Celebrating Resilience: 7 Female Entrepreneurs Share Their Struggles and Advice | Bone and Grey Bridal IWD 2024

Celebrating Resilience: 7 Female Entrepreneurs Share Their Struggles and Advice

In honor of International Women's Day 2024, we turned the spotlight on the vibrant and diverse community of female entrepreneurs in Singapore. We delved into their journeys, not shying away from the hurdles they've faced. Their stories are a testament to resilience, determination, and the spirit of entrepreneurship. Here, we share the candid struggles and invaluable pieces of advice from seven inspiring female founders or those paving their own path in the community, revealing their vulnerable moments and the wisdom gained through their experiences.

1. Breaking Cultural Norms

By Taylor Egg Freezing & IVF Concierge - Eve | Bone and Grey Bridal IWD 2024By Taylor Egg Freezing & IVF Concierge - Eve | Bone and Grey Bridal IWD 2024

Eve, CEO & Co-founder of Taylor
Egg Freezing & IVF Concierge

My struggle: I am now able to be true to myself, and that involved letting go of living up to the CEO stereotype - the aggressive, confident person featured on Forbes and panel discussions. I do not naturally gravitate to the spotlight, and I am learning to do so in a way that is authentic to myself and driven from a place of truth and substance. I've been hearing again and again from our recent members, "why am I only hearing about you now?" and that gives me the drive to make the option of Taylor known to more people.

A piece of advice: Get used to the ups and downs, and go with the flow enroute to your destination. The metaphor I sometimes fall back on is the sensation of skiing - you need to steer, but you need to ride the bumps of the mountain to help you move forward with less effort, applying the right kind of pressure to get to where you want to be. Feel the wind in your hair and enjoy the scenic scene as you go. I think entrepreneurship is something so hard that sheer grit and will is insufficient - you have to have faith, recover quickly, ride the waves, and enjoy the ride.

2. The Challenge of Balancing Roles

DMK Women's Shoes & Bags - Eileen | Bone and Grey Bridal IWD 2024

Eileen, Chief Creative Office & 2nd Generation Owner of DMK
Women's Shoes & Bags

My struggle: As a female entrepreneur navigating the dynamic realm of fashion at DMK, one of the greatest challenges I face lies in harmonizing my innate empathy with the relentless demands of tight deadlines. My instinct is always to prioritize the well-being of my team members amidst the pressures they face, while also managing the imperative need to meet deadlines in the rapidly evolving fashion landscape. Over the years, I've learned that fostering a culture of open communication, conducting regular mental wellness check-ins, and implementing effective delegation strategies help ensure that each team member feels supported as we work toward our collective goals. By nurturing a balance between compassion and productivity, I learnt (and am still learning!) to lead with empathy while propelling DMK forward with purpose and determination with the team.

A piece of advice: In the world of entrepreneurship, I've learned that pushing past self-doubt is crucial. Trying something new will definitely feel uncomfortable, but I've come to realize that growth lies beyond the comfort zone. Taking risks, learning quickly from mistakes, and adapting along the way will help you gain more confidence in what you’re doing and to get out of the discomfort. At the end of the day, consistency — not intensity — is the real game-changer. It's not about how fast you go, but about showing up every day, pushing forward even when the going gets tough. And above all, never give up, no matter how daunting the challenges may seem.

3. Embracing both Career and Life

Warrior Studios Yoga Studio - Melly | Bone and Grey Bridal IWD 2024Warrior Studios Yoga Studio - Melly | Bone and Grey Bridal IWD 2024

Melly, Founder of Warrior Studios
Yoga Studio

My struggle: As a female entrepreneur running a yoga studio, I grapple with balancing my business endeavors with my role as a mother to my daughter. This juggling act often leads to feelings of mom guilt and a struggle to find time for myself and my husband amidst the unpredictable income streams of the industry.
To overcome these challenges, I've learned to compartmentalize my time and mindset, ensuring that I'm fully present in each aspect of my life when needed. I also prioritize experiences over finances, recognizing that life's richness lies in moments shared with loved ones. Lastly, I've embraced the reality that I can't please everyone and focus instead on doing my best within the constraints I face, fostering resilience and grace in the face of entrepreneurial pressures.

A piece of advice: As a woman business owner, it's crucial to honor both your femininity and your entrepreneurial spirit. Embrace the strength and intuition that comes with being a woman in business, recognizing that your unique perspective and approach can be powerful assets. One piece of advice I would offer to fellow entrepreneurs, particularly women, is to prioritize personal well-being and flexibility in your journey. Balancing work and life demands can be challenging, but by nurturing your relationships and staying open to change, you can navigate obstacles with grace and resilience. Remember, if not now, then when? Seize the opportunity to pursue your dreams, adapting and evolving as needed along the way. Success isn't just about financial gains; it's about achieving harmony and fulfillment in both your business ventures and personal life.

