ICYMI, Vivy Yusof, co-founder of the modest fashion brands The dUCk Group and LILIT. recently launched her memoir titled “The First Decade: My Journey From Blogger To Entrepreneur”. The book follows her life who started out as a young Malaysian woman entrepreneur in the fashion e-commerce industry. The book appealed to non-entrepreneurs as well as it detailed the ups and downs of creating and managing a successful business and how she handled critiques and rumours. We sat down for an exclusive interview with Vivy to find out how she does it all (with four kids in tow too!). Check it out!
1. Being a working mum is challenging, being a mumpreneur feels even crazier. You are balancing it all (with 4 kids too!), how do you do it?
To me, it’s just a “do it” attitude. I don’t dwell on “Oh, susahnya” (Oh, it’s so hard). For me, I don’t give myself options. This is it. Just do it. And the biggest thing that helps me to do this is having a support system. I have a very supportive husband who allows me to do this and be who I am. To grow and achieve what I want. He is very supportive. Without having that pillar of support, it’s gonna be very difficult for women. So I’m very blessed and grateful that I have an amazing support system — from my husband to my family, to my parents, friends and to my staff as well.
2. There were a few failures you acknowledged when building FashionValet and it must be frustrating to close the business that you spent years working on. What is the one takeaway you learnt from this experience and what is your advice to fellow entrepreneurs who had to take the same decision?
I think what taught me during that phase is not to be too attached. We saw the signs early on that the business was not what we envisioned it to be and the numbers were not looking great. But we held on to the belief to make it work. So when all the signs are telling you something, don’t let the sentiments and emotions cloud your judgement. As entrepreneurs, we can be very passionate but when your customers are telling you it’s not working, you have to listen. I think that’s the challenge every entrepreneur experiences when they get too attached to their business. I’d say don’t get too attached to anything.
3. You started FV when you were so young. In a world dominated by men, you were able to break the glass ceiling. I believe this is because you’re strong and confident. Do you have tips for women to be confident in their daily lives and career?
I think they have to ask themselves, “Why not”. Any time you have doubts, or you feel like you’re not good enough, stop, and ask yourself, “No, no. Why not me?” So, when given the opportunity or you’re put in a position where you have an idea or something is looking good for you there’s always that voice in your head or other people that you can’t do it, you have to know how to lover that volume of negativity and just turn up the music of “Why not me?”. I always ask myself that every time I feel a little bit nervous or not confident, then I’ll go “No, no. Why not me? I can do this.”
4. Are you working on any new brands?
I handled 400 brands at one time and then I grew eight of my own brands. I was just burnt out, I was exhausted. It wasn’t the smartest thing also, because I can’t focus. So for now, I just have these two (dUCk and LILIT.). I intend to grow these two really big and make them a global brand. And I’m happy with this, for now. But with entrepreneurs, never say never!
5. Being an entrepreneur is undeniably stressful and this often affects one's mental health. Unfortunately, it's only been recent that there is a heightened awareness of mental health in Asia. You must have been through a lot in the past decade. Do you have any tips and can you share what you’ve done for the past decade to overcome these challenges?
The good thing about having so many things running at the same time in your life is that you don’t have time to worry about stress because you don’t have time. But my own way of releasing stress is through writing. I love writing on my blog, captions on Instagram and even this book. Going through ups and downs, this book helped me release whatever that’s been kept inside. For me, it’s writing and for my husband, it’s working out. Everyone has to find their outlet.
6. Being a travel website, we have to ask a travel-related question. Where is your ideal travel destination and where is your dream destination?
Okay, this is boring and my husband would agree but I love London. It’s the familiarity, it’s where I studied, where I started my blog, and that’s where I met Fadza, so it’s a very special place in my heart. But I love to explore other places like Japan, and Seoul — more on the East side. I’ve never been to Africa and would love to go on a safari in Kenya. Hopefully one day, because travelling with kids — whew. Maybe in five years' time.
7. You recently went to London with four kids and said you’ll never do it again. Do you have tips to travel with a family and what is the one thing you’ve learnt about travelling with kids?
Always take night flights so they can sleep. Don’t forget all the items that calm them down like a safety blanket and bantal busuk. Also, download their favourite shows on iPad or the phone in case you don’t have WiFi. And just wing it! I think the more you overthink travelling with kids, the more you won’t do it. So you just have to go in there and just wing it!
8. What are your MUST-have items when travelling?
One: A phone charger. Two: Moisturiser because your skin gets dry on the plane. Three: Sunnies, to hide your eye bags ?
The book is published by Penguin Random House SEA and is available where books are sold.