As more and more young entrepreneurs strike out, there are also some who have played things closer to the home – by taking over their family businesses.
The second-generation and third entrepreneurs are bringing their family’s businesses into the future, and they’re doing a damn good job of it.
1. Stella Tan, Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle
It may be a dirty job, but that isn’t stopping from 26-year-old Stella Tan from jumping right into pottery.
In January 2013, Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle was in an uncertain period, having been supposed to leave its Jalan Bahar premises. But now that its been given a second chance, 3rd-generation Stella is determined to make it work.
“My uncles, aunts and parents spent most of their days working and expanding the business, and went through the good and bad days together,” she had told The New Paper.
And her efforts to bring the business digital and to art markets have paid off.
“Being the first third-generation, it’s stressful to start something new as I am afraid to fail. But [the] full support from the family pushes me to achieve what I think works for the business.”
“I believe in doing the right thing, and nothing will go wrong.”
2. Kelly Lim, Hiap Hin Tian Kee Undertaker
Truly an unconventional career for the modern day millennial, Kelly left her corporate life behind to join the world for the passed.
For Kelly, becoming an undertaker has been a lifelong aspiration, a destination she always had at the back of her mind. However, her parents didn’t want her to join them right after graduation, which led her to a couple different industries before she finally she decided it was time to return home.
A typical work day for Kelly sees her shadowing mother to learns the ropes, as well as heading down to funeral venues to oversee set-ups as well as to the crematorium.
Advertising can be a “tricky affair” for her industry, Kelly shared with Vulcan Post, but they have benefitted from the previous media coverages of ‘millennial undertakers’.
This is good, Kelly says, as it “gives the public an added perspective on an industry that isn’t usually talked about.”
“Families don’t remember the colour or type of coffin you sell, they remember how you made them feel.”
“We [want to make] them feel comforted, [and] that the final journey of their loved one is being taken care of.”
You can read their full article here.
3. Stanley Tan, Windflower Florist
His family business had dwindled down to “single-digit sales” each day, and his parents had had no choice but to turn their 7-year-old business into a gift store.
It was their 25-year old son Stanley Tan who breathed new life into the floral company, and after he completed his National Services, he persuaded his parents to let him to take over.
Even though he had experience selling roses in pushcarts, he had never properly run a floral shop before.
“I am bullheaded. I plunged straight into it [and] had many quarrels with my mum on the design aspect,” he says, describing how he took inspiration from Instagram florists for ‘everyday bouquets’.
From a dying brand, Windflower Florists has been reborn today, and now has their own office space and a team of 8.
With a 1000% surge in orders, Stanley shares that his parents are both delighted and exhausted, as they now have to forgo sleep to craft bouquets.
Looking into the future, Stanley shares that they plans to diversify as “flowers are just a medium to branch out to many other things“.
4. Li Ruifang, 545 Whampoa Prawn Noodles
The roots of this noodle store can be traced back to the 1950s when Ruifang’s grandmother was peddling it along Whampoa streets.
“My grandfather used to cook and sell prawn noodles in the Whampoa area in the 1950s. My dad took over in the 1970s and then I did in 2014. I’ve been helping out at the stall since I was in primary school – so yes, I ate a lot of prawn noodles growing up!”
Growing up with soup for blood, the Economics & Finance graduate turned hawker was wandering through a corporate life when she finally decided that it wasn’t the career for her.
And so, she ditched it to open a shop at second hawker store at Tekka, while her aunts ran the one at Whampoa.
Every morning, Ruifang gets up as early as 3am to do the prep work so that the stall can open at 6.30am. She then closes at 2pm, but stays until the late afternoon to prepare for the next day.
A successful hawkerpreneur, Ruifang shared in a previous interview that she as selling hundreds of bowls each, and is now affectionately known as ‘hei mee soh’ (prawn mee auntie).
Even though she has chosen to embark on a challenging career, her parents are generously supportive of their daughter.
“I let her be what she wants to be, so as long as she is happy” said her mother, while her father revealed that his daughter has hopes of opening a café with low street stools one day.
“Just like the old days,” he says.
Back To Family
These 4 individuals are but a snapshot of how millennials are elevating their family businesses in Singapore, but it is always a heartening sight to see how they are contributing back to the businesses their parents had staked their livelihood on.
So, what other entrepreneurs do you know of?
Featured Image Credit: LinkedIn, Stanley Tan Facebook, Stella Lim Facebook, Honeycombers.