In Southeast Asia, it is commonly acknowledged that women face gender stereotypes and societal expectations dictate the way women live that indirectly limit their life’s decisions.
This expectation which is heavily influenced by social norms and obligations makes it seem unrealistic for a lot of people to genuinely pursue a career path that doesn’t fit this social norm.
So this Women’s day, Fave is on the move to inspire women to break free of limitations and encourage women to share their stories through the #Beyou movement.
This effort is set to inspire other women to break free of societal limitations. It focuses on how every woman is as an individual: what are their likes and dislikes, what are their strengths and weaknesses, ultimately, what is your goal and what do they want to achieve in life.
As we embark on this journey, we interviewed a couple of women superheroes that inspired us with their stories of chasing dreams and passions
Our Superheroes This Women’s Day
Ewen Lim, the founder of Parklife
Before Parklife, she was running her own clothing brand for 6 years until she decided to take a leap of faith and switched to F&B.
She got the inspiration to open Parklife when she noticed that there were very few nutritious healthy food options available in Malaysia. As someone who loves to participate in triathlons and enjoys outdoor activities, she understands the struggle for athletes that are trying to stay in shape - looking for a balanced meal.
She went on to convince her cousin Ling who was (back then) working in Osaka, Japan to join her on this new endeavor and went to over 90 investor’s pitches. There were some who turned her down due to her gender but her passion didn’t allow her to stop chasing her dreams.
Fast forward to today, Parklife is known as one of the pioneers of healthy food restaurants in Malaysia with overwhelming requests to open more outlets. When asked what her plans for Parklife are, she exclusively told us that she’s expanding Parklife to more outlets and also exploring food tech innovations.
Here’s her mantra of the day for those who are still en route to self-discovery:
“When you insist on what you want to be, people will see you shine!”
Watch the full video of her inspiring journey too!
Leong Wei Yein, the founder of Craftiviti
Craftiviti - An ingredients shop for DIY personal care and therapeutic crafts that is located on the 1st floor of 10 Boulevard, a less crowded area that entails a mysterious charm to those that are on a creative strike.
Craftiviti hosts arts & crafts workshops every week that covers making candles, soap, shampoo, skincare, cosmetics, etc. They also sell all types of DIY ingredients/products online and offline. She ensures that all ingredients used contain non-toxic materials that are safe for usage.
Before becoming an entrepreneur, she was a copywriter at the pinnacle of her career, working for a well-known advertising agency. Her love for art made her decide to chase her passion and kick start a new venture with her partner Eugene Tham.
She started off her journey by partnering with someone that she personally knew had experience in the arts and crafts industry, but to her disappointment, it didn’t go well and it brought her back to zero.
At the beginning of the business they were struggling to even put up a signage. Then, Yein went off to making jewelry and discovered a better market along the way and slowly pivoted into DIY self-care products.
Realizing that traffic was important for the business, Yein took the initiative to learn digital marketing to advertise Craftiviti.
Now, Yein is a certified Google Digital Marketer and a certified Cosmetic Chemist. Craftiviti now has a very strong e-commerce presence, with an appealing website that lists out most of the craft materials that they offer.
When asked about “How do you cope with all these challenges mentally?” She answered
and we totally agree with that!
“Women are stronger than they look.”
Jarren Wong, the founder of 3BULBS
A Malaysian-based women’s clothing line dedicated to creating a colourful wardrobe that delivers the message ‘Simplicity is beautiful’.
When asked why she chose this path, this young entrepreneur answered that
“After my internship, I knew immediately that I don’t belong there and I want to pursue my own business”.
She was determined that the corporate world was not for her and decided to chase her passion for fashion right after finishing her studies in Business Management.
She started off as a clothing reseller in a bazaar day and night from July 2016. 8 months later, she decided to start her own clothing brand. It started from a pop-up store and then to a retail store. Now, 3BULBS has expanded to 3 retail outlets in well-known malls.
With the goal to pursue her dream and do better, she went on to pursue a Master’s Degree in Fashion & Brand Management while still managing 3 Bulbs.
Azian Akhbar, the Managing Director of Quartet
A cozy cafe in TTDI filled with people from all walks of life.
Azian started off as a loyal customer to the cafe back in mid 2014, she came regularly for the coffee, the ambiance and most importantly because of the top-notch customer service. At the time, she was still a student doing a few side jobs related to investment and finance.
In 2015, one of the owners invited her to become one of the accountants, with the intention to learn more about F &B and business, she decided to join Quartet. When Quartet experienced a crisis due to an internal issue, she decided to step up and became the Managing Director.
Today, Quartet has expanded its outlet to NU Sentral, catering to a bigger segment of food hunters which is the working crowd and she also made Quartet a more well-known cafe among the morning crowd by specifically introducing breakfast on-the-go on the menu.
Her resourcefulness and perseverance inspires us to keep doing what we do.
Aniston Yap,the founder of 520 Beautê Lab
Before becoming an entrepreneur, she was a litigation manager in a legal firm.
After 12 long years of serving the firm, she figured that she wanted a change of environment and decided to run her own business.
Her passion for beauty made her venture into the beauty industry with her friend. In 5 years time, they managed to open a few beauty salon outlets. However, good things are not meant to last, so they decided to go their separate ways and Aniston rebranded the business to 520 Beautê Lab managing 4 outlets under her.
Now, 520 Beautê Lab has 6 outlets with 1 more coming soon. The name 520 means “I love you” in Mandarin and also means “I want to be beautiful” in Cantonese. Coincidentally, her birthday also falls on May 20th which fits the number 520.
She’s currently expanding her business to an aesthetic clinic as well as producing her own brand of beauty products.
As a serial entrepreneur, the success of 520 Beautê Lab didn’t stop her from endeavouring into the F&B business. She also owns a restaurant called the Dragon Palace Seafood Restaurant.
She thinks that ‘people’ is the biggest asset and the most important factor in the success of a business. ‘People’ here refers to her employees and her customers.
“My aim for the business is BIG but the road to success remains long. Positive thinking, honest and be passionate kept me fighting against all odds on this long journey.”
With that being said, 520 Beautê Lab emphasizes on the quality of the service is the utmost importance. She disapprove of setting an unreasonable target and sales scheme for employees that might affect how they treat their customers - to the extent of ’cheating’ the customers just to get more purchases and sell more packages.
She appreciates all reviews and feedback from the customers, even the bad ones. She makes sure her team manages and responds well to customers with negative feedback.
She tries her best to attend every single employment interview as often as she could. She says that
“Without my good employees staying by my side, I wouldn't be who I am today."
We hope that these stories have inspired more women to break free of societal expectations and reflect on themselves as an individual.
One thing to note here is that these inspiring women leaders all have one thing in common; they have gone to prove that chasing after your dream is never an easy path but at the end of the day it’s going to be self-rewarding.
What’s important is that you get to be the person you want to be and achieve the goals that you want to achieve. It all comes down to the privilege of being able to be you.
So join us on this empowering journey, collectively, we will help pave the path for other women to chase their dreams and achieve their goals as an individual.
To join us on this movement, you can either go to our Facebook or Twitter. Simply like and share / quote our video, copy-paste the message below and write your own story. Tag 3 more of your friends to share their stories.
What they expect me to be: