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 Eve Phua (House of Phua)
Tell us a little about yourself. What is your business/brand about?
Hi, I’m Eve. I’m a mother with 2 children aged 11 and 12. Currently, I’m helping my family business since 2020. My passion lies in media and education, and also in teaching and learning, which explains the focus on educating people on how to choose jewellery especially feicui jade, diamonds and lab-grown diamonds when helping out with my family’s business. I also enjoy more artistic stuff and creative work. Being an Enneagram (which explains the motivation behind the behaviour and action) type 7 joyful person, I embrace new adventures well. I also am an Enneagram type 2 helpful person which means I like to help people. Before helping my parents in their business, I was also doing training in skincare and makeup. I like colours a lot. I would blend and style colours into jewellery.
House of Phua was started by my parents in 1990 at Chinatown Point and has been around for 33 years. Our retail shop is now at People’s Park Complex. We are a jewellery boutique that focuses on fine jewellery and bespoke designs as well. My husband and I also started Hope Diamonds Pte Ltd as a spin-off of House of Phua to focus on lab-grown diamonds. We want to reach out to a new market and educate existing customers on the benefits of lab-grown diamonds. I also educate people on how to choose jewellery based on their personality, their lucky and favourable colours and shapes which adds value to the customer experience as well.
What got you started on your business?
It is a combination of several reasons: One being my personal interest in gemstones and diamonds and colours, jewellery and styling. And second is that I value my family and heritage and wish to carry on their legacy. Hopefully, my kids will be interested in the business as well. My family’s support was what kept me going. My husband’s encouragement also helped me a lot to start the business as I can’t do it alone. And I also see the potential in this business. I wish to spread the knowledge of my parents in this business to the younger generation and help them make the right decision when choosing jewellery.
As my parents are getting older in their semi-retirement age, I thought I could help them man the retail shop as they require more manpower with their reduced working hours. Our operating hours have been reduced to 3 days a week and other days only by appointment. This is why we pivoted the business online, especially with Covid pandemic teaching us that we cannot rely solely on retail business and that we need to diversify our business.
Though I spent my childhood helping my parents out in our retail store, I didn’t take much interest in the industry. It was only in 2018 that I regained interest in jade (particularly Feicui), after discovering the different types and colours of jade in the market. Because of Covid, we had to pivot our business online, and I also help them to do more marketing and reach out to a new market for the new generation. And with my parents’ age catching up, I found myself back at House of Phua taking on the mantle of marketing and social media alongside business development.
I started the House of Phua Education (HOPe) initiative where I sought to educate and share information about gems, jades and jewellery through social media, just as my mother has been sharing with customers in-store over the years. I felt this was especially important for the younger generation who commonly associated jade as something the older generation wore.
I also decided to branch into lab-grown diamonds under HOPE Diamond after receiving queries about lab-grown diamonds and identifying an increasing market for it. HOPE Diamond keeps the legacy of House of Phua by modelling the spirit of sharing with our customers.
Before you started on your business, what did you do on a full-time basis?
Prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom and helping out at House of Phua, I was working in the education and media business for 20 years as Programme Manager at a University.
What were some difficulties you faced in your life and how did you overcome them?
Throughout my life, there are 3 important stages that toughened me.
I had endometriosis which is the backflow of blood in the womb for women. When I first discovered it, the cyst in my womb was very big and I had to go for a caesarean type of operation which was rather painful. I was 21 years old then. When I was pushed into the operating theatre, I felt like I needed a lot of courage. The episode changed my whole lifestyle as I became more health conscious, changing my diet. My peers back then (also in their 20s) will ask why am I so health-conscious. But looking back, I’m quite grateful for that health scare as I started to be more mindful of my lifestyle and diet.
At 30 years old, I suffered my first miscarriage during my first pregnancy. It taught me that I needed to manage my work life, and I overcame it by becoming more spiritual as I began to do more volunteer work. I learnt that I had to take care of my health first before I could take care of a new life. It was an awakening for me as I realised I needed to prioritise self-care and self-love to become a parent. 3 years later when I had my first child, I became more appreciative and decided to be a stay-at-home mom. I also adopted a more positive mindset and to have a good learning attitude from the setbacks in life.
When I first became an entrepreneur, I had trouble managing my team. Initially, there were many conflicts trying to manage my team and handling their emotions. I overcame it by being self-reflective and understanding myself through the Enneagram test and mindfulness practice. It opened up my eyes to my personality, my strengths, weaknesses and blindspots, and helped me understand my team members and work well with them. I also went through coaching to train myself to be a more mindful. I’m also trained as a mindful performance coach, which allows me to point out my own blindspots and reduce self-sabotaging behaviours and vicious cycles if I don’t manage myself, and my emotions and correct my old behavioural patterns.
