3 creative entrepreneurs on their passions, struggles, and hopes for 2021

December 23, 2020

Silvia Teh, Sharon Leisinger and Sabrina Goh share how they overcame business challenges and manage their time

Balancing work and family, wanting to achieve career goals and having the freedom to pursue her passions – there’s a lot going on in the life of a 21st century woman. And Swiss watchmaker Tissot knows that. That’s why Tissot came up with the Tissot T-My Lady watch, which is elegant, accurate and versatile. 

To design an automatic timepiece with an elegant see-through caseback, power reserve of up to 48 hours, and eight Top Wesselton diamond indexes on the dial, is truly outstanding. Tissot has gone one step further with the introduction of interchangeable straps. You no longer need to choose between buying a stainless steel or leather strap watch –  you can have both!

Tissot T-My Lady

Creating watches for women since 1853, Tissot continues to evolve its designs and watchmaking know-how to cater to its customers. Due to the magnetic fields generated by our mobile phone, computer and magnets, which are ever more present in our daily lives, Tissot has developed a new titanium-based alloy to preserve the precision of its watches. The Tissot T-My Lady has a Nivachron™ balance spring that is said to be far more resistant to and unaffected by magnetic fields than standard springs.

With this ideal combination of form and function, the Tissot T-My Lady is a great timepiece that you’ll never have to take off. With their busy and fashionable lives, creative entrepreneurs like Silvia Teh, Sharon Leisinger and Sabrina Goh truly appreciate the Tissot T-My Lady.

Silvia Teh wears the Tissot T-My Lady Automatic with white mother of pearl dial, $1,240

I want to establish a university for the underprivileged to get a degree, and enable them to have equal opportunities as others.

Silvia Teh, fashion designer and founder of Silvia Teh

What first got you interested in fashion?

I have always liked clothes since I was little. I didn’t realise it then, but in the story books I read or the kids shows I watched, I was always interested in the clothes they were wearing.

What challenges have you faced with your business?

Running my own business with zero experience was the biggest obstacle I had to overcome. For the first few years, I honestly had no idea what I was doing. From business development to marketing, I was not doing it right, and when I did not see any results, my confidence started to thin. It took me a while to bring myself back up. I took a break for half a year, before I took a leap of faith and launched a new collection called #unbreakable, which was the most meaningful collection I’d produced. This collection brought me back to life.

What do you want your legacy to be?

I want my legacy to be a free school. I come from a humble background and education really brought me forward, much more than I could have ever imagined. Without the opportunity, I would not be where I am today. I want to establish a university for the underprivileged to get a degree, and enable them to have equal opportunities as others.

What do you look for in a watch?

I like a watch that can match my dynamic lifestyle. My days are usually a mix of client meet-ups, supplier meetings, and running errands. I think a watch with a versatile and classic design is key.

What are some of your passions outside fashion?

I have a big passion for teaching and aerial yoga. I like to share my knowledge and help others to avoid making the mistakes that I made. For example, as soon as I found out the trick to social media marketing, I’d spread the knowledge to my fellow SME friends and teach them my SOP. As for aerial yoga, it is a very challenging and rewarding sport. I get an adrenaline rush when I can successfully execute the poses.

What do you have planned for the brand in 2021?

My plan for 2021 is to expand my product line to include more ready-to-wear pieces. I’m producing designs that are suitable for a woman’s day-to-day life and, at the same time, I am going to launch an On Demand production system for my ready-to-wear. Clients will get 15 per cent off when they pre-order an item, which would be ready in six to eight weeks’ time.

Sharon Leisinger wears the Tissot T-My Lady Automatic with blue sunburst dial, $1,190

It’s heartening to see diverse female photographers fearlessly pursuing their vision and bringing something different to the landscape and language of how we see ourselves.

Sharon Leisinger, photographer and producer

How did your passion for photography come about?

