Pea and I met during a speed networking session at a business workshop. It was a very quick session, apart from exchanging name cards we didn’t get to talk more. When I asked her for an interview, despite little interaction that we had during the workshop she just readily said yes! I got to know her better when we met up again at her office. It’s a very cozy place that makes people feel like home.
In Pea’s room there is a display of books behind her desk, all non-fiction with mainly business related. If you sit down at her desk and look up to the wall, there is a board full of dreams. Pea put up photos of her dream house / car / future all on a white board; it is very encouraging and inspiring to look at the board every day. Visualizing dreams and getting them down on paper definitely serve as a great reminder about what we are living for 🙂 I’m already inspired just by being in the room!
Pea Chong, 33
Founder, D’ Initial Concept
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Pea was born in Ipoh, Malaysia, a very small old town. She didn’t have a complete family when she was a small kid. At 7 years old, her family (including her siblings, one brother and one sister) all moved to Singapore for opportunities. They didn’t have much resource but they knew some relatives, when Pea’s family first moved here they just hopped around at different relatives’ houses for accommodation. Until Pea’s mum remarried, they finally had a place for themselves called home. Her step father is a very nice person and took care of the family very well.
At around 18 years old, Pea’s parents moved to China but Pea chose to stay in Singapore. That was when she learned to live independently and take care of herself. She enrolled into a private university to study Business and Marketing. When she graduated, a close friend of hers asked her to join an interior design firm together. It was totally unexpected and definitely had nothing to do with her degree, but after Pea gave it a try she really loved it. Pea found joy in building dream home for people, and decided to stay in this industry.
Journey to Entrepreneurship
After 3 years of staying in the same company, Pea moved on with one of her mentor to setup their own interior design company. However not too long later her business partner wanted to quit, hence they split and Pea was left alone. But she did not think of going back to other interior designer firm again. Instead, she pressed on and ran her own studio, D’ Initial Concept.
Initial phase was tough, especially interior design is quite a male-dominating industry. Pea knew nothing much about running business, her only motto was simply run and do! She converted her place into a home-based showroom, ran everything from marketing to getting customers all by herself. Fortunately some of her ex-clients came back to her again, and through words of month she managed to grow her business organically. Her rule of thumb is very simple: just keep trying and doing whole heartedly!
Pea’s Sharing on Hiring
With business continues to grow, Pea started hiring. Interior design is a relatively niche industry and it’s not easy to hire the right people, a lot of times hiring was done by referrals. To convince prospective talents to join, Pea always puts herself in their shoes, shares her experience and herself which helps them to understand their potential growth in this field. Her studio is more like a small family together instead of very hierarchical kind of boss-and-staff relationship. Pea is more like a big sister rather than a boss, today there are 9 staff in her team and going very strong!
- Always have a concept in your life about what to achieve
- Be a good listener; understand your clients first, listen to their needs, and tailor solutions accordingly
- There are always ups and downs in life, being pessimistic wouldn’t work
- Be open for feedback, it will help us improve
- As long as you have passion in the industry, don’t think too much and just do it! (Pea always wears Nike sneakers because it reminds her of “Just do it” :))
D’ Initial Concept
- D’ Initial Concept is an interior design studio based in Singapore, which helps you to build initial ideas into reality
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