What excites you most about your industry?
The 3 Cs: Creativity, Collaboration and Customers.
I feel like I can unleash my creativity in this business in terms of organising events such as workshops and thematic events such as Mother’s Day, educating people on jewellery and coming up with new collections of jewellery related to elements that inspire me like HOPE. There is a lot of inspiration from nature like butterflies, rainbows and flowers which inspires my jewellery collection.
We collaborate a lot with HOPE ambassadors who display qualities like a diamond: Resilient, strong and beautiful inside and out. We also collaborate with businesses that are looking for customization pieces. For example, in Chinese Metaphysics, there are a lot of practitioners who use jewellery to connect with their customers, such as their 8 characters (Bazi, 8 字) which resembles how jewellery is close to our hearts when we wear them daily.
Our customers’ experience is priceless and exciting. There are many people that I meet every day and I find joy in celebrating their milestones with them (such as wedding anniversaries, baby showers and wishing their elderly parents longevity) as they come by to choose jewellery for their loved ones or themselves.
What is your vision / personal motto?
These are the 3 statements I live by:
Live life purposefully
Be accountable for my own actions
Do you have any words of advice for other ladies who are starting their business/ starting to pursue their dream?
Firstly, you need to be aware of your resources and the investments required for your business. Secondly, time management. Thirdly, planning how long it will take to get your returns on investments. Fourth, get a personal business or life coach and have a mentor to guide you on your blind spots and provide advice. Fifth, family support is very important, which will give us extra motivation. Six, do not lose your authenticity as you need to be authentic to find your niche. Seven, continue to have self-love and self-care as running a business is not easy. Running a business can be rewarding, but you need to remember to reward yourself too. This would ensure you’re in tip-top condition to not compromise your health when you’re busy.
What have you learnt recently that you hope the other ladies can take back?
Always start with the right view and right mindset. Many times, we only focus on the action and results, but we should go back and reevaluate our purpose and view when doing something, and determine if we’re on the right track. This would be applicable in the 3 important aspects of our lives: 1) Relationships with our family and friends, which is important because if we have the wrong mindset, the relationship might fail; 2) Health, as we tend to be at risk of trading temporary things (such as material goods) for our health. We need to have good health to do the work we want to do or do what we like to do; 3) Wealth and income as we need to be able to have a sustainable job with an income to manage our relationships and health. With the right mindset to work on our relationships and health, wealth will naturally come. It is important to prioritise your life and not mix them up.
How do you think you can help ladies to feel confident and empowered?
A woman needs to know herself well: her strengths, weaknesses, personality and purpose, and to work on her external beauty and internal beauty such as kindness and morals. I believe that having a support group is important. For my business, I’ll be setting up a community for women called Women of HOPE which aims to gather women to share with them how to style themselves with jewellery and makeup and to inspire hope in women to be authentic, kind and beautiful inside-out. Also, having confidence in yourself to ensure that whatever you’re doing aligns with your passion and purpose and brings you wealth to sustain them. It is important that we do whatever is in our capacity to inspire people to be better versions of themselves. At 45, my past 23 years of experience have shed some light on how I can share my experience with women to empower them and boost their confidence. Hence, women can join this community to learn more from other women’s life experiences.
What is one thing you are grateful for?
Definitely my parents’ love and the education they provided me. Without this, I don’t think I’ll be able to do what I’m doing now, and I wouldn’t have the vision and the right mindset to accomplish what I want to accomplish and lead a purposeful life.
What do you do in your free time as self-care? How do you unwind?
I read, meditate, jog, do yoga, take walks in nature, watch TV shows and spend time with my family by playing board/card games with my children. I also like to watch concerts and travel if I have the time.
Let us know more about what you do!
House of Phua is a 2nd generation gem jewellery boutique since 1990, specialising in timeless and quality gold, jade, lab-grown diamond and precious gem jewellery, with our mission to provide the 5 Cs: Confidence, Certification, Cost-effectiveness, Customer Service, Commitment. We also specialise in bespoke designs, repurposing of gold and repair.
You may also find us featured on Zaobao,
Connect with House of Phua!
Are you a Fempreneur too?
Connect with us – we’d love to feature you! Say hi to us at [email protected] or reach out to us via our social media.
Read TLC x Fempreneur Series:
- Margaret Wu, For Beloved One
- Nerissa Low, Liht Organics
- Nicolette Ng, Write Edge
- Maddy Barber, Madly Gems
- Dr. Menka Gupta, Nutra Nourish
- Lily Kew, Kew Organics
- Vikki Tear, SoyCraft
- Ezza Yusof, 2morrow Official (Malaysia)
- Julie Yim, Lilin+Co (Malaysia)
- Zairin Azman, UMMA (Malaysia)