Cheryl Han was the youngest senior management member in her division at DHL when she was retrenched from the company. But while the let-go was disheartening, it came as no surprise.
“I was part of the planning process so it was like watching a storm approaching with my eyes wide open. But my father had passed away just two weeks before, so, in a way, what happened also seemed very trivial in comparison,” says the 38-year-old.
However, seeing ex-colleagues in their 50s struggle because they had limited career options left made her realise one thing: her next endeavour had to not only guarantee job satisfaction, but also financial security.
Treating postpartum conditions
A yoga instructor in her free time, Cheryl had met many women who suffer from incontinence. She decided to venture into alleviating the problem when she found out that it can now be treated with just machines.
“In the past, the only treatment options available were either physical therapy, which was non-invasive but had slow results, or surgery, which had fast results but was invasive. Machines help achieve fast results in a non-surgical manner,” she explains.
This made her establish Orchard Clinic together with a business partner early last year. She admits that the move was a “test of resilience” since it was during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, but that it was a calculated one.
“While other businesses were closing down or downsizing during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, we did the reverse by expanding–we purchased more treatment machines, hired more staff and pumped in more resources into training. It was the perfect time to do it as time ‘stood still’,” she says.
Even though the clinic only offered treatment for incontinence at that point in time, it was often approached for solutions to a host of other postpartum problems. As such, Cheryl decided to broaden the types of services offered.
“Many postpartum women were coming to the clinic as around 50 per cent of them suffer from incontinence. We decided to introduce treatments for common postpartum conditions and now call Orchard Clinic a postpartum centre as it makes it easier for people to understand what we do.”
A focus on quality service
Apart from incontinence, the most common postpartum conditions include diastasis recti (when the abdominal muscles at the connective tissue of the midline of the abdomen has been split); vaginal laxity (when the vaginal muscles and tissues are weakened) and skin laxity (loose skin that feels ‘paper thin’ around areas that stretch the most). Treatment typically involves HIFEM technology for muscle strengthening around the abdominal and pelvic floor area, and shockwave therapy for collagen remodelling and skin tightening.
Business is doing well, particularly since Cheryl and her partner make it a point to be hands-on with operations.
“We focus on providing good healthcare service and perfecting our methods rather than attracting investors,” she says. She adds that they are also committed to creating jobs for mothers or women seeking a career change, and that their current pool of employees include mums who re-entered the workforce, ex-cabin crew members affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and employees who like her, lost their jobs.
“I believe that being profitable will be a natural outcome when we’re committed to creating solutions that people want, which include jobs that provide security and fulfilment.”
Aspiring to embark on entrepreneurship? She has some advice.
“I’ve learnt to not be too quick to respond to things that come up, and to never respond with emotions. Also, to reference Simon Sinek, remember your ‘why’ of the business. This has been useful whenever I needed to make a decision.”