Singapore is a foodie’s dream with something to offer everyone.
Here are 5 women who have left their mark on the local food scene.
1. Janice Wong
Regarded as Singapore’s Dessert Queen, Janice Wong embodies the very traits that make a successful entrepreneur. Despite the potential for a promising career in the banking industry, the economics graduate decided to follow her passion for culinary art by enrolling herself into a pastry program at the famed Le Cordon Bleu, Paris. It was her passion backed by grit and determination that allowed her to open 2am:dessertbar in 2007, and later an eponymous dessert restaurant, JANICE WONG, in 2014. Today, she goes beyond running her businesses with 2am:lab, a collaboration that acts as a test kitchen and think tank for aspiring chefs, paving the way for more individuals to enter the food industry.
2. Jamie Teo
What started out as a hobby became the inspiration behind Twelve Cupcakes, a chain selling cupcakes across Singapore. For the former Miss Singapore Universe and Mediacorp actress Jaime Teo, her love for baking is what pushes her to continuously innovate – since the start of the company, she has launched new flavours of cupcakes and various other desserts. This, coupled with ensuring consistent quality across all cakes produced has allowed the company to expand beyond its first outlet at United Square. Today, Twelve Cupcakes has its presence established across Asia, in regions such as Taiwan and Indonesia, and have their own catering business as well.
3. Lyn Lee
For the former lawyer, it was the dissatisfaction felt with her 9-5 job and an inability to find a good chocolate cake that drove her to come up with the Awfully Chocolate franchise. Where other businesses will rush to expand into overseas markets, she and her team adopted a more cautious approach, investing only what they could afford and expanding slowly only after careful consideration. She is fully aware of the significant barriers that deter more Singaporeans from becoming entrepreneurs and hence is especially keen to support her own staff who are similarly inclined. Ultimately, she believes that while ensuring profitability is necessary to maintain one’s business, it is more important to truly enjoy what your business is about.
4. Vannessa Lee
Vannessa Lee is a proponent for the age-old adage that age is but a number. Together with her brother, she has managed to open and sustain 2 F&B stores before the age of 25. The success of her venture rides upon her understanding of the power of social media marketing – on the opening day of A Poke Theory, her outlet sold out within the first two hours, thanks to snaking queues that had formed as a result of her teaser campaign aimed at building hype around the product. While the F&B industry is known to be competitive, Vannessa and her team are currently working on the possibility of expansion through franchising both locally and overseas.
5. Lena Sim
A tough childhood was no deterrent for Lena Sim, who juggled as many as 3 part-time jobs while in school to fund her expenses. It is this same tenacity and dedication that allowed her to convince the owners of Azabu, a Japanese dessert shop, to let her set up their franchises overseas. Armed with the experience in setting up and managing these outlets, she has since gone on to launch her own food chain of restaurants, aptly named the Ministry of Food (MOF). Lena exemplifies how one can utilize her past experience when becoming an entrepreneur – her previous stint as a trader with Morgan Stanley proved advantageous when coming up with business plans for both Azabu and MOF. Today, MOF spans different cuisines, expanding beyond its initial repertoire in Japanese fare.
To meet similar entrepreneurs and business owners, purchase tickets to our annual H.E.R Asia Summit on 26th September 2018 here.