So I've been in Singapore for 26 days.
Given the size, efficiency, and how business friendly Singapore is,
I've been able to get a lot done.
I've made friends, I'm happy to live an enriching spiritual life,
I found shops to buy really nice dresses,
I've met great people that are helping me with my business,
I sold out my inventory of products, provided hair care service for
a young client whose mixed-raced as her mother done a great job
keeping her hair healthy, just need my styling services and how-to-tips
for managing mixed race hair!
And even found a great doctor to get a check up!
(I love how you can walk into a hospital and see a doctor and pay via cash!)
I have an idea of what neighborhood
to settle in :)
My Next Steps
I've gotten very far, with very little money and
resources (thanks to divine intervention), so
my next steps (working progress) are to:
1. Register/incorporate my business,
2. Get an Employment Pass (EP),
3. Rent a shophouse, so I could live where I work,
4. Team building for S'pore and Bangkok
5. Reopen my online shop and operations to scale
Time and Patience
Doing all these, will take more than 26 days, for sure.
And I'm just taking everything one step at a time
as I want to build my life and business in Singapore.
So I'm playing for the long-term.
As I shared last week, I met a potential investor
I will be going on an adventure to see if
there will be a mutual partnership to grow Yummy Blair Cosmetics.
Like New Zealand, my next place is quite far off,
but beautiful, business friendly, and on the African continent :)
Thanks for reading!
Tough Times Don't Last Forever
It's amazing how much has happened, last week I was living "hand to mouth."
If I didn't sell products I couldn't take the bus or go grocery shopping.
And, in the course of 7 days (thanks to divine intervention),
hard work, patience, being in the right places, at the right time,
meeting the right people, a lot has changed for the better :)
To be clear, I'm still staying on my friend's couch,
I can now take the bus and buy groceries (on the street market),
also, I went to "Little India" to get properly groomed: got my eyebrows done
and hair cut (both way over due!), so I'm still a struggling entrepreneur,
I'm just more groomed and have the basics covered :)
So What Happened?
I took a much needed pivot and was ruthlessly honest with my ability
to build and scale the business in Asia. So I started all over with the business.
No more Healthy Hair Asia/Yummy Blair Cosmetics,
everything that I built prior to coming to Singapore is in the past and recorded as (R&D)
I unpublished my Healthy Hair Asia Facebook page, that had about 600 "Likes" and "Followers,"
I thanked my customers for their business and support
over the years, and to "Like"my new page/shop
Yummy Blair Cosmetics,
I also discontinued my the fresh vegan products,
as I will be taking the business in a new direction.
New Business: Yummy Blair Cosmetics
And with a clean slate, I started again. I scheduled an appointment with Sleek,
a corporate secretary and accounting firm founded by entrepreneurs who know exactly the
challenges of starting a business in Singapore for foreign founders.
So, I'm in the processes of incorporating and registering my business in Singapore.
I also have a business mentor (an honest and genuine one this time),
that is helping me craft my business plan, how to talk to investors and scaling the business.
But I'm not done yet!
Right Place, Right Time
I'm honestly surprised I've been able to get this far in my journey as an entrepreneur.
I don't believe in luck, or hard work alone being the only way to succeed,
rather a combination of timing, divine intervention, hard work, and good people in your life.
So far, my time from New Zealand to Singapore,
people that I haven't talked to in years, friends, and friends of friends
have come into my life at the right time.
Step One: Incorporating the business
When I sat with Sleek, they gave me the
costs and numbers for incorporation, getting a corporate secretary, securing a visa,
tax compliance, capital needed, it became a moment of truth.
If I was going to move forward, I would need about $2,600
to start (as a non-resident/non EP holder in Singapore)
and have yearly and monthly charges. I went home to think, first step incorporation,
next getting a visa to live in Singapore. And that requires a lot of capital ($80k-$100k).
I remained positive, because I've gotten this far, my faith is in G-d.
Step 2: Find Investment Opportunity
I really want to settled down in Singapore
have my own place to live (not that a free couch is bad, but I'm 29 and want to settle down)
So, I get a message, from a university friend that I haven't talked to
in about 6/7 years, we did Model United Nations together, and since
he's not on social media, I completely forgot about him.
Wait, let me go back,
this actually starts when I was in New Zealand.
"Out of the blue", I get a message from this university friend,
asking how was life post-university and he shared that he started a few businesses.
He was curious to see if I was still in Thailand since he had a connection flight
from Ulaanbaatar to Cape Town, and wanted to catch up in person.
