In this special column called the “TLC x Fempreneurs Series”, we will be featuring inspiring Female Entrepreneurs (Fempreneurs) in short. You will be able to have a sneak peek at their mindsets and their daily habits.
Believe in the power of community. On some days when you feel big goals are impossible, or when you feel like giving up, you need to lean on your like-minded community. You can even “borrow” motivation, and in turn “return” with your own inspiring stories to pay it forward.
Meet Amy Ngo (Organic Hair Regrowth Solutions)
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am Amy, the co-founder of Organic Hair Regrowth Solutions.
Organic Hair Regrowth Solutions is the first organic salon in Singapore established since 2007. It has evolved through the years and with 9 centres across Singapore, our mission is to provide a safe and comfortable space for our customers while enjoying the best possible treatments and services using all-natural organic products and ingredients.
Organic Hair Regrowth Solutions is a one-stop hair and scalp care centre, with safe and effective solutions for your hair and scalp care needs.
What got you started on your business?
Since young, I developed a strong passion for the hair industry. Every time my mum goes to the hair salon for her hair appointments, I would always tag along and pester the boss of the salon to give me some small tasks to do while my mum gets her hair done. I started my hairstylist job when I was 20 years old. My father was not very supportive of my idea of pursuing this career as he had a negative opinion of the industry, he did not see this as a very respected job.
However, I did not listen to him and pursued hairdressing in Singapore rather than my studies. I was very passionate about this industry and never stop learning. When a colleague suggested that we start our own hair salon, I grabbed the opportunity to do so. And the idea of starting an organic hair salon was mooted because in the early days, just like many hairstylists, I was exposed to many harsh chemicals in the hair dyes, treatments, and products etc. This was a concern for me and many who have worked in the industry as we experienced skin allergies and health concerns.
Before you started on your business, what did you do on a full-time basis?
I was a hairstylist for a salon at Raffles Place. During my time in Singapore, all I did was focus on my job as I did not have any friends here except my work colleagues. This allowed me to accumulate enough capital for my first salon
What were some difficulties you faced in your life and how did you overcome them?
There were many challenges along the business journey that we have encountered due to being inexperienced and as a young business then, we were very passionate and wanted the best always for our clients regardless of the costs. We were cheated many times by so-called friends on overpriced renovation works done by a friend. Experiences are built up over time and naturally, every lesson learned becomes manageable and valuable.
Personally, I feel managing people’s expectations is the one challenge that you can never stop learning how to master. Expectations change over time and over individual experiences. Customers’ expectations are straightforward, they want the best service possible but sometimes employees are a little more challenging when they are not so direct at times. The only way to overcome this is to keep improving my own EQ and tackle whatever comes along gracefully.
Who inspires you?
Vidal Sassoon. 20 years ago, he was a well-publicized brand in Asia. At that time, hairstylist became a cool job because of the overwhelming publicity. But I understand this was pure marketing which helped me understand how good publicity can motivate and inspire a person indirectly.
What excites you most about your industry?
People excite me the most. Every customer is different, every employee is different. And because each individual is uniquely different, it is interesting to deal with the different personalities which in turn enhances both my EQ and IQ levels.
What is your vision / personal motto?
My vision is to create a safe environment for my employees and my customers where they can come to enjoy their treatments such as effective hair and scalp care treatments, good hair-cut and colour etc. In my opinion, Professionalism, Knowledge, and Skill Sets in haircare are the basics any salon must possess. Meaning when customers walk out of my salon, they have to look better than when they stepped into the salon. But “Safety” to my employees and customers is my top priority! This is why we are the first organic salon in Singapore and we still keep our salon organic centric till today.
My motto is “Walk Out Looking Gorgeous” for my customers. And this is also applicable in Life. No matter what we have been through, or need to go through, we must always “Walk Out Looking Gorgeous” physically and emotionally.
Do you have any word of advice for other ladies who are starting their business/ starting to pursue their dream?
Many entrepreneurs would say “Never Give Up” but many would have misunderstood what this means.
It’s actually ok to give up and call it quits. It’s useless holding on to a sinking ship. Just abandon the ship and board the next one to reach the destination. The point is to Be Flexible. Never be afraid of losing money, because you will make more after, provided you learn where and how the mistakes happened so as to avoid it in future.
How do you think you can help ladies to feel confident and empowered?
Start your own business! You can do simple things like selling small items online which have minimized risks. The objective is not to make money because you will probably be disappointed the first time, but to make mistakes and learn from them so that you can accumulate these valuable experiences before you get into bigger ventures that will bring you wealth.
Starting small is a great learning process and acts as a stepping stone for bigger things. You will feel more confident and empowered moving forward.
Another piece of advice is not to sell what you like, but to sell what the market needs. Many people just do what they enjoy and expect to make money out of it which can be tough sometimes. It is easier to make money first and sell what the market likes, and when you become successful then you can create your own success stories in whatever way you want.
Don’t “just” do what you enjoy. But enjoy everything you are doing.
What have you learned recently that you hope the other ladies can take back?
One must be willing to let things go easily if they are not helping you in any way. Don’t sweat over the small stuff.
What is one thing you are grateful for?
With Covid-19 calling the shots in the whole year of 2020 and when we have to close all our outlets during the circuit breaker period, the pandemic was a real situation that none had experienced before. It sends off the weaker links and creates opportunities for the survivors. We are thankful that we were able to ride out the storm, restructure the process and receive much more opportunities than we could ever imagine! Now we have bigger aspirations to penetrate wider market segments and grow our business to expand another 7 times in the next 3 years with a goal of opening up 5 more new outlets in 2021.
What do you do in your free time as self-care? How do you unwind?
I enjoy creating videos and being involved as an actor in the short clips that are produced to market our products and services. I also enjoy my sports a lot. Every week I cycle along the East Coast waterways to MBS and enjoy the rides that are so therapeutic and it keeps me fit. In entrepreneurship, you will need a lot of energy and sometimes great stamina too to outlast challenges.
Let us know more about what you do!
A reputable lifestyle salon group with a holistic hair and scalp care approach to deliver exceptional results through natural premium graded professional products and treatments. As a pioneer advocate of organic products, we aim to inspire more people to incorporate healthier choices as a commitment to care for the environment. You may find us featured on Harpers Bazaar, Daily Vanity, Her World, Beauty Insider, Singapore Woman’s Weekly.