Celebrating International Women's Day, featuring strong, independent, and inspiring women today at SABRINAGOH.
I started my business with a contemporary fashion label in 2009. Running my own business has been the most rewarding- and challenging -part of life so far. It's taught me to take risks, stand up for what I believe in, and have given me more self-confidence and pride in myself than anything else.
Over the past 12 years of brand-building, my goal shifted dramatically, from merely making new clothing designs, thinking only about design concepts rather than its commercial value to now a sustainable business. Just like people, business and their goals change, and now I find myself making decisions and inspiration as a big part of what I do as celebrating design and fashion.
(photo credit: The Singapore Women’s Weekly)
“Why do you want to be a fashion designer?” asked Mei Yan when we first met, noting that the fashion industry is going sunset as compared to the ’80s, the dazzling era of fashion in Singapore.
Exactly 16 years ago, I first step into my first job as a full-time fashion designer at a local brand. I was thrown into a sea with zero experience when I’m not sure if I can swim. There, I met Mei Yan, my colleague then and now. She taught me the flow of creating the design and steps to production. In between, we solved many problems together, and I regard her as my teacher with her tangible experience of over 40 years in the industry. We brainstorm what can improve in the process of making fashion while building up the brand. Test, repeat, build are the things we do daily to making sure we make sound design before production. But that doesn’t mean we never make mistakes before. We have gone through many production mistakes and learn our way to rectify and respond to the problems. What I have learned from these experiences: Women have excellent tenacity to overcome the issues and more likely to do so if they support other women around them.
The past year has been interesting. I thought, finally, a time to pause and rethink the business aspect. I learned to take the situation positively, though many elements can turn downwards very quickly, especially on the business aspect due to the lockdown and the uncertainty of the sales income. To all my retail teams, the most extended runners who take on ownership responsibly. Upgrading skills and going to multiple classes for the past year has been a new thing that the team is trying to adapt out of their comfort zone. Some felt reluctant to go and left. Some took it positively and persevered. I’m inspired to see them growing and overcome their fear today. I think it is essential to commit our minds to learn new things and do something together. Hence, we will not spend time entertaining the negatives. I’m encouraged by their “can do” spirit and the willingness to learn new things and apply the skill to serve the customers. Let us all bent together at the face of adversity and come back stronger.
I am not a strong content writer or the bubbliest or extrovert person out there in the industry. But here, I will try my best to illustrate in words and honoring the women in my company. Anyone who has inspired one another, committed their life to pursue visions are role models for the generation to come. These women would inspire someone to pursue their passion, and they are an undeniable force together. Today, International Women’s Day, let’s celebrate the work of women and #ChooseToChallenge.
To the women in the team,
Mei Yan, Pattern Maker
Bao Ping, Merchandiser
Annie, Retail Supervisor
Linda, Sales Associates
Joanne, Sales Associates
Sasha, Sales Associates
Angie, Sales Associates
Eve, Sales Associates
Ivana, Sales Associates
Connie, Sales Associates