My introduction to photography started when I was 8, when my father, a serious photography and video enthusiast, gifted me my first film camera. Growing up, I had a natural interest in and appreciation for beautiful imagery. I majored in Photojournalism & Documentary Production at school, and, around the same time, was scouted by iconic Singapore photographer Chuando to be a model, which gave me an insight to being on both sides of the lens. When I eventually moved to Germany for university, I worked at a renowned photographer’s studio, and my passion just kept growing.

What challenges have you faced and overcome as a female photographer?

When it comes to photography, a majority of art or commercial work shown still comes from a male or dominant gaze, so it’s heartening each time I see diverse female photographers fearlessly pursuing their vision and bringing something different to the landscape and language of how we see ourselves. We need the perspective of the other half of the population, so I hope my contribution can inspire someone as well.

What do you like about shooting portraits?

I like the collaborative process with the subject. That’s something that can’t be taught – genuinely empathising and connecting with someone, and sometimes letting the subject take you somewhere you might not have expected. It brings me joy when the unique beauty and essence of a person is reflected in the photograph we created together. That, in turn, shapes their confidence and the perception they have of themselves.

You’ve been running a business of your own for over a decade. What strengths do you capitalise on?

Having self belief, and the courage to follow your own path and define what success means for you. I also believe in nurturing a growth mindset, which means that I can keep learning and improving, and that I can find solutions when faced with setbacks in my business. With experience, I’ve also learnt to trust my intuition when it comes to people or decision making.

How do you manage your time?

Small rituals, like making a list at bedtime of what needs to be done the next day, give me some structure and peace, and allow me to save time and brain power to be creative. Delegation is key to scaling your business, and also freeing up precious time for health and nurturing relationships.

What lessons have you learnt from 2020?

On a personal level, practising gratitude and putting effort into things that make life meaningful. For me, that’s taking care of my mental and physical health, and fostering deeper connections with the people around me. On a broader level, there are so many environmental and societal issues and injustices that have been magnified in the last year globally, which is why I’m doing my best to educate myself, listen to different perspectives, make changes and take positive action.

Sabrina Goh wears the Tissot T-My Lady Automatic with anthracite gradient dial, $1,190

I multitask as an entrepreneur, designer, runner, wife and mother, while having a clear vision of what I want for the brand.

Sabrina Goh, creative director of SABRINAGOH

What first got you interested in fashion?

I was interested in fashion during my secondary school years, when my dad suggested it and I started to entertain the idea of being a fashion designer. But I never thought of starting my own fashion label. I participated in a few young designer contests, and I liked the process of creating my designs with an inspired view. So I continued working and launched my first collection in 2009, debuting at fashion week.

How has your brand evolved over the years?

When the brand first launched in 2009, it was masculine and androgynous. With the changing of trends and understanding what customers want, the brand evolved and developed into minimal and practical styles for everyday women.

What challenges have you faced and overcome?

The greatest challenge was how to grow the brand consistently over the years. I remember when we first started out in 2009, we only had a rack space to display our items at a multi-level store. With sales as low as $200 per month, it was tough to grow and scale the business. And it was all a one-man show. It was a different time, tough in every way, but we learnt and grew to who we are now – running three stores and overcoming other challenges along the way.

As a female entrepreneur, what strengths do you capitalise on?

Multitasking as an entrepreneur, designer, runner, wife and mother, while having a clear vision of what I want for the brand. I work with deadlines, which is why I always have to plan ahead and prioritise.

What are some of your passions other than fashion?

Baking. I picked up the skill last year at ABC Cooking Studio. I wanted to do something not related to my work. I find it therapeutic and fulfilling whenever I bake.

Any exciting projects lined up?

We launched our reusable face masks in July, and it was a huge success. It got us thinking about developing a new product line that would meet consumers’ needs. We just launched our bags and hats with an on-demand model basis. And in 2021, we plan to launch products with better sustainable materials.

Shop the full range of Tissot T-My Lady watches here.

Brought to you by Tissot