I can’t really blame my mother considering how many times I did drive her crazy through my teenage years. One thing that has not changed since then, is how fixed and determined I am in what I want to do. Okay, the true fact is that I am stubborn. Very stubborn.
If my mind is set on doing something, I made sure I did it all the way – anyway. For me. it’s not about winning the race, but it’s about finishing the race. I could never sleep not knowing and I am those people who can’t stand the phrase “What if?”
When I first wanted to become an entrepreneur in 2009, I started selling products I made on the internet. My mother was skeptical on my ability to run a company. I was only 24, recently gave birth to my second born and has no degree. She was right to have felt that way, though I know deep down she was also more concerned if I am emotionally ready for how harsh this entrepreneurship journey was going to be. She was afraid I would not be able to handle the failures, heart breaks and disappointments. I guess she could see that coming, I (being me, stubborn as hell) did not.
And again, this woman was right.
I was fragile, weak and clueless about the business world. Forget about share equity, or venture capitalism, I was more caught up with trying to learn how to build my first website. Apart from looking after a toddler and a newborn. Those few years were draining, weary and I lost weight and grow to look haggard with lack of sleep. I lost it a few times, became an angry person and was always torn in between giving up or pursuing on. Keeping myself motivated is a challenge, apart from time management issues. I really did not expect this, and entrepreneurship was breaking me apart.
Many years have gone by, I have grown to understand more of how the business world works. How networking is important, hiring and leading people, accounting and investment. I grow out of being the timid person I was, into a bold leader managing offices, large teams, and supplying bigger contracts. I started taking investment then became an investor myself, and educated universities after several awards I ‘accidentally’ won. If I were to ever tell my history to the university students, of where I came from, they would be in awe, not understanding how a stay home mother could progress this much in short years. (And juggling three children, at all the same time)
And just when my mother think I have matured, I spent over $150K of my own funds, to develop an idea which I believed so deeply. It was not just about the money, it was an obsession considering how much time I spent on building and planning it. I was so passionate about creating jobs for our community that I went on to develop a technological platform that can do just that.
In my mind throughout 2015, I wanted to create a platform that allows any individual to earn an income from home. Connecting suppliers with resellers, to supply to customers – the suppliers win by having thousands of resellers selling their products, the resellers earn a commission for every product they sold and the customer save 30-70% off retail prices. I thought about what products would be easy to sell, and for five years before that, I worked on partnerships with USA suppliers to import cosmetics from the world’s top brands.
But I wanted the technology to be even more comprehensive. So I paid developers to create such that the platform’s interface could duplicate automatically each time someone signed up as a reseller. Now every single resellers owns a fully functioning website personalised to them, that carries pre-listed 15,000 products. They share the domain with their social media networks, leading traffic to their website for potential sales earnings. They can use a password to log on their ‘Back Office‘ to update their profile, read the company news, see their customer’s database and monitor their sales transactions.
Then I think about people who have children, and they probably find it hard to leave home to take orders. So the company takes on the logistics work as well. We pack the orders and ship direct to the customers, updating the resellers’ back office system so they are kept up to date with what is going on. After all those considerations in mind, I developed the system called Spendless Cosmetics Reseller Program and our company do the IT support and maintenance, purchasing duties and logistics matters. That the only one thing left to do by the resellers themselves, is just share their website on Facebook!
Find out more on www.scbeautynetwork.com
After all that passion brewing, I did not have enough funds after 18 months, but the prototype was 70% ready. I can’t give up now! By then, my mother was convinced I was crazy to give up on my lifestyle, even daily spending, rent out my apartment (and move in with her) just to put together whatever funds I could have to grow this idea. I cannot imagine living my life, not finding out how this idea can grow to become.
Desperate for funding, I went on to prepare a deck and propose to a VC. The first VC bought our shares based a SGD 5 million evaluation and the game changed.
That same idea I was working on for 18 months, and invested so much time and energy in, is now a company that serves thousands of resellers as I had visioned it three years ago. As we continue to expand, we hope to take it across to Indonesia and Malaysia connecting more suppliers, with reseller and consumers.
This 2017, Spendless Cosmetics is also expanding into India on a different model scale, to be the World’s First Subscribed Halal Cosmetics Box this March. This new venture is funded by another VC, and we will start our Chennai office operations with five employees to kick things off. Official website: www.scbeautybox.com
It blows me away when I am reminded that SC was just a vision I dreamt about three years ago.
Sometimes its common that entrepreneurs get called crazy, we are already swimming against the current, running out of the rat race, and think only outside the box. What’s never been done, we went on to do. What people thought was impossible, we made it possible. What was never believed to happen, we made it happen. We are usually day dreamers, night thinkers.
And we can only do that, because we are ‘crazy’ to think that in the first place.