From Hellen, the Founder of Rosette Designs & Co:
I just passed my 35th birthday, 15 minutes ago. After another late phone call with my partner, Peiru. It is officially 15 minutes past midnight of 4th March 2018. I wanted to end this day by finishing a blog post on my personal website, but Peiru (as strategic as always) convinced me that I should publish it on Rosette’s website. Something that I have been putting off for a long time and ended up never shares my personal thoughts on this commercial platform.
But there’s always a first time.
Running a business in the wedding industry and raising 2 kids for the past 8 years has been the best learning experience (and the most challenging) in my 35 years. It is a waste of experience and precious learning opportunity if I’d to keep it to myself. I always have this nagging feeling to share online. But I was struggling with self-doubt and fear of rejection, who am I to share online. Who will listen to me? These thoughts have kept me from publishing any personal thoughts since 2015.
I started Rosette Designs & Co, purely coincidental and authentic. I simply documented our wedding planning in 2010 on our wedding blog, and it snowballed into something bigger than I could ever imagine. Couples began to reach out to me, to design their own wedding. I received many positive emails from couples who want a personalized wedding and have been following us since 2009. I still met a client who has read my blog in the past before she has any potential suitor and determined to engage us when it’s her turn to get married (Shout out to Rae!). I didn’t realize how much impact I was making that I took that for granted. I used to be puzzled why couples engaged us only after 1 meeting and they seemed to know a lot more than what I shared with them in the meeting. Later on, I realized they have been a follower on my blog.
There’s power in momentum but there’s also the downside of it. The whole growth came too fast and too furious that I neglected the aspect of blogging and sharing the inspiration that I loved. I was busy running the company and missed out on the connection that builds trusts between us and our dear readers through online media. My post on chasing your dream inspired a lovely lady, to write a long letter about her personal story and aspiration. She ended up becoming my first staff in my home office, back then in Punggol in 2014. She conveniently lives few floors above me! She was onboard because I was pregnant with Aiden Joshua, my 2nd born. I needed an assistant to cope with weddings and kids, and in my prayer, I cried for help and God told me that His grace is enough. God has a sense of humor, because my first project manager name is Grace.
Running a business is not the same as growing one. While I was busy running I didn’t realize that I also need to grow in leadership and personal development. That realization came later as Grace tendered her resignation and left me grappling to find her replacement. I made the hiring decision based on feeling without a clear picture of my need and requirement. Another big learning curve that almost cost us everything. So in 2016, I decided to embark on a lifetime of personal development and learning journey. I read books, audio books, consistently do my Miracle Morning routine (inspired by the book Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod), listened to the podcast and watch youtube on various topics on business, spiritual, leadership every day, mostly in the shower and during commuting. I made a lemonade out of my lemon.
In these years of being in this industry, I saw companies emerged and closed down. Usually started by the young hopeful couples or creatives who discovered the potential of doing your own business with coming of age. Your friends getting married, you are getting married. The wedding industry seems to be a happy place to work with. You are dealing with a happy occasion. However, the party will come to an end and you will still need to tear down once the guest went home. That’s when the reality of owning your business hits. You have nobody to rely on but yourself.
I was in that place, juggling the time with the kids and the business and the marriage that we almost didn’t make it. As pretty as the title of a mumpreneur, it is a darn hard work to pay off. Seems like everybody loves the idea of being an entrepreneur or being your own boss. But if you ask any successful business owner, they will tell you the price is very high that only certain people willing to pay for it.
It is pure discipline, hard work, strength in mind, soul and body. Peiru, my partner, the founder of Labelle Couture, had to face a mountain of debts and hardship before she made it to where she is right now. You can read her story here. The media only show you the best side of being a successful entrepreneur. Nobody knows your struggle until you made it. For me personally, it is impossible without the Grace of God guiding me and strengthens me every day.
So what did I do differently this year?
I realized that I couldn’t grow this vision and dream that I have, alone. It is too big of a dream and too big of a job. I prayed and looked for a partner. I met and talked with a number of people in this industry. Peers, suppliers, fellow planners. Cut the long story short, we ended up partnering with Labelle Couture under the helm of Peiru, someone that I admired as a person and business owner. Coincidentally, she reached out to me 4 years ago after reading my blog. It then started a friendship that eventually grows into a solid partnership. Working with the team of committed people that has the eye for common goal is really an eye-opener and a steep learning curve. I have never been challenged to grow in my leadership and my mindset as I am right now.
Indeed it has been an amazing 8 years of being a mother of Savannah, Aiden, and Rosette. It is a calling that worth fighting with all I got.
Wherever you are on your journey in life, you can always reach deep into your soul and find something that you are destined to do.
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” —Mark Twain.
So what is yours?