Get to know the people who run companies while working full time


The media is full of stories of business owners and companies quitting their daily jobs to pursue their passions full time. Many in Singapore, from street vendors to founders of tech startups, have decided leave their cozy corporate jobs to embark on the hard path of entrepreneurship.

However, a study by researchers Joseph Raffiee and Jie Feng Interestingly, it was found that employers who maintained daily work had a 33% lower probability of failure than those who quit smoking.

This could be due to the benefits of having a balanced “risk portfolio”: having a sense of security in an environment gives people greater freedom to be creative and original in other aspects of life, such as their own businesses.

Many entrepreneurs continue to create successful businesses, even though they still have a stake in their positions full-time. Here are some Singapore founders who did the same:

1. Ee Chien Chua by Jekyll & Hyde

Ee Chien Chua, owner of Jekyll & Hyde / Image credit: Jekyll & Hyde Jekyll & Hyde

Jekyll and Hyde is an award-winning and personalized cocktail bar that was founded in 2013.

In 2018, now-owner Ee Chien Chua stumbled upon the opportunity to take over the bar’s operations and “took on the challenge almost on impulse”.

Ee Chien has helped emerging high-tech companies like Uber and Grab grow and launch different products and solutions.

The current director of Business Development and Associations of digital wealth advisor Endowus thought the bar had established itself as a unique home-grown business and that there was a lot of potential to make it grow even more.

Since taking over Jekyll & Hyde in 2018, Ee Chien has continued to maintain the bar’s unique cocktail standards and outlets, and the bar manages to generate more than $ 1 million in revenue.

Ee Chien told Vulcan Post in a independent interview who wakes up at 7.30am daily and makes sure he does his daily work efficiently. After work, he helps with bar operations.

Looking back on his own journey, Ee Chien said he would not advise anyone who dreams of starting his own business to leave work full time.

2. Miya Chong of Saltwater Altelier

salt water workshop miya chong
Miya Chong, founder of Saltwater Atelier / Image Credit: Miya Chong / Saltwater Atelier

Salt water workshop is a handmade soap brand created by founder Miya Chong.

Miya runs Saltwater Atelier and hand-manufactures soaps along with her full-time job for an American cruise company where she develops regional business, marketing and public relations. She is also the mother of three young children.

Miya came across a soap making shop while on a business trip in 2017 and started experimenting with creating her own soap. He later started an Instagram page (@saltwateratelier) to document their soap creations and share the soap making process.

Just two months after launching her Instagram page, she received an order for her first commissioned work: 200 bars of soap for a wedding.

Made in small batches without two bars with the same look, each bar is infused with ingredients free of SLS, parabens, phthalates and preservatives. Soaps are also 100% vegan, free of palm trees and tested with friends, not animals.

Saltwater Atelier bar soaps are priced between $ 12 and $ 18.

Now, their goal is to share the beauty of quality handmade soaps and inject art into the mundane daily task of showering.

3. Maddy Barber of MADLY

Madly Gems
Maddy Barber, founder of MADLY / Image Credit: MADLY

BOGAMENT is a bespoke jeweler that has received considerable attention since the brand’s inception in 2015.

The brand has reached the top ten jewelers in Singapore by Tatler for four consecutive years and has also won the best jeweler in Asia by the Luxury Travel Guide Lifestyle Awards and has moved to the Top 10 list of handcrafted jewelry from TallyPress.

MADLY is founded by radio personality Maddy Barber, who continues to co-present a breakfast program on local radio station Kiss92 FM.

Maddy tried to create custom jewelry to regular jewelers, but realized that they rarely went through the effort of understanding the style or personality of their customers, nor did they dare to try anything new.

He then launched MADLY as a brand that offers customers unique and bespoke jewelry, able to tell their stories down to the last detail.

The brand has the full range of gems, from the most famous colored gems like sapphires, emeralds and rubies, to upcoming ones like spinach and tsavorite garnets, and even changing gems. of color like the alexandrites.

“MADLY is more than just creating and selling beautiful jewelry – it’s about making the world a happier, brighter place with what we do and how we interact with the people and the world around us,” Maddy told independent interview with Vulcan Post.

4. EasyMeat’s Mervin Tham, Johnson Ng and Sean Goh

Easy Meat SG
EasyMeat Co-Founders / Image Credit: Easy Meat

Singaporeans Mervin Tham, Johnson Ng and Sean Goh once wanted decadent meat at midnight, but realized there was no way to buy it.

At that time there were no restaurants open and deliveries would take at least a day to arrive. Then they started thinking about how they could provide good quality beef cuts at all times for Singaporeans who want a quick beef solution.

This led to the birth of EasyMeat SG – a local startup that operates vending machines that dispense Australian Wagyu beef.

In Singapore there is already a wide variety of vending machines that distribute free sample products in masks.

However, Johnson told Vulcan Post a an interview that EasyMeat vending machines are the first in Singapore to dispense fresh meat. A 200 g steak costs S $ 25, while 250 g of sliced ​​meat shabu shabu will pay you back for S $ 19.

The three co-founders of EasyMeat run the start in addition to their full-time jobs.

5. John Chen, Lee Yue Xia, Paladin Hsu and Selene Ong of Aloha Poke

Aloha Poke
Image credit: Aloha Poke

Today, Singaporeans are not unfamiliar with poke bowls, thanks to the emergence of several restaurants that serve them for health-conscious office workers.

Despite this, Aloha Poké is the first of its kind in Singapore.

The chain’s four founders, John Chen, Lee Yue Xia, Paladin Hsu and Selene Ong, were on vacation in Hawaii in 2014, when they had their first taste of the quintessential Hawaiian dish.

Calling the experience “love for the first taste,” they spent the rest of their vacation looking for the best poke joints on and around Oahu. When they returned to Singapore, they tried to find suitable alternatives, but to no avail.

That’s when they started experimenting with poké flavors in their own kitchen from the fond memories of their time in Hawaii. They also poked each other, their family and friends, until they believed they were achieving balance of flavors.

Not content with simply sharing the wonders of poké with loved ones, they decided to create a restaurant and opened their first Aloha Poké establishment on Amoy Street in August 2015.

They now have three outlets in Singapore and have also expanded to Perth, Australia.

In a previous interview with the founders in 2017, they shared that each outlet can expect to sell an average of up to 30kg of fish and an average of two poke bowls per minute during the busy two-hour-a-day lunch window.

At the time of writing, the four founders were still working full-time in the banking industry while running the chain.

There is no set formula for success

Starting a business is hard work, and these Singaporeans managed to create a new brand for themselves, while still juggling their corporate jobs.

However, there is no definite path to success.

While keeping the job for a day can give them a greater sense of security when working on new business ideas, leaving their jobs could mean they can devote more time and effort to their job. new company.

Featured Image Credit: Jekyll & Hyde / Saltwater Workshop / MADLY / EasyMeat / Aloha Poké

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