4. Dealing with the Labels Others put on us

Werable.co Adaptive and Accessible Fashion - Claudia | Bone and Grey Bridal IWD 2024Werable.co Adaptive and Accessible Fashion - Claudia | Bone and Grey Bridal IWD 2024

Claudia, Founder of Werable.co
Adaptive and Accessible Fashion

My struggle: It's difficult to stomach the labels that people give us, especially if we trust in their opinions. In hopes of self-improvement, it helps to listen to others and consider how our own perspectives are misaligned. But it is a fine line between openness and losing a sense of self. At the age of 11, I was told by my mentor that I needed to be more aggressive if I wanted to seriously consider a career in fashion. At 16, I was reminded by my father that math just wasn't my thing. At 27, my ex told me that my emotions needed to be set aside when deciding to help the people in my life. People never stop telling us who we are and who we should be. I believed that it didn't stem from a place of malice but that of care. Indeed growth means change, but what if you change the best parts of yourself just because people don't see your value? It means a great deal to me today to be able to preserve my sense of self and choice. I use my emotions as a tool to unravel the complexities of my mind and to decipher what is important to me personally. Journaling and therapy help a great deal in that respect.

A piece of advice: You don't have to tank everything by yourself. It's okay to admit that some things are outside of our expertise and it is okay to ask for help.

5. The Struggle of Being Taken Seriously

The Aesthetics Medical Clinic - Mindy | Bone and Grey Bridal IWD 2024The Aesthetics Medical Clinic - Mindy | Bone and Grey Bridal IWD 2024

Mindy, Head of Business Development of The Aesthetics Medical Clinic, under Orchard Medical

My struggle: In our trade, many regard the physician as the decision maker. Thus at times, there are situations where my authority is undermined and there are requests check with my superior/director on certain decisions. I believe that clear communication of a well-rounded though process on the topic at hand is crucial to show individuals that you are qualified enough and well prepared to making decisions like so. Having also evidence-based past examples can solidify and support your decision on the certain matter at hand.

A piece of advice: Just do it! I had a lot of doubts and hesitation on whether the new line/initiative that I planned to launch will be successful so I procrastinated many times. However, I realize with a supportive team and a “just do it” attitude whenever you face an obstacle, there will always be light at the end of tunnel. You can always overcome them one by one. Slowly but surely and don’t be afraid to make mistakes!

6. Overcoming Inexperience & Continuous Learning

ScentSupplyCo Diffuser Oils & Soy Candle Making Supplies - Nicole | Bone and Grey Bridal IWD 2024ScentSupplyCo Diffuser Oils & Soy Candle Making Supplies - Nicole | Bone and Grey Bridal IWD 2024

Nicole, CEO of ScentSupplyCo
Diffuser Oils & Soy Candle Making Supplies

My struggle: A challenge I face is that sometimes, I really just don't have enough experience, especially when it comes to running a business and managing a team. However, I'm fortunate to have an incredible team that shows immense patience and understanding with me despite my shortcomings. To address this, I constantly educate myself by reading books and listening to podcasts to expand my knowledge, experimenting with the strategies in real life, observing its effectiveness, and then adapting and refining my approach accordingly.

A piece of advice: Something that has been on my mind recently is that when you start your own business, you're essentially leaving a 9 to 5 job to sign up for a 24/7 job. And when you think about it this way, it's probably a really dumb thing for anyone to do. The only way for it to make sense is when you really believe that what you offer has the potential to make a meaningful difference in people's lives.

7. Breaking through Tradition with Innovation

Bone and Grey Minimal Wedding Brand - Joy | Bone and Grey Bridal IWD 2024Bone and Grey Minimal Wedding Brand - Joy | Bone and Grey Bridal IWD 2024

Joy, Founder & Creative Director of Bone and Grey
Minimalist wedding brand

My struggle: Getting the word out about a new brand and building that brand awareness and brand love. Because bridal is quite a traditional industry, it’s not easy for new brands to arise amidst all of the gown brands and bridal studios. On top of that, creating gown styles that brides will love and be willing to buy online is tough, especially with a small budget for R&D compared to the more established makers.

A piece of advice: If you’re looking to start a small business full-time by bootstrapping it, you need to have at least 100K in savings to last you a few years in case the business doesn’t take off right away (also depends on how you spend the money). This is honestly so important to be realistic about, and why starting a side hustle while working FT makes the most sense financially. Plus, be as frugal as possible when starting out, only pay for what you need not what would be nice / cool!

To wrap it all up

The journeys of these seven female entrepreneurs highlight the myriad of challenges they face, but more importantly, they showcase the resilience, creativity, and strength inherent in the path of entrepreneurship. Their advice serves as a beacon for aspiring female founders, reminding us that while the road may be fraught with challenges, it is also paved with opportunities for growth, learning, and immense satisfaction.

Let's take a moment to celebrate not just the successes but also the courage and persistence of female entrepreneurs in Singapore and around the world. Their stories are not just narratives of struggle but of overcoming, inspiring change, and forging paths for others to follow.

Leave a comment to share your thoughts or to cheer them on further! ❤️

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