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5 Life Lessons With Sophia Chan, Co-Founder Of Maiko Singapore

More life lesson's from some of Singapore's greatest business minds.



Sometimes life takes an unexpected turn and that’s okay

I had the opportunity to study in a reputable primary school, but as a child, that did not appeal to me – I did not understand the importance of studying hard so that I could enter a good secondary school, and studying for tests of exams or even completing homework was the last on my to do list. No surprises, I did not do well and was transferred to another school. To me that was the best thing that ever happened because in one way or another, this unexpected change turned my life around. That’s where I began to realize the reality of life, you had to be strategic – choosing a profession which can last a lifetime and of course you enjoy. I invested time to be great at my sciences and that was what led me to pursue biomedical sciences in university. My science degree opened the door to many other opportunities and I have not looked back since. It has allowed me to pursue my passion for health and wellness, and belief in giving others a second as an occupational therapist. Not only that, the degree has fueled my passion to expand beyond this client-centered health profession into the realm of natural and organic skincare with CANVAS and Maiko.


Identifying and understanding your consumers is key

After running Maiko for the last 2 years, I have realized that understanding your customers – their interests and preferences – is central to a successful business, rather than what we as the business owners personally like. As a small company, just run by my sister and I who have full-time jobs, it remains a tough battle to stay relevant in a highly saturated skincare market in Singapore. However, every now and then, we continue fine tuning the products we want to sell within CANVAS in Singapore. Trial and error is always a big part of entrepreneurship!


It’s okay to drop the ball and fail – what matters most is picking yourself up

I believe that failure is the key to success. At some point in our lives, we all face failure and that’s perfectly fine. We may have to start from ground zero but even so, it may be a good thing. It gives us a chance to not only rethink our actions, but sharpen our skills as well. By failing will we be stronger, resilient and aware of our weaknesses and capitalize on our strengths.


Happiness, peace and good health are more important than money

Most of us have heard that money can’t buy happiness or good health, and this is something I strongly believe in. Of course, having money is a nice thought but to me, having sufficient is good enough – anything more is a bonus. With a job in the healthcare industry, I am able to see with my own eyes how independence, health or happiness cannot be bought with money. However, money can bring happiness if your foundations in life – peace, happiness and health – is in place. Thus, I do value happiness, peace and good health above everything else.


Invest time in relationships

This is important, be it in our personal or business relationships. Whether it is striving for excellence, to improve or to give our best effort, we strive in life and survive for the people around us. With our busy schedules, it is easy to forget to spend time with the people who are important to us. Presently, I am in a long-distance relationship with husband for the last 10 years. It seems hard to do, but really isn’t! Quality time spent in relationships will bring happiness and peace. Of course, don’t forget to love yourself first, before you can love others. That is the importance of self-care, and the same reason why we brought in CANVAS. Relationships in business are equally important, not just between your partner, your staff, or client. Like the phrase that says no man is an island, no business can succeed without fostering healthy relationships; it is one of the key ingredients to running a successful business.

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