I interviewed Singaporean entrepreneur Khloe Leong (Founder of MxC and beHuman inc.) to understand how her companies are holding up through this pandemic. She discusses some of her self-reflections and some advices she can give to young business owners today.
Hello Khloe! Thanks for accepting this interview! To start, could you share with us a little bit of who you are, and the kinds of business (MxC and beHuman inc.) you have founded?
Hello Phoebe! Thank you for this opportunity and the initiative to share! I’m from Singapore and someone who is born curious and wild.
I love trying out new things, and always love to experience and understand how things work! I have started two businesses; Multiple X Choice, which is focusing on home lifestyle and gift products, and beHuman inc, for sustainable eco-friendly products.
What inspired you to become a business owner?
I never imagine or planned to be a business owner. I started Multiple X Choice since 2008, when I was 18 years old, and I was still studying in a tertiary school. It was by chance when I took up Photography as a hobby and started to sell film cameras when the market in Singapore was very niche back then.
It sparked a trend among the youths, and it expanded over the years. My father was a sole proprietor and taught me several simple reselling concepts when I was 6 years old. Perhaps it was an influence within the household, and it was quite natural for me.
How did the ideas of your companies come about?
Most of the product ideas come from personal challenges, desire, and observation. For example, if I need a specific product for myself and it’s not readily available within the country, I will source it out and bring them in. I would want people to have easy access to things they need that makes life routine more convenient and at an affordable price.
Products from beHuman inc are not only eco-friendly but are customized for people’s emotional needs. We engraved our bamboo straws with motivational quotes, as good novelty gifts to your friends for better mental well-being.
Are there any personality traits or habits you think every leader should have?
I believe that everyone is born a leader.
Being a leader does not mean someone who wears suit and tie and holds a corporate job. A leader is an ordinary person like you and me, who possess traits like courage, wisdom, and compassion to grow with people within the community towards a common goal. Every one of us can be everyone else’s role model and we are here to learn from each other.
Whose career inspires you, and why? (Can just be a person who you admire)
There are many extraordinary people which inspires me. If being a mother is a professional career, I will vote for it. I admire the mothers’ out there who are not deemed “professionals”, but it is a most amazing occupation.
Especially the working mothers who take up extra jobs like being a food or parcel delivery personnel, and risk themselves with the current pandemic going on, to make ends meet. Which brings me to the many people who are in the service industry, especially the garbage collectors. They are the ones who are the unsung silent heroes. The drivers have the skill to manoeuvre their huge truck through a congested lane without scratching a car! I am always so impressed and touched by their humble smile whenever I meet them around my estate.
What are some of the major challenges you face in your career? And what keeps you motivated to solve them instead of quitting?
Technology has been advancing every day and many companies have been jumping on the e-commerce bandwagon. Consumers are more equipped with resources and knowledge to purchase anything globally. There are so many choices of products and competitors around the web. That makes it challenging for businesses to stand out. Every company must constantly improve, evolve, and advance to stay ahead. I think embracing challenges and seeing them as opportunities is a good way to stay motivated.
If you were to start all over again, would you have done anything differently?
I was asked this question many times from many people and my answer already remain constant. I wouldn’t want to start all over again because the mistakes I have made in my life are meant to be lessons for myself and that makes who am I today. Haha!
If you weren’t a business owner, what career would you like to explore?
I have a childhood ambition of being an astronaut, or anything space related. I would want to study astrophysics and aim to work for NASA. I love exploring the new and unknown!
What advice do you have for youths who also aspires to become entrepreneurs?
I got to mention something clique but it’s true; Don’t dare to dream – dare to do.
Too often, we are caught up with our own fears and procrastination – even I face this a lot! Being an entrepreneur is simple but challenging at the same time. Nothing is too big for anyone. The first step is to create and do something, and the rest are hard work. You don’t have to start up something complex. If you can come out with that idea, do it and innovate along the way! You will never know how tall the little seed can grow when you water it every day. Always do something with passion, and with the heart of the people. Never stop moving forward and creating, no matter the outcome!
What’s next for Khloe, MxC, and beHuman inc.?
Create and explore! I would want to explore more into arts and illustrations to design my own brand and products for both MxC and beHuman inc. It’s something new to me but it’s my ambition to transform my vision to a product.
That’s it for our ten questions to ask a young change-maker, join us next time as we interview another change-maker, who is using art as his medium to transform the realm of education systems. Stay tuned!