These girlbosses inspired conversation at the Her World Young Woman Achiever Social because of their guts in taking the path less travelled – and making it work for them.
Martial arts saved Qin Yunquan’s life. As a teenager, she got tired of being the “chubby kid” and went on a crash diet, exercising every day to lose weight. At her lightest, she weighed just 37kg.
“The doctor told me that [if I had lost] another 2kg, I would have died.
That was my lowest point – that at 18 years old, I could actually die,” she said. Yunquan would eventually pick up martial arts, which played a big role in helping to fight her demons.
“What it did was help me realise that I don’t have to focus on my appearance. It’s what I do with my life that can change people’s perceptions of me,” she says.
Now an instructor and CEO of Kapap Academy Singapore – which focuses on teaching self-defence, to women and children in particular – Yunquan changes lives every day, and in doing so, has forged her own path to success.
Hers was one of the inspiring stories shared at the Her World Young Woman Achiever Social on March 25, in a conversation centred on defining one’s own success.
Whether it was setting up their own business or treading a path less taken, the panellists were honest about the struggles they had to overcome to get to where they are today. SEA Games sprint medallist Veronica Shanti Pereira, for example, spoke about the tough training she puts herself through, and how a combination of passion and conviction fuels her. “We’re human, we all have bad days. It’s about whether you want to step back up after falling a few times. I do have to sacrifice time with my family and friends, but I feel this is what I’m meant to do,” she says.
That same attitude applies when it comes to setting up your own business – carve out a niche, and just keep doing your thing.
“When we started, no one had any interest in local design,” says Amanda Eng, marketing director of Naiise, recalling how she and husband Dennis Tay had “no money, and no air-con in the office”.
But the pair persevered because they believed in what they were doing, and now oversee a veritable empire, with plans to take their business overseas. Competition doesn’t faze them, says Amanda.
“Competition exists whatever you do, so you have to focus on what you do well, and on making your brand a legacy.”
It’s a similar story for artisanal jewellery brand Carrie K. “When we started, there was very little appreciation for independents and handmade things,” says founder Carolyn Kan, adding that it’s why she now gives back to the industry in the form of Keepers – a collective she drives that showcases and promotes independent local design.