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 Isabelle Lum (Benny’s Gems Creations)
Tell us a little about yourself. What is your business/ brand about?
Hi! I’m Isabelle, and at the core of my life are two roles that I cherish deeply – being a mother to my two wonderful daughters, aged 7 and 9, and my professional role in our family business, Benny’s Gems Creations. Benny’s Gems Creations is more than just a jewelry company. We specialize in creating bespoke pieces that are as unique as the individuals who wear them. Our brand ethos is centered around personalization and craftsmanship. We believe that jewelry should tell a story – whether it’s commemorating a special occasion, embodying personal style, or continuing a family tradition.
We carry one of the largest collections of gemstones in a store with more than 900 loose gemstones. We also have a wide range of jewellery ready for purchase both in-store and online, each uniquely created. We’re not just selling jewelry; we’re crafting memories, and that’s what makes Benny’s Gems Creations stand out in the bespoke jewelry landscape
What got you started on your business?
From a young age, I’ve always had a deep-seated love for jewelry, largely influenced by growing up in and around my father’s business, Benny’s Gems Creations. My fascination with the intricate designs and the stories behind each piece was a constant throughout my childhood. Despite this early passion, my father encouraged a path of independence and exploration outside the family business. He believed it was important for his children to forge their paths and gather diverse experiences.
Respecting his wishes, I ventured into different industries, exploring roles in sales and human resources. These experiences were invaluable; they taught me about various business operations, customer engagement, and the subtleties of managing diverse teams. Each role I took on added to my skill set and broadened my perspective, which I believe is crucial in any creative and customer-focused industry.
However, the call of the jewelry world never left me. The more I worked in other fields, the more I realized that my heart belonged to the artistry and storytelling inherent in jewelry design. This realization, coupled with a desire to continue the legacy that my father had built, ultimately drew me back to Benny’s Gems Creations.
Joining the family business wasn’t just a career choice; it was a coming home of sorts. I brought back with me a wealth of experience from outside industries, which I believe adds a unique dimension to our business approach. Now, as part of the team, I am excited to blend traditional craftsmanship with modern business strategies, helping to take Benny’s Gems Creations into its next chapter.
Before you started your business, what did you do on a full-time basis?
Before helping my dad, I had the opportunity to work in a variety of roles that significantly contributed to my professional growth and business acumen. My last position was with Fujitsu, where I was a member of the HR Regional Team. In this role, I gained valuable insights into organizational dynamics, employee engagement, and the importance of cultivating a positive work culture. This experience was instrumental in shaping my understanding of how to build and manage a successful team.
Prior to Fujitsu, I held various sales positions in different industries, including telecommunications and media. These roles honed my skills in client relations, negotiation, market analysis, and strategic planning. Working across different sectors allowed me to develop a diverse skill set and a flexible approach to business challenges.
Each of these experiences has been pivotal in equipping me with the knowledge and skills required to start and grow the business. They have taught me the importance of adaptability, effective communication, and strategic thinking – all of which are crucial in the entrepreneurial world.
What were some difficulties you faced in your life and how did you overcome them?
One of the most heart-wrenching challenges I’ve faced was the loss of an unborn child. Discovering there was no heartbeat at seven weeks was a deeply painful and heartbreaking experience. It was a time of profound sorrow and grief, and it took a while to come to terms with the loss.
In dealing with this difficulty, my faith played a crucial role. I turned to prayer not only as a source of comfort but also as a way to find acceptance and understanding. Believing that things happen for a reason helped me to gradually heal and maintain hope for the future.
I continued to pray for the blessing of a child, holding onto hope amidst the uncertainty. It was a journey of patience, faith, and resilience. After months of praying and hoping, I was blessed with a child, and two years later, another. These experiences taught me the power of hope and the strength of faith in the face of adversity.
This journey has been transformative. It has taught me about the fragility of life, the importance of faith and hope, and the strength we can find within ourselves during the toughest times. My children are a constant reminder of the journey I’ve been through and the blessings that can come after hardship.
Who inspires you?
My greatest inspiration comes from my aunt. Her resilience in the face of adversity and her ability to excel in whatever she pursues have always amazed me. She, along with my dad, faced considerable challenges during their younger years. Despite these difficulties, she never gave up. Her journey of overcoming obstacles to climb the corporate ladder is a testament to her determination and strength. What truly stands out about her is not just her professional success, but also her passion and talent in her personal interests. She’s a fantastic painter, showcasing not just skill but deep emotion and insight in her art.
Additionally, her ability to sew and crochet beautifully further illustrates her dedication and creativity. Her multifaceted talents and unwavering spirit in both her professional and personal life are what I find incredibly inspiring. She embodies the idea that with hard work, passion, and resilience, one can not only overcome challenges but also thrive in various aspects of life. Her example constantly motivates me to pursue my goals with the same determination and to find joy and fulfillment in my own passions.
What excites you most about your industry?
What excites me the most about the jewelry industry is the unique combination of artistry, rare beauty, and personal connection. At the heart of our industry are the rare and beautiful gemstones that we get to work with. Each gemstone is unique, with its own story and character, and transforming these natural wonders into exquisite pieces of jewelry is an incredibly fulfilling creative process.
