of blogpost! Keep it coming, I was a little bit like you, working as a professional and dread myself to work on most days! Always wanted a mini business, and never dare to take the first. Proud of your girl ! More on this kinda post pls, it does motivate me! Congrats on your success!


Bunny said...

very interesting and inspiring! pls do share this part of your life, your experience and your thoughts :) -thanks and keep up the good job!

jw said...

It's not boring at all! It'll definitely inspire and motivate people :)

Anonymous said...

I know exactly how you feel, Hui Wen! Do share your thoughts on entrepreneurship with us. Would love to hear all about it:)

Anonymous said...

Appreciating your honest perspective. Keep those flames going! ;)