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 Vanessa Yip (Feng Xiang BKT, Orderly, The Rowan Tree)
Tell us a little about yourself. What is your business/brand about?
Feng Xiang BKT – Bringing authentic Klang herbal BKT and fried porridge to Singapore.
Orderly – Taming clutter and setting up organizing systems, one space at a time.
The Rowan Tree – Providing a safe space for students to explore, learn and grow.
What got you started on your business?
Feng Xiang BKT – As a group of friends, we are really into food. The others are all from Klang and they missed the food from their hometown, especially since it was during COVID times and there were still travel restrictions. One partner prepared his family recipe for us to try and we all loved it so much, we decided to start FX so that we could have it whenever we wanted, and also share it with everyone in Singapore.
Orderly – I’ve always tried my best to be pretty organized, whether it’s at home or with setting up systems to help me cope with work. After watching The Home Edit, I felt like it was something I would love to do as a career. At that time, I had just started FX and felt like my plate was full enough so I put plans to start my own organizing business on hold. A few months later, my friend (and now partner), Rae, posted on IG that she was starting a professional organizing company. Realizing it was now or never, I DMed her to ask if we could venture together and the rest is history!
The Rowan Tree – After FX and Orderly had begun, I felt more and more overwhelmed at my full-time job (teaching at The Learning Lab) and decided to leave for the sake of my mental health. However, I couldn’t leave the classroom behind. After much deliberation, I decided to start TRT with another partner, Deborah. We write our own curriculum and had to learn how to manage admin/backend tasks on our own. Even though it can be tough juggling so many things, I still enjoy every aspect of each job. I just wish I had more hours in a day to do everything!
Before you started on your business, what did you do on a full-time basis?
I used to teach full-time (English, N2-P3) at The Learning Lab for nine and a half years.
What were some difficulties you faced in your life and how did you overcome them?
Juggling WFH and family during circuit breaker – My husband and I live with our 2 kids. During CB, we were both working from home. Our kids were 1 and 3 at the time. It was a real challenge tending to both of them while teaching a class (or attending meetings). We had to manage with what we could – eg. holding a kid each while on Zoom, completing work and taking care of ourselves after the kids went to bed, taking one kid out with us when grocery shopping despite being scared to death of any one of us contracting COVID (it was more of a logistical nightmare than a health scare at that point, one person would likely have to take on both kids alone plus work).
Right now, just trying to keep track of all my tasks and meet the deadlines I set for myself. Especially with mum-brain, I find it hard to even remember jotting down the tasks I need to get down to. I think no way to overcome it for now, perhaps more ginkgo? More fish oil? Maybe I need to start tying strings on my fingers? Get someone to invent a remembrall? (Wink wink Harry Potter fans)
What excites you most about your industry?
The F&B industry is so supportive. So far, everyone we’ve worked with and alongside (eg. other stallholders and F&B business owners, suppliers) has been really friendly and kind. It feels so nice to be part of an industry where everyone understands the other’s struggles and genuinely wants to help.
The PO (professional organizing) industry is not that new to Singapore, but it is a growing community. It’s exciting to see how Singapore has been really receptive to us as a service and how there’s been a growing demand.
The private education industry has always been saturated, but it’s amazing to see student management methods evolving into more mindful and developmentally appropriate ways. I believe in respectful and positive parenting so I likewise feel that’s the best way to build relationships with my students and help them learn.
What is your vision / personal motto?
Respect time, respect place, respect people.
Do you have any words of advice for other ladies who are starting their business/ starting to pursue their dream?
You CAN do it all by yourself, but you would enjoy the process much more if you put your faith in your village and accept help.
What have you learnt recently that you hope the other ladies can take back?
I don’t know the answers to everything and I am here to learn.
How do you think you can help ladies to feel confident and empowered?
By normalizing things we are insecure about. The more we see that others are sharing the same struggles, the more we feel like it’s no big deal to have them.
What is one thing you are grateful for?
My husband. He has been such a pillar of support. I go to him whenever I have doubts about anything (and that’s very frequently, I’m always anxious) and he helps me break things down and put things into perspective. He’s also an equal partner at home in many ways, from childcare to housework.
What do you do in your free time as self-care? How do you unwind?
I play games on the PS/computer or watch dramas. I also enjoy studying languages and picking up new ones.
Let us know more about what you do!
Ever had fried porridge? No? Come down to Feng Xiang to try it out! Feng Xiang BKT has been featured in SethLui.com, Mothership, Miss Tam Chiak, FoodKing, Singapore Foodie, ieatishootipost, and danielfooddiary.
If you’re getting frustrated with clutter in your home, it’s time to call Orderly. Orderly has been featured in Today, Women’s Weekly, HerWorld, Carousell, CAN Lifestyle, and CNA 938 live radio.
Learn English in a fun, structured manner, with highly-experienced teachers at The Rowan Tree.
Connect with Feng Xiang BKT, Orderly, and The Rowan Tree!
1 lucky winner stands a chance to win 1 complimentary lesson at The Rowan Tree (1hr 45min class). Redeem before 31 March 2023.
The Rowan Tree is a primary school English tuition centre which seeks to be a safe haven for students to learn, explore and flourish.
𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐨 𝐏𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐢𝐩𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐈𝐧𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐦 𝐆𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐚𝐰𝐚𝐲:
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Best of luck
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)