Field of business may be a playground for the experienced, with years of track record to buffer their ability in doubling, tripling or even quadrupling sales. However it is also an impartial battlefield for the young, where innovatively and far-sightedness is more of a pre-requisite than age for successful entrepreneurship. There is no lack of inspiring young entrepreneurs who have made their mark in their early twenties:
Age 20 : Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook, US)
Bill Gate (Microsoft, US)
Age 21 : Steve Jobs (Apple, US)
Age 25 : Sergey Brin & Larry Page (Google, US)
Age 26 : Sam Walton (Wal-Mart, US)
Age 28 : Leonard Tan Khang Hwee (PurpleClick Media, Singapore)
If we think 20-ish is the magic age, then we can’t be more wrong. A simple search online will spring several amazing brains who venture into entrepreneurship as young as 9 years old (Leanna Archer), proving yet again age is not a hindrance as long as you have a brilliant idea to execute!
Today, we hope to enthuse budding young entrepreneurs with a case closer to the little red dot. It’s our pleasure to have Phoebe from Green Herbal Hair Treatment to share with us her start-up experience.
Ikiguide: Hi Phoebe, first and foremost, thanks so much for accepting our interview. Can you tell us a little about your shop?
My hair treatment shop uses 100% pure Chinese herbs which deal with a series of common day hair problems such as hair loss, dry & oily scalp, dandruff etc. We also have products that help delay the growth of grey hair. Basically, our mission is to revert bad scalp to healthy condition.
Ikiguide: Pardon me, you look really young. How old were you when you started this shop?
I start this shop when I was 23 years old, after graduation.
Ikiguide: That’s really young!!! What propels you to do a start up instead of pursuing a normal job like all other graduates?
It all started from my personal experience with hair loss problem. At that time, my mother recommended me to go Bee Choo Origin, whose herbal products are being used in my shop now. Their product really works for me! Not only was my hair loss controlled, the herbal treatment improved my hair condition, now it’s soft and shiny.
That set me thinking, youths like us are trend followers and often do highlight, rebonding that are so damaging to our hair. On top of that, in Singapore, due to the high level of academic stress, it is common for many youths to experience premature hair problems. I want raise awareness on the importance of scalp health and help these youth. If no good care was given at young age, it will only become worse with increasing age. So that’s my motivation.
Ikiguide: It usually require some funding to start a business. How do you mange the financial part since you just graduated?
My mother is my “investor”, I first took a loan from her for the initial setup of shop. After that, I apply for government grant. To generate cash flow, my shop provide packages for regular customers. On one hand, it helps them save some money, on the other, it provides me with advanced capital.
Ikiguide: Why with Bee Choo Origin then?
First, Bee Choo Origin products are 100% purely herbal, no chemical. It is known that most products in the market include chemical component, long-term usage will no doubt induce some side effects. And also, this is a brand I trusted since I personally have benefitted from it.
Second, the director of Bee Choo origin is quite a nice lady. She is brave to venture on her own and smart. She gives me a lot of advice when I start my business, taught me how to manage the shop. She is very patient when serving every customer and really put her heart in solving their problems, which is very inspiring for me.
Ikiguide: What are some of the challenges you faced in the process?
The skill part is the biggest challenge, because the root of problem is always the scalp, and every scalp is different. Only when the scalp is healthy, will it grows healthy hair. Before setting up the shop, I need to learn how to infuse the herbal into the scalp effectively, and also how to wash them off properly. These are totally new to me, since my discipline in school is business, nothing related. And managing workers is the other problem I faced. It is very hard to hire a worker and train them to be skilful.
Ikiguide: Is there any that is because of your tender age?
Yes! Well, because of my age, it is difficult to win the trust from my worker. Sometimes they won’t listen to my instruction, they do what they like.
Ikiguide: There are so many hair treatment shops in Singapore, what do you do to make yours stand out?
First of all, we emphasise on pure herbal treatment. This is extremely important, because customers are here to treat their scalp problem, if the result is not good, why would they come back? So our selling point is to maintain the success rate.
Second, I think is the services we provide. I treat all my customers as my friends, so naturally you would want to take care of them, not eye their money. In this way, customers will feel safe that they are in good hands.
Ikiguide: Can you give us 2 tips for those like-minded readers out there who wished to start a shop like you?
First, when you have a idea, just do it. There is no unsolvable problem, just need to keep trying.
Second, when you have decided to do something, don’t think about giving up. There’s a Chinese saying – Chance will only be given to those who are resilient and well prepared.
Ikiguide: Those are very sound advice! Thanks once again Phoebe for sharing with us. We wish you all the best in your business.
And lastly, to all our readers, Phoebe has generously throw in a freebie, just quote “IKIGUIDE” to receive an additional Italy product (worth $10) when you sign a package.
Green Herbal Hair Treatment
221 Boon Lay Place #02-148
Tel: (65) 9817 2508 / (65) 6267 5830