But beyond the gemstones and the craftsmanship, what truly excites me is the personal journey we share with our clients. Jewelry often marks significant moments in people’s lives – from engagements and weddings to anniversaries and other milestones. Being a part of these important moments is deeply rewarding.
I have had the privilege of meeting clients at various stages of their lives – from the time they are dating, through to their wedding, and as they celebrate other milestones like anniversaries or the birth of a child. Creating jewelry that becomes a cherished part of their family’s story is a profound honor. These pieces often turn into heirlooms, carrying with them stories and memories for generations.
This aspect of our work – helping people celebrate and remember life’s most precious moments – is what truly energizes and inspires me in this industry. It’s about much more than just the physical product; it’s about the emotional connections and the lifelong relationships we build with our clients.
What is your vision / personal motto?
If you never try, you will never know. Don’t let anyone stop you from chasing your dreams.
What have you learned recently that you hope the other ladies can take back?
Recently, I’ve embraced the understanding that everything in life happens for a reason, and this perspective has been incredibly enlightening. It’s taught me the importance of looking for lessons and opportunities for growth in all experiences, whether they are positive or challenging.
I hope other women can take this perspective back with them. Life is full of unexpected twists and turns, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or disheartened when things don’t go as planned. However, if we start to view these experiences as part of a larger journey and a source of learning, it can change our entire approach to life.
This mindset also encourages us to appreciate the present and find gratitude in our daily lives. Instead of focusing on what we lack or what could have been, we learn to value what we have and the journey we are on.
So, my message to other ladies is to embrace life’s experiences, look for learning opportunities in every situation, and practice gratitude. This approach can transform challenges into valuable life lessons and lead to a more fulfilling and resilient life.
How do you think you can help ladies to feel confident and empowered?
I firmly believe that confidence and empowerment for women begin from within. It’s about cultivating a mindset where we constantly remind ourselves of our capabilities and strengths. To help women feel confident, I advocate for the importance of self-affirmation and positive thinking. It’s crucial to recognize our own achievements and potential and to understand that we are capable of overcoming challenges and achieving our goals.
Independence is another key aspect. I encourage women to learn to rely on their own abilities and judgments. This isn’t just about financial or career independence, but also about making decisions for oneself and standing strong in those choices. Independence fosters self-respect and confidence.
Furthermore, the role of a supportive community cannot be overstated. Surrounding ourselves with friends and colleagues who encourage and uplift us is vital. These positive influences help reinforce our own beliefs in our abilities. They provide a safe space for us to grow and a supportive network to fall back on during challenging times.
What is one thing you are grateful for?
One thing I’m profoundly grateful for is the unwavering support of my husband. Embarking on any significant journey, like running a business, comes with its challenges and uncertainties. Having a supportive partner who believes in you, encourages your aspirations, and stands by you through ups and downs, is invaluable.
My husband’s support has been a cornerstone of my journey. It’s not just about the practical help he provides, but also the emotional and moral support. He listens, offers advice, and sometimes, just being there as a sounding board makes all the difference. His faith in my capabilities boosts my confidence and helps me navigate through tough times.
This support has allowed me to take risks, pursue my goals, and grow both personally and professionally. I believe having such a supportive partner is a blessing that enriches not just the business aspect of my life but also contributes to my overall well-being and happiness.
What do you do in your free time as self-care? How do you unwind?
For me, self-care involves carving out some ‘me time,’ away from kids and focus on myself. This could be as little as 30 minutes a day. This is when I disconnect from my work and focus on activities that bring me joy and relaxation.
One of my favorite ways to unwind is by taking a walk in the park. Being in nature, feeling the fresh air, and simply being present in the moment helps me to clear my mind and rejuvenate. It’s a wonderful way to reset, especially after a busy day.
I also engage in crafting, which for me, is not just a hobby but a therapeutic activity. It allows me to express my creativity and focus on something tangible and artistic. The process of creating something with my hands is incredibly satisfying and calming.
Additionally, I enjoy dedicating time to personal care, like doing my nails or having a facial. These activities not only help me relax but also serve as a reminder to appreciate and take care of myself. It’s a way of acknowledging that my well-being is a priority.
Overall, these activities are essential for my mental and emotional health. They help me maintain balance and ensure that I’m refreshed and ready to tackle the challenges of my professional life. I believe that effective self-care is key to sustained productivity and success.
Let us know more about what you do!
Discover the art of bespoke jewelry with our extensive collection of exquisite gemstones. Our in-house designers and gemologists are dedicated to crafting your dream piece, ensuring a truly personalized and unique experience for every client.
You may also find us featured on Money FM.
Connect with Benny’s Gems Creations!
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 (Singapore)
- Maddy Barber, Madly Gems (Singapore)
- Dr. Menka Gupta, Nutra Nourish (Singapore)
- Vikki Tear, SoyCraft (Singapore)
- Ezza Yusof, 2morrow Official (Malaysia)
- Julie Yim, Lilin+Co (Malaysia)
- Zairin Azman, UMMA (Malaysia)
- Liza Morales, Ecotecture Design Studio (Philippines)
- Lily Pham, Asiawide Business Consulting and Trading (Vietnam)
- Elke Pascoe, LittleOak (Australia)