I asked, "what's in Ulaanbaatar? Unless one is in the mining business what's there??
(note, I also studied with some Mongolian and other international students, at the same time when I met him,
so I know there are people and a life in Mongolia)
He shared he started a mining business, and sold some minerals through Singapore.
So I shared my adventures and how I was planning to move to Singapore to rebuild my business.
In fact we should catch up when he's in Singapore. I didn't hear back from him until yesterday,
he apologize and was traveling in Antarctica (this is a developing story).
Long story short, apparently over the years he's been quite successful
professionally and as an investor.
I asked if he ever invested in cosmetics and beauty, it's big business!
And I pitched my business and potential of the Asian beauty market.
The potential for investment is too early to write about,
I'm still a bit overwhelmed by how much has changed over the last 7 days,
but I will say next month I will be going on a new adventure (clue, in a continent I never been to before!)
to secure this potential investment.
And finally be at a stage in my journey to build and scale my business throughout Asia :)
As always, thank you for reading and your support!
12 Days, So Much Done!
I've been in Singapore for 12 days.
It's a small, walkable, and very business friendly country.
And so far, in the span of 12 days,
I moved 3 times.
Starting in a hostel, then to a friend's place,
and now staying at a friend of a friend who lives in a
beautiful modern co-living space.
Though my housing situation is temporary,
it's more secure,
as I was walking "home" the other day,
I saw a sign on a shophouse for rent.
My Dream: Yummy Blair Cosmetics Shophouse
I wanted to rent a shophouse when I was in Bangkok,
that wasn't possible, for various reasons: location,
lack of capital, etc.
In Singapore, it's definitely a possibility.
My goal is to have my
headquarters and distribution in Singapore
with a subsidiary in Bangkok
where Yummy Blair Cosmetics will be manufactured.
When I was in South Korea,
I saw for myself that retail and online shops can work,
when both are done, very well.
And I can do both well in a shophouse!
And with a simple email, and prompt reply (things here operate so fast!)
I was able to connect with an agent and
now I'm looking at affordable shophouses.
Even if it's out of reach,
it's something I can work towards over the nest 3 years :)
Finding My Tribe
Connecting with people is very easy in Singapore,
there many meetup events, startup events, women in business groups
some say too many women in business groups!
Another interesting thing,
is the diversity of people and religion in Singapore.
If you're part of a religious or ethnic community,
you can connect with people and find your tribe.
There are Buddhists, Muslim, Indians, Chinese, Malays,
Jews, Hindus, Christians, and even Atheist here,
so if your looking to live in Singapore, I think to
maintain a healthy spiritual, professional, and family life you
should be part of some kind of community
of people that shares your values.
So on shabbat I always
have a community to pray and eat with,
I've already been to a Bar Mitzvah,
I met women from all around the world with
fascinating stories and careers that have made Singapore their home.
It's a great feeling to find a "family away from home."
Step by Step!
My approach since being in Singapore
is take everything one step at a time.
I've met people who've been in Singapore for a few months
and others who have been here over 20 years.
Everyone has a different start, and
I have a lot to do, and thinking about
trying to accomplish everything: housing, securing a visa,
registering my business, securing funding,
finishing my book, and finding a life partner
So, I take one step at a time.
Everyone's Journey Is Different
Last year, I wrote a very passionate post about
the 3 types of successful entrepreneurs
I've met in Asia.
It upset and made a lot of people uncomfortable....
I pointed out some privileges, which most people will never admit.
And nearly a year later, after leaving Bangkok,
I've learned to let it go and
and just accepted that some people
are very singular in their narrative
of what enabled them to be successful as an entrepreneur.
I've met many different types of people,
and you know what?
Everyone has a different journey.
Comparing my journey to others,
makes no sense.
Because I have chosen a path that is very unique.
Despite not having a spouse to support me,
or coming from a family with a
and not having any corporate experience,
or lucrative network,
I still have made incredible milestones
in my life and business.
"The how" doesn't matter,
because I still manage to get to Singapore.
Making it in Singapore
(another topic, but I'm optimistic!)
is done one step at a time.
People Helping Me
At a Women In Business lunch and learn event
I had a seat at "the table" with other
successful people from the corporate world
and privilege social and marital backgrounds.
One person was impressed with my "courage"
and validation by the speaker,
who briefly introduced me and my business to everyone.
I was approached by one of the attendees,
that asked questions about
my business and move to Singapore:
my story, scalability, funding, valuation,
why I moved to Singapore?
After a 10 minute polite conversation,
and seeing my products
(I carry my shampoo bars on me!)
offered to make an introduction into his network.
My Roommate: Serial Entrepreneur
And talking with my new friend/roommate,
who is a foreign, female,
and single a serial entrepreneur,
(yes those details matter!)
she knows exactly what I've gone through
and reached out to me last week to stay on her couch
as I got on my feet.
Like me, she's from a small town, or in her case,
a small village (120 people to be exact), in Germany,
she has built businesses and lived in SE Asia
(Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia).
So after a long day of hustle,
she's a great listener and so far has provided excellent
advice and feedback for securing funding.
It's so refreshing to have a supportive entrepreneur friend!
My Journey Will NOT Be Easy,
The last two days, I had to walk everywhere,
because I didn't sell hair products,
so the "sale money" that goes to my bus card and topping up
my internet, was zero (a motivational factor to
build up my saleswomanship! If I don't sell products,
I have to walk and have no internet)
So I spent 4-5 hours a day walking,
in the heat and pouring rain :)
I'm an optimist,
and see the last few days as an experience
and much needed practice build
up my sales skills.
If I am to successfully scale my business,
I better know how to sell my products in person!
So no need to feel any pity for me :)
Singapore is a walkable country,
and why I chose to relocate here.
Second, I can walk everywhere
morning, noon, night, and late night
with no one bothering me, with the exception
of people saying "Nice Hair" "I Love Your Hair"
which leads to my next point,
when people see me and my hair, it's branding
for my business.
Also, walking so much has kept me slim and healthy
(my secret to how I maintain my figure!).
Lastly, I use the time to think because
I have so much to do!
And with every step I take,
whether it's by foot, networking, or email,
success is a path that has to be taken one step at a time!
As always, thank you for reading!
done"This is Singapore, if you don't work, you don't eat!"
Blunt words and wise words, spoken by the hostel receptionist I met this week.
After my 3 month sabbatical in New Zealand,
if I didn't have the energy to
work and write every day 16 hours a day,
I would push off work to be done the next day.
Not only that, I always had a full fridge of food,
I had a comfy couch and roof over my head,
as I was staying with a family friend,
and weekends I spent time with my religious community.
All in all, I got comfortable, while I was in New Zealand.
I got worried, because as an entrepreneur I got used to being
Now I'm in Singapore,
and comfortable...I am no more!
Hustle: A Test to Selling my Products!
Singapore is expensive,
even staying in a hostel can get expensive,
I know very few people in Singapore (I have one good friend!) so
I'm on my own.
I have no business partner,
no romantic partner,
no lucrative network of friends to invest in my venture,
and no family to help me with startup or living costs.
It's just me
(and G-d, as there is no way I got this far without divine help!)
So, to not get into too many details of my finances,
this week was a test, because I had
to sell products, to cover some of my costs.
If I didn't sell my shampoo bars,
I wouldn't eat.
(with the exception of the free breakfast provided by the hostel)
And, it was a test to my ability to stand on my own
two feet as I need to prove that this business is sustainable.
So I hustled,
and sold my shampoo bars to backpackers,
and at the end of the day,
I was able to eat.
Singapore is excellent for global distribution,
I want to scale my business, and the best place
to build for distributing products all over Asia
Personal delivery is obviously not scalable, and still
can be done in my local market (Bangkok, via motorbikes and Skytrain).
But, for the rest of the region, all my products
are sold online,
and delivered via mail.
Singapore has excellent distribution and fulfillment centers.
And Bangkok is where the products will be manufactured.
Being on the ground over the last few days (I arrived at 3AM on Friday morning!)
walking in the hot sun
to find shops that sell soap boxes, going directly to hair salons
to possibly sell products, then focusing on selling to backpackers,
after many, many rejections, excuses, restrictions,
I was finally able to get:
"yes I'll buy"
I knew this move, to many irrationally and unrealistic,
I can absolutely do it!
And though it's only midweek,
I look at the last few days staying in a hostel has
been an opportunity for me to tap into a new
customer base I haven't sold to in the past: backpackers.
Aside from business, I want to live in Singapore
because it's safe, has many opportunities, it's not really polluted,
I want to settle down (get married and build a family)
have an enriching Jewish life while living in Asia,
and I really like the public transportation (easy to get around).
Yes it's expensive, life is difficult for those with little means,
but, I'm an optimist!
I've gotten this far in my journey!
So, I'll keep hustling, selling products, and
won't give up, no matter how long it takes :)
As always, thank you for reading!
And if you have a business or living in Singapore and
have some wise advice to share or interested in
learning more about my products, feel free to reach out!